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


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


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

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

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 on Carlton Road in Sneinton was officially opened by the Borough Corporation, although the first patients were not admitted until February 181235

12 February 1812

Nottingham’s new General Lunatic Asylum took in its first patients; it was the first County Asylum to open in England36


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 canal9

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 disturbance40

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

14 April 1819

Nottingham streets were lit by gas for the first time


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


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

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


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

George Africanus died; a former West African negro slave, he became a successful entrepreneur after moving to Nottingham around 1784 and is one 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


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

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


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


The Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas was consecrated

8 August 1844

Thirteen people, mostly children, died and around one hundred people were injured in panicking crowds at the execution outside the Shire Hall of William Saville, who had murdered of his wife and children

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


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


The Leen Valley railway line was extended to Mansfield

2 June 1850

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

18 July 1850

The Nottingham to Grantham railway line opened


Shipstone’s Brewery was established in Basford

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 Bulwell33

25 August 1855

A man 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


Nottingham had its first pillar box installed for posting mail

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 paupers37

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 joined John Townsend’s Long Row draper’s store, taking over the business in 1866 that would later become the department store Jessop and Son


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


The Nottingham School of Art was built, designed in Italianate style by local architect Frederick Bakewell


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

27 March 1865

Work on building the new Theatre Royal started19

25 September 1865

The new Theatre Royal opened, although Nottingham has had a Theatre Royal since the 1760s22


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


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


Nottingham’s first public library opened


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


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

1 July 1869

Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital was opened on Postern Street

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


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

1 May 1874

The take over of the Nottingham Gas Company was completed by Nottingham Corporation


Nottingham High School for Girls was founded

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


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

October 1877

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

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

18 September 1878

Nottingham and District Tramways Company Ltd started public operation of Nottingham’s first horse drawn tramcars between St Peter’s church and Trent Bridge


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 Hine38

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


The first children’s library in the country was founded in Nottingham by hosiery manufacturer Samuel Morley MP


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


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, 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 store11

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 demolished5


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


The Market Place was lit by electric lights for the first time

13 July 1896

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

19 April 1897

Jessops 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


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

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

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)


Return to the introduction and contents page

Go to the top of this page

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 (
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 (, 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 (
36 The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire website, The General Lunatic Asylum, Nottingham, 1812-1902 (
37 County Asylums website, The Coppice (
38 County Asylums website, The Coppice (
40 Smart, Andy, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 18 September 2017) p22


4 Responses to 19th Century Nottingham (1800 – 1899)

  1. David Laing says:

    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 attach lamps supply water for market commemorate some memorable encourage a taste for the beautiful in art.”

  2. Roger A Stirland says:

    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.

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