Late 20th Century Nottingham (1950 – 1999)

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Nottingham's Council House and Old Market Square (1991)

Nottingham’s Council House and Old Market Square (1991)

September 1950

The Walter Fountain on Lister Gate was demolished by the Council after erosion and storm damage made it unsafe


Clifton and Wilford (south of the River Trent) were incorporated into the city


The first one-man operated bus appeared in Nottingham

24 July 1952

The 7ft high bronze Robin Hood Statue, sculpted by James Woodford RA, a former student of Nottingham School of Art, was unveiled in the dry moat near the Castle Gatehouse

6 October 1952

Agatha Christie’s longest running production ‘The Mousetrap’ was performed for the first time in Nottingham’s Theatre Royal3


Guide dogs were allowed to remain on the lower saloon of all Nottingham City Transport buses

July 1955

Queen Elizabeth visited the Birkin lace making company, her first visit to Nottingham since the coronation

2 July 1956

An inaugural BEA inter-city helicopter flight between Nottingham and Birmingham left from the Heliport at Trent Lane; flights were ‘suspended indefinitely’ after four months


Nottingham City Transport installed heaters in all bus drivers’ cabs

11 February 1957

An earth tremor affected Nottingham and the Midlands, causing buildings and furniture to shake


Eric Irons was appointed in Nottingham as the country’s first black race relations officer

March 1958

Clifton Bridge was completed

5 June 1958

Clifton Bridge was formally opened by Princess Alexandra

5 June 1958

Nottingham and District Technical College was opened by Princess Alexandra

21 June 1958

The last night at the Empire Theatre


Abel Collin’s 18th century almshouses on Friar Lane were demolished as part of the Maid Marian Way development

2 May 1959

Nottingham Forest beat Luton Town 2 – 1 to win the F.A. cup

8 August 1959

Harvey Hadden Stadium was opened by Sir Arthur Porritt


Clifton Teacher Training College was founded, later to become part of Nottingham Trent University

27 October 1960

The release date for the film ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ based on Alan Sillitoe’s 1958 novel set in Nottingham, starring Albert Finney and Shirley Anne Field. Much of the location filming took place in Nottingham20

23 March 1961

The new People’s College was formally opened

30 June 1961

New premises for Clarendon College were opened on Mansfield Road

19 December 1961

The formula for the painkiller Ibuprofen was discovered by the pharmacologist Dr Stewart Adams and a team of scientists at the Nottingham Research Department of the Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd


Eric Irons was appointed as the UK’s first black magistrate in Nottingham

7 March 1963

The Beatles played for the first time in Nottingham, at the Elizabethan Ballroom above Co-operative House on Parliament Street

23 May 1963

The Beatles played Nottingham again, this time at the Odeon Theatre on Angel Row


The Post and the Nottingham Evening News merged

1 July 1963

The last edition of the Nottingham Evening News was published

13 July 1963

The old Playhouse on Goldsmith Street was closed

5 November 1963

Nottingham still had 40 miles of cobblestone streets

11 December 1963

The new Nottingham Playhouse was formally opened on Wellington Circus

November 1964

US firm Gem opened the first UK large-scale edge-of-city superstore in West Bridgford, Nottingham12

12 July 1965

The Odeon on Angel Row reopened as the country’s first two screen cinema


Maid Marian Way was described as ‘one of the ugliest streets in Europe’ by Arthur Ling, professor of town planning at the University of Nottingham


Nottingham’s notorious Hyson Green flats were built


The first regional branch of the National Film Theatre was opened in Nottingham

30 June 1966

The last public service journey by Nottingham trolley buses took place; the last ceremonial journey was on 1 July 1966

3 September 1966

The last steam hauled through train service ran between Nottingham’s Victoria Station and London8


Nottingham’s Post and News was the first British newspaper to publish computer-set editorial and advertising text


The Nottingham Bluecoat School moved from its city centre site

4 September 1967

Victoria Station was finally closed7


The city and county police forces were merged to form Nottinghamshire Police


West Bridgford UDC Transport undertaking came under Nottingham City Transport’s control


The famous Raleigh Chopper was unveiled by cycle manufacturer Raleigh

31 January 1968

BBC Radio Nottingham went on air

May 1968

Queen Elizabeth visited the Raleigh cycle factory

20 May 1968

Nottingham’s first female Lord Mayor, Winifred Case, was elected

8 March 1969

Nottingham’s famous Black Boy Hotel, the landmark Victorian masterpiece by local architect Watson Fothergill, finally closed its doors and, against local opposition, was demolished and replaced by a dull utilitarian concrete store

20 July 1969

The Apollo 11 space flight landed the first humans on the Moon


The 15th century Severns building was moved timber by timber from Middle Pavement on the edge of the Lace Market to opposite Robin Hood’s statue, near Nottingham Castle

January 1970

Nottingham City Transport introduced one-man operation and by 1977 nearly all services were one-man operated

March 1970

Fashion designer Paul Smith opened his first shop in Nottingham

2 June 1970

Trent Polytechnic was designated

11 July 1970

A painting of Queen Elizabeth II, by local artist John Townsend, was presented to Nottingham City Council by local businessman Lewis Coulton

October 1970

Nottingham University established the UK’s first Medical School of the 20th century


Dr Ernest Want became Nottingham’s and Britain’s first Asian Lord Mayor21


Stan Mellor, the first jockey ever to ride 1,000 winners, attained his record at Nottingham Racecourse


Speedo, the world’s leading name for swimwear, took over a Nottingham factory and made it their centre of European operations


Construction began of the four multi-storey blocks of the new Queen’s Medical Centre


Clifton Bridge was made into a dual-carriageway


The main Post Office moved from the ornate Victorian building on Queen Street to new premises at the top of the street


The largest Boots store in the world opened in Nottingham’s Victoria Centre28

9 February 1972

Wings played their first ever gig at Nottingham University

23 June 1972

The formal opening of the Victoria Shopping Centre took place

1 November 1972

The official opening of the huge new John Player & Sons Horizon Factory, built between 1969 and 1971

8 November 1972

The new Jessops department store opened in the Victoria Shopping Centre, having closed its old store on King Street on the 4 November6

20 February 1973

The Emett Clock in Victoria Centre was unveiled

June 1973

Nottingham’s morning Guardian Journal newspaper closed

27 July 1973

The National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont opened

28 January 1974

Some Nottingham City Transport bus inspectors were issued with portable radio sets

28 January 1974

Jim Lees of Nottingham, probably the world’s foremost expert on Robin Hood, set up the Robin Hood Society

6 January 1975

Brian Clough became Manager of Nottingham Forest

25 March 1975

The Broad Marsh Shopping Centre was opened by H.R.H, The Duke of Gloucester

3 July 1975

Radio Trent was amongst the country’s first commercial stations when it was launched in Nottingham

August 1975

The unsuccessful Zone and Collar traffic scheme was introduced experimentally on the western side of Nottingham, aiming to delay non bus traffic, give buses priority and encourage car drivers to use the scheme’s Lilac Leopard park and ride coaches


Nottingham City Transport’s fleet of buses reached an all time high of 494 vehicles

17 March 1976

Everest Mountaineer Doug Scott was made a Freeman of the City

May 1976

The Nottingham Evening Post became the first newspaper to publish a story set electronically by a journalist


The Theatre Royal was refurbished by Nottingham City Council


Dr Peter Mansfield tested his first prototype magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner on himself at Nottingham University


Castle Rock Brewery started brewing beer in Nottingham

13 May 1977

Samantha Morton, the actor and film director, was born in Nottingham

28 July 1977

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Nottingham on the Silver Jubilee Tour and officially opened the Queen’s Medical Centre

22 April 1978

Forest became First Division Champions with four games to play

6 June 1978

Princess Anne visited Nottingham

11 November 1978

Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital was transferred to the University Hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre

November 1978

Nottingham’s Viv Anderson became the first black football player to represent England at international level when he played against Czechoslovakia

17 March 1979

Nottingham Forest beat Southampton 3 – 2 to win the League Cup at Wembley

30 May 1979

Forest beat Malmo F.C. 1 – 0 in Munich to win the European Cup

January 1980

Blenheim Industrial Estate was opened

28 May 1980

Forest beat Hamburger S V 1-0 in Madrid to retain the European Cup


Experian, one of the world’s leading information services companies, was established in Nottingham


Pretty Polly, a British brand of women’s tights based in Nottingham, was the first hosiery company to advertise on TV in the UK

12 July 1980

The Bulwell factory of flower pot manufacturer Richard Sankey and Son Ltd was destroyed by fire34

5 June 1981

Queen Elizabeth visited the University of Nottingham for its centenary celebrations

10-12 July 1981

The Nottingham ‘Riots’ as they were referred to by the local paper, a battle between the Police and rioters, took place mainly in and around the Hyson Green Flats complex


The first year of the annual Nottingham ‘Robin Hood’ Marathon

17 November 1981

The Women’s Hospital on Peel Street closed

27 November 1982

The Royal Concert Hall opening concert took place with Elton John

2 December 1982

The Royal Concert Hall was officially opened


Richard (Dick) Iliffe, local photographer and film maker, died. Richard and his colleague Wilf Baguley set up the Nottingham Historical Film Unit, holding a huge collection of old Nottingham photographs from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, many published in a series of books


Police Constable and Ex-Grenadier Guard Dennis ‘Tug’ Wilson retired from the police force. He was a familiar figure in and around the Old Market Square in Nottingham, well-known not only for his height of 6ft 8in (7ft 2in with his helmet), but also for his magnificent handlebar moustache. He died in 1991


Nottingham’s Torvill and Dean won the World Ice Dance Championship in Helsinki, scoring maximum marks for artistic interpretation

28 April 1983

Jayne Torvill O.B.E. and Christopher Dean O.B.E. were made Freemen of the City of Nottingham

14 February 1984

Nottingham’s Torvill and Dean became Olympic Ice-dance Champions in Sarajevo with a record score

2 March 1984

Prince Philip visited Central TV and Nottingham High School

4 April 1984

Nottingham’s Highfields Science Park project was launched with a time capsule being buried by Tomorrow’s World TV presenter Judith Hann

19 April 1984

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip met Torvill and Dean on the Council House steps


A canoe slalom and water ski lagoon were added to the National Water Sports Centre


The first Mela in the country was held in Nottingham, a celebration of Asian arts, music and culture

14 September 1987

Confirmation of the Nottinghamshire cricket double of the County Championship and the Nat West Trophy

January 1988

The iconic Pearsons of Nottingham department store, with its Georgian facade facing Long Row, closed after 98 years18


Nottingham’s notorious Hyson Green flats were demolished


Diamond Cable started laying fibre-optic cables in Nottingham

9 April 1989

Forest beat Luton Town 3-1 to win the Littlewood Cup-Final

23 April 1989

Nottingham Panthers become Heineken British Ice Hockey League Champions

8 May 1989

The inauguration took place of Councillor Tony Robinson the first black Sheriff of Nottingham

27 May 1989

The Tales of Robin Hood visitor attraction opened on Maid Marian Way

25 September 1989

Trent Polytechnic became Nottingham Polytechnic

17 May 1990

Nottingham Tennis Centre was opened

21 August 1990

Nottingham was voted ‘Top Town’ in the Reader’s Digest Moneywise Poll

25 October 1990

The first Robin Hood Pageant was held

18 May 1991

Tottenham Hotspur beat Forest 2-1 at Wembley to win the F A Cup

18 July 1991

The UK premier of the new Robin Hood ‘Prince of Thieves’ film took place at the Showcase Cinema

16 October 1992

Nottingham Polytechnic became Nottingham Trent University

18 November 1992

The new City Information Centre opened in Smithy Row


The new Robin Hood railway line from Nottingham to Newstead opened

23 March 1993

Brian Clough O.B.E., M.A. was made a Freeman of the City of Nottingham


Nottingham won the English Tourist Board’s England for Excellence Destination of the Year Award

14 July 1994

Alan Sillitoe was given an Honorary Degree by Nottingham Trent University

September 1994

Completion of the award winning Inland Revenue Centre offices by architects Michael Hopkins and Partners

19 October 1994

The start of Nottingham’s association with the Royal Philharmonic


The Robin Hood railway line was extended to Mansfield Woodhouse

7 April 1995

The Galleries of Justice visitor attraction opened in the Shire Hall

19 June 1995

The new Inland Revenue Building opened

30 June 1995

The first London style taxi was introduced to Nottingham

10 January 1996

BBC Radio Nottingham presenter Denis McCarthy died

11 March 1996

The Nottingham Evening Post changed from a broadsheet newspaper to a tabloid

3 May 1996

The new Magistrates’ Courts opened

19 July 1996

Nottingham’s Unitary Status Confirmation was received

7 September 1996

The first major ‘Gut-barging’ championships were held at Rock City in Nottingham

25 December 1996

Part of the Castle museum pathway and retaining wall fell away from Castle Rock on to Peveril Drive

21 March 1997

Queen Elizabeth visited Nottingham during the city’s Centenary Year

1 October 1997

Nottingham won the 1997 ‘Britain in Bloom Large City Award’

October 1997

Games Workshop, one of the largest wargames companies in the world, moved all its UK-based operations to the headquarters in Lenton, Nottingham

23 June 1998

A new ‘Our Style is Legendary’ logo to promote the city region of Nottingham was launched at the Council House to the local business community

3 October 1998

Nottingham won the 1998 ‘Entente Florale Gold Award’

1 March 1999

Nottingham City Council’s web page was launched on the Internet

September 1999

Official opening of the University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus by Queen Elizabeth, an academic park of award-winning architecture at a stunning waterside setting, regenerating the former Raleigh bicycle factory site

Continue to Nottingham Now (2000 onwards)

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

3 Robinson, Oonagh, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 15 October 2012) p24
6 Hill, Steve, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 22 November 2012) p28
7 Willis, Nick, Nottingham Victoria Station Website (
8 Willis, Nick, Nottingham Victoria Station Website (
12 Kelly, Jon, BBC News Magazine Website: How first out-of-town superstore changed the UK (, 2 September 2013)
18 Lowe, David, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 2 December 2014) p36
20 IMDb, IMDb Website: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) (
21 Christopher Kul-Want, Guardian Website: Other lives, Ernest Want (, 16 November 2007)
28 Nottingham Post website, Nottingham in the 1970s: Photos from every year of the decade (
34 Smart, Andy, Nottingham Post, Bygones (Nottingham, Nottingham Post, 26 May 2016) p32


4 Responses to Late 20th Century Nottingham (1950 – 1999)

  1. chris Ellis says:

    I think that we have found a surviving part of Richard Ilife and Wilfred Baguley’s film archive …we are working on a project to transfer & conserve previously unseen home movie footage of Nottingham’s past and to screen a film of it at Lakeside on Oct 11th.

    While researching a tale of a local film archive gifted to a college, we came across cans of 16mm film, some of them clealy produced by the ‘Nottingham Historical Film Unit’ … more info as I have it…

  2. gary pearson says:

    Hi, surely, Dr Ernest Want was Nottinghams first Asian Lord Mayor?

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Hello Gary, yes, you have a good point there. That information was taken from City Council documents, but having researched Dr Want’s background I see you’re correct. I’ll make the changes to the blog pages as soon as I can. Thanks, Roy.

  3. gary pearson says:

    Cheers, Dr Want was a really lovely man, he was my GP as a child and I remember him being a kind man.

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