19th Century Nottingham (1800 – 1899)

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‘Nottingham Market Place’ by William Goodacre c1827 © Nottingham City Museums and Galleries
‘Nottingham Market Place’ by William Goodacre c1827 © Nottingham City Museums and Galleries


Nottingham’s population was about 29,000.


A fever ward was built at Nottingham General Hospital due to widespread infectious diseases such as typhoid, typhus, tuberculosis and cholera.

25 October 1802

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, the son of a governor of Nottingham prison, Bonington was a popular landscape painter of the early 19th century, specialising in miniatures.


Nottingham’s old Malt Cross was demolished. It had stood in the Market Place at the foot of St James’s Street for centuries and had been used in the 15th and 16th centuries to announce historic events, and sometimes for public whippings. The Malt Cross was first mentioned in 1495, when it was a long shaft standing on ten steps, but in 1711 this early cross was replaced by a roofed structure of six columns on a base of four steps and surmounted by sundials.

October 1804

John Townsend opened for business in a little shop at 9 Long Row, Nottingham that would eventually become Jessop & Son department store.

8 May 1806

The Borough of Nottingham ordered that the ground on which the old Malt Cross had stood, until demolished in 1804, should be cleared and repaired, and that the pump be taken away.


An extension to the Nottingham House of Correction on St John’s Street was completed.

19 October 1806

Henry Kirke White, the Nottingham born poet, died at the very young age of 21.


Green’s Windmill in Sneinton was built by the father of notable scientist and mathematician George Green.


The first street lighting in Nottingham used whale oil and standards were set up throughout the town using thick globular-shaped lanterns of glass partially filled with oil and a floating wick. These were probably only in use for a few years until replaced by gas lamps. The supply of whale oil was kept under the steps of the old Guildhall in Weekday Cross.43

12 July 1807

Thomas Hawksley, one of the leading 19th century British water engineers, was born in Arnot Hill House, Arnold, near Nottingham. Educated at Nottingham High School, he was engineer to the Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company and Nottingham Waterworks Company for more than half a century, completing, early in his career, the Trent Bridge waterworks (1831). This scheme delivered Britain’s first high pressure ‘constant supply’, preventing contamination entering the supply of clean water mains.


St James’ Church was built on Standard Hill, Nottingham.

11 March 1811

The Luddite movement began. Following a fairly peaceful demonstration of framework knitters in Nottingham’s Market Place, the crowd marched to Arnold and destroyed 63 knitting frames; over the next few days further disturbances resulted in many more frames being destroyed around Nottinghamshire and into Derbyshire.


Cow Lane, Nottingham, was widened by 16ft and renamed Clumber Street, after a gift of land from the Duke of Newcastle. Clumber Street was previously called Cow Lane, as cattle used to be herded along it into the old town market.

October 1811

William Abednego ‘Bendigo’ Thompson was born in Nottingham, later to become the champion bare knuckle prize fighter of all England.

11 October 1811

Nottingham’s General Lunatic Asylum, also known as The County Lunatic Asylum, was officially opened by the Borough Corporation for town and county pauper patients, with beds for 400 patients. It stood on the east side of Carlton Road in Sneinton. The first patients were admitted in February 1812.35

12 February 1812

Nottingham’s new General Lunatic Asylum took in its first patients; it was the first County Asylum to open in England.36


John Leavers, a Nottinghamshire frame smith, invented the Leavers lace machine.

1 November 1813

James Sadler made Nottingham’s first successful manned balloon ascent from Company’s Wharf by the canal.9


The first recorded use of gas lighting in Nottingham was at a brass foundry at the corner of Bridlesmith Gate and St. Peter’s Gate. The foundry belonged to a Mr Taylor and during the winter of that year he illuminated his work shops by means of gas which he made on the premises.44

18 June 1815

Defeat at the Battle of Waterloo brings an end to Napoleon Bonaparte’s ambition to rule Europe.

2 April 1817

Daniel Diggle was executed by hanging on the steps of Nottingham’s Shire Hall, after being convicted of firing a pistol at his employer, George Kerry, during a Luddite frame breaking disturbance.40

8 May 1818

The Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company was established.

28 September 1818

A catastrophic explosion of a ton of gunpowder, that had been unloaded at the Wilford Street wharf, killed eight men and two boys and caused damage to most of the properties between the canal and Nottingham’s market place.

13 April 1819

Nottingham streets were lit by gas for the first time.45


The 6th Lord Middleton, Henry, built the Camellia House at Nottingham’s Wollaton Hall; probably the earliest known cast iron structure of its kind.


The steam locomotive Rocket was built, marking the start of the railway age.


The first steamer started carrying passengers and cargo on the River Trent.


A man called Bamford, who lived on Middle Hill, was one of the last men in Nottingham to keep a Sedan Chair for hire.

February 1826

Seven children died while playing in caves on Hollowstone, when part of the roof collapsed.

2 April 1827

The last execution was carried out at the old gallows site on Gallows Hill, near the top of Mansfield Road, Nottingham. The culprit was a man named William Wells, condemned for highway robbery.


Nottingham’s mathematical genius George Green published his first and greatest scientific work entitled ‘An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism’.


Two venereal disease wards were opened at Nottingham’s General Hospital.

23 March 1829

Norman Robert Pogson was born in Nottingham. An English astronomer, who worked in India at the Madras observatory. He discovered several minor planets and made observations on comets. He introduced a mathematical scale of stellar magnitudes referred to as Pogson’s ratio.

10 April 1829

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was born in Nottingham.


Carrington Street was laid down south of the town centre.

26 May 1830

The last public whipping took place in Nottingham.


The Nottingham Pickling Society was formed by four men from a house in The Park.


Nottingham’s population was about 50,000.

January 1831

The old pump in front of the Exchange in the Great Market Place was removed.


Cast iron plates were erected in Nottingham displaying the names of streets.


Nottingham became the first place in the country to install a constant high pressure mains water supply, designed by the Trent Waterworks Company’s brilliant engineer, Thomas Hawksley, to prevent contamination from entering the mains.


Nottingham’s historic mansion Thurland Hall was demolished, a large number of buildings now cover the site and the name lives on in Thurland Street.

10 October 1831

Nottingham Castle was destroyed by fire in the Reform Bill riots.


Nottingham’s 186 lace manufacturers and 70 hosiery manufacturers were listed in the first edition of William White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Nottinghamshire.


330 people died during an outbreak of cholera, causing many deaths in the Narrow Marsh and Broad Marsh areas, which had some of the worst slums in Europe.

28 August 1833

The Slavery Abolition Act was given Royal Assent, paving the way for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

19 May 1834

Nottingham entrepreneur George Africanus died; a former West African Negro slave, he became successful after moving to Nottingham around 1784 and is one of the first black people to live in Nottingham whose name is known.


The two Boroughs of Nottingham were abolished and the town combined under a single new Council, resulting in Nottingham having one Sheriff instead of two.

1 January 1836

The first meeting of the newly established combined Town Council of the Borough of Nottingham was held; Henry Moses Wood became the Sheriff for the new Borough.


Nottingham Borough had its first town-based police force.


The gas-lit clock in Nottingham’s Exchange, in the Market Place, set the building on fire; rewards were offered to anyone who would rescue the town’s keg of gunpowder before it exploded.


The Nottingham Mechanics’ Institute was formed as a centre for study, the embryo from which University College was to develop 40 years later.


Nottingham’s Trent Bridge cricket ground held its first recorded cricket match.


Cooke and Foster on Long Row became the first shop in Nottingham to use plate glass in its windows.

13 April 1839

Nottingham poet Robert Millhouse (1788–1839) died and was buried on the eastern side of the Nottingham General Cemetery. Some lines were inscribed on his tomb a few years later by his friend Dr Spencer T Hall and an oak in Sherwood Forest, under which Millhouse and Spencer Hall took refuge during a storm, bears the name of the poet.

30 May 1839

Nottingham’s first railway station was opened with great ceremony, situated on the west side of Carrington Street.

4 June 1839

The Midland Counties Railway opened the first railway service between Nottingham and Derby.

4 May 1840

The Midland Counties Railway opened the new railway line from Nottingham to Leicester.

July 1840

The world’s first railway excursion took members of the Mechanics Institution to visit Leicester, paying a single fare for the double trip, a year before Thomas Cook started.


Construction of the Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas started.

31 May 1841

George Green, the mathematical genius from Nottingham, died in Sneinton. Green’s work was the beginning of modern mathematical physics and much admired by Albert Einstein.

September 1841

Nottingham businessman Alfred Barber set up a photographic studio in the attics of Bromley House in 1841, the first in the Midlands. He purchased, at great expense, a licence to produce daguerreotypes together with the materials required. The first photograph taken in the Bromley House Studio was in September 1841.


An amiable Nottingham eccentric died; the Old General, his real name Ben Mayo, was born in 1777, he wore an old military jacket and he would extort money by threatening to disrupt public events with his entourage of street urchins.

4 December 1843

Queen Victoria passed through Nottingham on her way to Belvoir Castle.


TC Hine of Nottingham began construction of the Park Tunnel carriage drive for the fifth Duke of Newcastle.

8 August 1844

Twelve people died and over a hundred were injured in panicking crowds at the execution of William Saville at Nottingham’s Shire Hall. More succumbed to their injuries over the following weeks with many people suffering from crushing, bruising and broken bones.

31 August 1844

The Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas in Nottingham was consecrated in 1844. The event was witnessed by an engraving in the London Illustrated News of 31st August that year.

November 1844

A passenger train derailed at Wilford Road crossing, killing three people and injuring 21.


An Act of Parliament merged all of Nottingham’s small water companies into the Nottingham Waterworks Company.


The 1845 Enclosure Act created four Nottingham walks. The three to the north of the town are Elm Avenue, Corporation Oaks and Robin Hood Chase. Although newly created in 1845, the three walks follow traditional pathways which ran along field boundaries up one side of Toad Hole Hill, which was renamed St Ann’s Hill. The fourth is Queen’s Walk to the south of Nottingham.


John Livesey invented the Nottingham Lace Curtain machine.


A new prison was built in Nottingham.

1 May 1846

The first edition of the Nottingham Guardian and Midland Counties Advertiser was published (a forerunner of the Nottingham Post).

August 1846

The Midland Railway opened the new line from Nottingham to Lincoln along the Trent valley via Newark.


The Mayor formally opened the new Post Office, a handsome classical building just to the south of St Peter’s Church.


Horse drawn buses started to operate in Nottingham.

22 May 1848

Nottingham’s new through railway station was opened on Station Road, to cope with extra traffic and new lines to Lincoln.


A new railway line was constructed along the Leen Valley from Nottingham via Bulwell, Hucknall and Annesley.

9 February 1849

The inaugural meeting took place in Nottingham of the predecessor of the Nottingham Building Society. A small group of Nottingham businessmen, led by local Quaker Samuel Fox, set up the Society. The first branch opened on George Street, Nottingham; opening hours were 6pm to 9pm on the first Tuesday of each month.


The Leen Valley railway line was extended to Mansfield.

11 February 1850

A tree planting ceremony took place on Corporation Oaks, St Anns, Nottingham. Corporation Oaks begins where Elm Avenue ends at Cranmer Street and leads to the top of St Ann’s Hill, circles around the reservoir and down the other side of the hill to Woodborough Road.

2 June 1850

Jesse Boot, founder of Boots The Chemist, was born in Nottingham.

15 July 1850

The Nottingham to Grantham railway line opened.


Shipstone’s Brewery was established in Basford.

25 April 1852

A man named Stevenson living in Millstone Lane brought his wife into Nottingham Market Place with a new rope round her neck and offered her for sale: “Here is my wife for sale” he announced, “I shall put her up for 2/6 (12p), the rope is worth 6d (2.5p).” Ultimately she was bought for one shilling (5p) by a man named Burrows.

11 May 1852

The Arboretum was opened by the Mayor and the Sheriff in front of 30,000 people.


Nottingham Borough Police set up the county’s first CID section.


James Samuel Archer was born, the co-inventor of the famous three-speed Sturmey-Archer bicycle gear, he lived in Nottingham and worked at the Raleigh Cycle Company.


The Park Tunnel carriage drive was completed, connecting the Park Estate with Derby Road; a round-arched, rock-cut tunnel, approximately 125m long.


Nottingham clay flower pot manufacturer Richard Sankey and Son Ltd was founded in Bulwell.33

25 August 1855

A man is reputed to have sold his wife in St Peter’s Square for one shilling (5p) and a pint of ale.

2 October 1855

Nottingham’s Goose Fair had its first big hand-turned roundabout; Twigdon’s Riding Machine.

April 1856

Nottingham’s first Theatre Royal, in St Mary’s Gate, became the Royal Alhambra Music Hall, and then a restaurant in the 1880s.


Church Cemetery, or Rock Cemetery as it’s known, was opened on Mansfield Road, Nottingham. The site was laid out by Edwin Patchitt for the Church Cemetery Company.


Nottingham had its first pillar box installed for posting mail.


Forest Lodge was built on Mansfield Road, by the entrance to Nottingham’s Forest Recreation Ground, as a Police House. Neoclassical Greek, designed by Henry Moses Wood.

3 October 1857

The Great Northern Railway opened a new station on London Road along with an impressive goods and corn warehouse; the buildings were designed by the Nottingham architect T. C. Hine.


The County Lunatic Asylum, The Coppice, also known as Dr Tate’s Asylum, was designed by T. C. Hine and built on Ransom Road.

24 May 1858

Post Office letter carriers made their first appearance in uniform in Nottingham.


The first Rose Show was held in Nottingham.

1 August 1859

A new asylum called The Coppice, designed by T. C. Hine, was opened on Ransom Road, Mapperley in Nottingham, for first and second class patients only; Sneinton was now only for paupers.37

October 1859

A special train carrying Goose Fair revellers from Nottingham to Derby was hit by a mail train near Trent Station, killing seven people and injuring many others.


Zebedee Jessop, from Swineshead in Lincolnshire, became a partner in the business that would become Nottingham’s Jessop & Son department store. Taking sole control in 1866 when his business partner died.


The Nottingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry was formed.

November 1862

Notts County Football Club were formed; often known by their nickname The Magpies, they are the oldest professional football league club in the world.


The Greater Nottingham Co-op was formed, the same year as the national Co-operative Wholesale Society started.

22 October 1863

The foundation stone of the Nottingham School of Art was laid, designed in Italianate style by local architect Frederick Bakewell.


James Arundale laid the foundation stone of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Hooley Hill.

10 August 1864

The last public hanging in Nottinghamshire took place in the County Gaol, Nottingham. An estimated 10,000 people attended the hanging of Richard T Parker, convicted of the drunken shooting of his parents and the murder of his mother.

7 December 1864

Officers and the committee were elected to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional league football club, at the George Hotel on George Street, Nottingham. The club had been founded in November 1862.

27 March 1865

Work on building the new Theatre Royal started.19

25 September 1865

The new Theatre Royal opened. Constructed by J and W Lambert on a section of Parliament Street now called Theatre Square. There had been an earlier Theatre Royal in St Mary’s Gate, built in 1760.22


One of Nottingham’s narrow alleyways, Sheep Lane, known by local people as Blood Lane, was widened and renamed Market Street.

3 July 1866

The Walter Fountain was officially unveiled in Lister Gate by John Walter in memory of his father John, a Nottingham MP and one of the owners of The Times newspaper.


When his business partner died, Zebedee Jessop became the sole owner of the shop that would become Nottingham’s Jessop & Son department store.

June 1867

The foundation stone of St Matthias’ Church, St Ann’s, Nottingham, was laid. At this time, Matthias Road was still a country lane, prior to the late Victorian development of terraced housing. The church was dedicated to St Matthias by the Bishop of Lincoln on 6 May 1868.

13 April 1868

Nottingham’s first public library was opened by the Mayor, in temporary rooms on Thurland Street.47


Nottingham’s first publicly funded post office opened on Victoria Street.


A former Nottingham High School pupil, James Percy Knight, invented the traffic light.

6 August 1868

Nottingham philanthropist and abolitionist Samuel Fox died aged 86. Fox supplied burials for cholera victims, food for people starving and helped start the first free school in Britain for poor adults. He also founded and served as the first chairman of the Nottingham Building Society.

1 July 1869

Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital was opened at Russell House, Postern Street, Nottingham, a property presented by the daughter of the architect, T.C. Hine.

24 January 1870

Herbert Kilpin, the founder of Italian football club A.C. Milan, was born at his father’s butchers shop on Mansfield Road in Nottingham. He moved to Italy in 1891 to work in the Lace industry and to play football for its inaugural club side International Turino, making him the first Englishman to play league football abroad. Herbert later moved to Milan and founded the Milan Cricket and Football Club, known today as A.C. Milan.


The Nottingham YMCA was formally established.

May 1871

The Nottingham Daily Guardian moved to new premises on Forman Street.

25 July 1871

The new Trent Bridge was opened.


The popular and influential Nottingham artist Arthur Spooner was born.

8 February 1874

The sculptor Joseph Else was born in Nottingham. Best known for his work on Nottingham Council House and its lions. He studied at Nottingham School of Art from 1890 to 1900 and then at the Royal College of Art in London. He began teaching at the Nottingham School of Art around 1919 and in 1922 was made principal, a position he held until 1939.


Jesse Boot entered the ‘proprietary medicine business’, having taken over his father’s humble herbalist’s shop on Goose Gate, eventually to become Boots The Chemist.


The first incinerators for waste disposal were built in Nottingham by Manlove, Alliott & Co. Ltd.


Nottingham’s Woodthorpe Grange was built on 40 acres of farm land, bordered by Mansfield Road and Scout Lane (now Woodthorpe Drive), by Henry Ashwell, who lived there with his wife Sarah and two daughters, Mary and Frances, along with two nieces and four servants.

1 May 1874

The Nottingham Corporation Gas Act 1874 transferred the Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company to local authority control, when a meeting of shareholders at the George Hotel approved the transfer of ownership.


Nottingham High School for Girls was founded.


The great floods of Nottingham. The Meadows, the Nottingham Canal and Tinkers Leen flooded, with flood waters stretching towards the River Trent. The Midland Railway lines and signal box stood just above the water.

October 1875

Nottingham Castle was bought by Nottingham Corporation after being gutted by fire and left empty since 1831.


Colwick Yards were developed as a locomotive depot and sidings.


Gerard Brothers soap factory was founded in Nottingham, eventually taken over by Cussons in 1955.


The Talbot (later Yates’s Wine Lodge) was rebuilt on the Long Row site of the old Talbot public house.


Nottingham artist Noel Denholm Davis was born. After studying at Nottingham School of Art and then the Royal Academy Schools, he returned to Nottingham and worked mainly as a portrait painter.

20 September 1876

Nottingham’s first Albert Hall was opened. Local architect Watson Fothergill designed the concert hall in the French Early Gothic style, it could seat 2,500 people and was said to have wonderful acoustics. The front was dominated by a huge saddle-back tower, nearly 150 feet tall.

4 December 1876

A fire at Nottingham’s Shire Hall caused severe damage to internal improvements to the building that had only recently been completed.

1876 to 1879

The courts in Nottingham’s Shire Hall on High Pavement in the Lace Market were largely rebuilt between 1876 and 1879.


The last Council meeting was held in the old English town hall, or Guildhall, at Weekday Cross.


The Borough of Nottingham was extended to include Basford, Brewhouse Yard, Bulwell, Radford, Sneinton, Standard Hill and parts of the parishes of West Bridgford, Carlton and North Wilford.


John Player took over a small tobacconist shop in Broad Marsh, where he conceived the idea of selling tobacco ready-weighed, pre-packed and labelled; previously, tobacco had been weighed at the point of sale.

4 August 1877

Dame Laura Knight, world famous for her vivid paintings of circuses, fairgrounds and the ballet, was born in Long Eaton near Nottingham and brought up in the city.

2 October 1877

The Malt Cross music hall opened on St James’s Street. Designed by local architect Edwin Hill, it was built on the site of the former Roebuck pub and was named after the old Malt Cross that had stood in the Market Place at the end of St James’s Street until 1804.

October 1877

Wombwell’s Menageries came to Nottingham’s Goose Fair, with over 7,000 birds and animals and 53 employees.

30 March 1878

Henry ‘Harry’ Goodley ‘the forgotten pioneer of Italian football’ was born in Basford, Nottingham. Through lace-making, Goodley took a job in Turin and eventually established himself as a key figure not only at Juventus but widely within Italian football. In his refereeing of games across the north of Italy, he became renowned for his composure and integrity, both on and off the pitch.

1 May 1878

The first edition of the Nottingham Evening Post, Nottingham’s first evening paper, was published.

3 July 1878

Nottingham Castle was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales as the first municipal museum and art gallery outside of London.

17 September 1878

Nottingham and District Tramways Company Ltd started public operation of Nottingham’s first horse drawn tramcars. There were two services operating from St Peter’s Church connecting the main railway stations of the day; one running to Trent Bridge and the other to London Road via Station Street.

4 November 1878

Electricity was used for the first time for lighting in Nottingham.46


The jails at Nottingham’s Shire Hall on High Pavement in the Lace Market were closed due to appalling conditions.


The first hanging to take place in Nottingham, some ten years after the law had been changed to bring an end to public executions, was of the murderer John Brooks; he had murdered his lover Caroline Woodhead and left her body in a ditch.


The Old Exchange in the Market Place was adapted for use by the Council.


A new accident wing was opened on the Park Row frontage of the General Hospital.

5 April 1879

Nottingham and District Tramways Company Ltd opened its second tram route between the Market Place and Mansfield Road in Carrington, with a branch along Forest Road.

11 August 1879

Nottingham and District Tramways Company Ltd opened its third tram route between the Market Place and Basford Gas Works.


Football shin guards were invented in Nottingham.


Zebedee Jessop brought his eldest son into partnership and renamed his Long Row store Jessop & Son.


The Midland Railway constructed a main line to link Nottingham with Melton Mowbray.

25 March 1880

Nottingham Corporation Water Department took over responsibility for the city’s water supply.

14 May 1880

The private Nottingham Waterworks Company finally came under the control of Nottingham Corporation.

27 May 1880

Nottingham’s tramway company held some trials with a steam tram along Derby Road to the Basford Depot.

3 August 1880

The Borough of Nottingham Lunatic Asylum (Mapperley Hospital) opened; it was designed by local architect George Thomas Hine.38

23 August 1880

William Thompson ‘Bendigo’ the bare knuckle boxer died.


Nottingham’s first civic college was opened in the city, later to become The University of Nottingham.


Colour coding was introduced to Nottingham’s trams; yellow painted cars went to Trent Bridge, red to Carrington and dark blue to Basford.


Nottingham Industrialist and political radical Samuel Morley opened The Children’s Free Public Lending Library and Reading Room on Shakespeare Street, the first free library in the UK solely dedicated to children.


Nottingham Corporation Water Department’s gifted engineer, Marriott Ogle Tarbotton, designed and built the lavish classically-designed Papplewick pumping station, he also started Nottingham’s modern sewage system (the first outside of London) and he was the world’s first municipal engineer to use subways under the streets to carry public services.

9 December 1884

John Player died.


Boots developed its manufacturing facilities around Island Street in Nottingham.


Nottingham’s famous furniture store, Hopewells, opened for business in Great Alfred Street.


The western side of Wheeler Gate was demolished to start widening the very narrow street.

11 September 1885

D. H. Lawrence, the author, poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic, was born in Eastwood near Nottingham.

February 1886

The Grand Theatre opened in Hyson Green, Nottingham.


The Notts County Cricket Club built what was then the biggest pavilion in England at Trent Bridge.


St. Nicholas’ Rectory, designed by Watson Fothergill, was built adjacent to St. Nicholas’ Church on Castle Gate, Nottingham.


Originally dating from the 1600’s, Nottingham’s famous Black Boy Hotel on Long Row East was rebuilt by local architect Watson Fothergill.


The financier Frank Bowden brought a small bicycle maker in Raleigh Street, Nottingham, which grew to become the Raleigh Bicycle Company, one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world.


The Royal Show was held at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park.


London and North Western Railway arrived in Nottingham with the building of a large goods warehouse and yard at Manvers Street in Sneinton.

July 1888

Thomas Forman, Nottingham printer and newspaper owner, founder of the Nottingham Daily Post and the Nottingham Evening Post, died at his home in Castle Grove.

27 September 1888

Nottingham’s new Guildhall was opened on the corner of Burton Street and South Sherwood Street, containing the Police (magistrates’) Court, the Central Police Station and the new Fire Station, replacing the old Town Hall at Weekday Cross.

October 1888

As part of the Goose Fair attractions, Professor Baldwin, the aeronaut, made the first parachute jump in Nottingham from a balloon over Wollaton Park.


The Nottingham Suburban Railway opened a new line through Sneinton, Thorneywood, Sherwood and Daybrook.

1 April 1889

Nottingham became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888.


Frederick Pearson opened his store on Long Row that became Nottingham’s iconic Pearsons of Nottingham department store.11

2 December 1889

Passenger services commenced on the Nottingham Suburban Railway, with the first train leaving London Road Station for Daybrook.

September 1890

The last race was held on Nottingham’s old Forest Racecourse.


Nottingham became the first place to use football goal nets.


Completion of the new Nottingham Prison on Perry Road, Sherwood.


The old Nottingham Gaol and the House of Correction were demolished.5


Boots opened its flagship store at Pelham Street, Nottingham.


The eastern side of Wheeler Gate was demolished to complete the road widening.


King Street and Queen Street were opened, following the demolition of many of the old yards and alleyways between Parliament Street and Long Row.

15 July 1892

The Bagthorpe Isolation Hospital was opened by Nottingham’s Mayor.

October 1892

Professor England’s ‘Royal Exhibition of Performing Fleas’ appeared at Nottingham’s Goose Fair.


A Women’s Hospital was opened at 29-31 Castle Gate.


Nottingham Corporation first supplied electricity for the Market Place to be lit by electric lights.42


The original recipe for HP Sauce was invented and developed by Frederick Gibson Garton a grocer from Nottingham. He registered the name HP Sauce in 1895, he called the sauce HP because he had heard that it was being used in the restaurant in The Houses of Parliament. For many years the bottle labels have carried a picture of the House of Parliament.

13 July 1896

The Grand Theatre, Hyson Green, was the site of Nottingham’s first film show.

19 April 1897

Jessop & Son’s (now John Lewis) new department store opened in King Street.

1 June 1897

The Thoroton Society, Nottinghamshire’s principal historical and archaeological society, was formed at a meeting in the Shire Hall, Nottingham.

18 June 1897

Nottingham was granted City status by Queen Victoria during her Diamond Jubilee Year – date on a letter from the Prime Minister.

21 June 1897

A letter received from Downing Street granted Nottingham City status.


A new diamond pendant was purchased for the Mayor, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The pendant bears Nottingham’s arms surmounted by a miniature portrait of Queen Victoria and contains approximately 190 diamonds.

18 October 1897

Nottingham Council took over the Nottingham Tramway Company.

28 February 1898

The Nottingham Empire Palace of Varieties opened.

26 May 1898

Construction began of Nottingham’s new Embankment boulevard by the side of the River Trent.

10 June 1898

The Nottingham Coat of Arms were granted as a crest, incorporating the City of Nottingham Seal which has been used as a borough seal since the 15th century.

1 August 1898

The new Post Office opened on Queen Street.

3 September 1898

Nottingham Forest Football Club moved into The City Ground by the River Trent and Trent Bridge, Nottingham.


The General Hospital was given an x-ray apparatus.

6 February 1899

Thomas Chambers Hine died. Along with Watson Fothergill, T C Hine was one of Nottingham’s most influential Nineteenth Century architects. The Adams Building in the Lace Market is his best known building; originally it was a textile factory, lace warehouse and salesroom built for the lace manufacturer Messrs Adams Page.

15 March 1899

The Great Central Railway opened through Nottingham.

17 April 1899

The foundation stone of the new Bagthorpe Workhouse was laid (City Hospital).

29 April 1899

Mundella Higher Grade School opened.

25 May 1899

Frederick Gibson Garton, a grocer from Nottingham, signed over the name and recipe of HP Sauce to clear his debt to Mr Moore and his Midland Vinegar Company, Frederick had invented and developed HP Sauce, writing the secret recipe in his 1894 diary.


The first Test Match, against Australia, was played at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.


The Nottingham Children’s Hospital moved from Russell House, Postern Street to Forest House, Chestnut Grove, off Mansfield Road, to accommodation given by the lace manufacturer, Thomas Birkin.

14 August 1899

Alfred Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Lucy Reville, was born in St Ann’s in Nottingham.

Continue to Early 20th Century Nottingham (1900 – 1949)

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For other information about Nottingham click here

If you want to know more about Nottingham’s past there is further information in ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ and through these websites:

The Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Local Studies Library

5 Smart, Andy, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 5 December 2012) p21
9 Nottingham Historical Film Unit image, Picture The Past Website (http://www.picturethepast.org.uk)
11 Lowe, David, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 2 December 2014) p36
19 Nottingham City Council, @MyNottingham: 150 years ago today building work began on the Theatre Royal (https://twitter.com/MyNottingham/status/581490388025888768, 27 March 2015)
22 Lewis, Jeremy, Nottingham Post, (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 30 July 2015) p10
33 Smart, Andy, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 26 May 2016) p32
35 The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire website, The General Lunatic Asylum, Nottingham, 1812-1902 (http://www.thorotonsociety.org.uk/publications/articles/asylum.htm)
36 The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire website, The General Lunatic Asylum, Nottingham, 1812-1902 (http://www.thorotonsociety.org.uk/publications/articles/asylum.htm)
37 County Asylums website, The Coppice (http://www.countyasylums.co.uk/the-coppice-nottingham/)
38 County Asylums website, The Coppice (http://www.countyasylums.co.uk/the-coppice-nottingham/)
40 Smart, Andy, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 18 September 2017) p22
42 Nottinghamshire History website, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 30 (1926) (http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1926/itinerary1926p11.htm)
43 Nottinghamshire History website, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 30 (1926) (http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1926/itinerary1926p11.htm)
44 Nottinghamshire History website, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 30 (1926) (http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1926/itinerary1926p11.htm)
45 Nottinghamshire History website, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 30 (1926) (http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1926/itinerary1926p11.htm)
46 Nottinghamshire History website, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 30 (1926) (http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1926/itinerary1926p11.htm)
47 Press cutting, Nottingham Journal (Nottingham, Nottingham Journal, 14 April 1868)

12 thoughts on “19th Century Nottingham (1800 – 1899)

  1. Was there ever a fountain built in market Square c 1830? I have a large lithograph that seems to propose the building of one ” to embellish the town..to attach lamps to..to supply water for market purposes..to commemorate some memorable event..to encourage a taste for the beautiful in art.”

    1. Hello David, I’ve not come across such a fountain, or photographs of one, so I assume the proposal wasn’t carried out, at least in the Market Square. There was a ‘Walter Fountain’ designed by a Mr Sutton in Victorian Gothic style in 1866. This fountain was situated a few minutes walk south of the Market Square at the junction of Greyfriar Gate, Lister Gate and Carrington Street ► http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;DCHQ500650&pos=2&action=zoom

  2. Excellent listing of Events in Nottinghamshire during the 19th century. Can I recommend you add the Birth on the 24th of January 1870 of Herbert Kilpin at his fathers Butchers shop in what is today 191 Mansfield Road. Herbert moved to Italy in 1891 to work in the Lace industry and to play football for its inaugural club side International Turino making him the first Englishman to play league football abroad. Later moving to Milan he founded the Milan Cricket & Football club today known as AC Milan.

      1. Herbert Kilpin was a great footballer and coach to AC Milan but he was one of twelve founders – he did not found it alone.

      2. Herbert Kilpin was the driving force behind the foundation of the Milan Football & Cricket Club, it was his idea and he gathered together other interested individuals to form the committee that founded the club in December 1899. He also went on to help form the Italian FA and acted as one of Italy’s first referees.

  3. V. interesting! Does anyone know where I can find information about a Mr. Laws who ran Alexander the Great Tailor’s business in around 1870. I’d be most grateful.

  4. Looking for Dorothy or Agnes Roberts – one of whom was Head of Design at one of Nottingham’s lace makers around 1910

  5. The Walk from Cranmer Street to Belle Vue is still Elm Avenue. Corporation Oaks is, as you can see by the trees, from Belle Vue to Woodborough Road. You can check this on the Inclosure Award which created them.

  6. splendid, but Elm Avenue continues over Cranmer Street to the top, which is St. Anns Hill, and Corporation Oaks links the Hill to Robin Hood Chase, across Woodborough Road. It can be identified by the oak trees there.

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