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:
Nottingham’s Robin Hood statue was unveiled on 24 July 1952 by the Duchess of Portland, Ivy Cavendish-Bentinck, of Welbeck in Nottinghamshire.
Click here for a short black and white film of the opening ceremony.
It was donated to the city by Nottingham industrialist Philip E F Clay, of Radcliffe-on-Trent near Nottingham, who gave £5,000 to Nottingham City Council. He requested that it should mark the visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on 28 June 1949, for the 500th anniversary of the 1449 Charter making the Borough of Nottingham into a separate County from Nottinghamshire.
The 2.1 metre high bronze statue was sculpted by James Woodford RA, a former student of the Nottingham School of Art, and made by Morris Singer & Co of Basingstoke, Hampshire. It was estimated that it should last for 6,000 years.
James Woodford was born in Nottingham in 1894, before moving to London. James also designed Queen Elizabeth’s heraldic beasts which were made especially for the royal approach to Westminster for the Coronation in 1953.
The site for the statue, in the dry moat outside the Castle, was chosen in November 1951 by Nottingham City Council for its medieval character and for the legendary association with Robin Hood.
The statue stands alone; James Woodford said at the time “Personally I think it would have been too sentimental to put Maid Marian with Robin Hood.” But around the statue are reliefs depicting scenes from the legends; Maid Marian helping Robin and Friar Tuck in their fight against Guy of Gisborne’s men, Richard the Lionheart joining Marian’s hand with Robin’s, Little John and Robin fighting on a bridge and Robin shooting his last arrow.
Robin Hood is one of the world’s best known and most enduring legends, the stories attract visitors from all over the world, who come to see the statue and have their photograph taken standing next to it.
The Robin Hood statue and the Castle Gatehouse are just a few minutes walk along Friar Lane from the Old Market Square.
Nottingham is a large English city in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of the UK, well known internationally for its links with the Robin Hood legends.
Nottingham is the seventh largest urban area in the UK, which ranks it in size between the cities of Liverpool and Sheffield.
Due to the tightly drawn city boundary Nottingham has a relatively small population of 306,700 (2011 estimate), but the city forms part of the Nottingham urban area, which has a population of 729,977 (2011 census), although Eurostat’s Larger Urban Zone lists the population of the area at 825,600 (2004 estimate) and the ‘Journey to Work Area’ has a catchment of about 1.1 million people.
General settlement of what is now the centre of the city probably began around 600 AD, with Nottingham rising in prominence through the Middle Ages and the pre-industrial era, following the construction of Nottingham Castle from around 1067.
The city grew rapidly in size and prosperity during the Industrial Revolution, largely due to the textile industry, and obtained worldwide recognition for lace making and for household names such as Raleigh bicycles, Players cigarettes and Boots the Chemist.
Today Nottingham is one of six designated Science Cities, home to more than 15,000 businesses with a wide range of science and technology sectors, including biomedical sciences, ICT, environmental technologies and advanced engineering, along with significant employment in creative industries and more than 50 regional and national headquarters.
Nottingham is an energetic, cosmopolitan city of first-class shopping, cafes, bars and restaurants, thriving universities and businesses, with a pioneering art and culture scene of live music, theatre, art galleries and museums.
Then the time approaches for the show people to congregate at the fairground, and local children watch with anticipation as the rides are constructed and the fair starts to take its familiar shape.
Goose Fair is acres and acres of colour, lights, sounds and fun, with mushy peas and Grantham gingerbread, gentle Edwardian roundabouts and white knuckle stomach turners for thrill seekers, all mingling to make Nottingham’s annual spectacular.
Visitors travel from far and wide to experience the crowds, laughter, squeals and sights that give Goose Fair its distinctive atmosphere.
The fair normally has its official opening on the first Thursday in October and runs through until Sunday.
A small selection of recent photographs.
A brief history of the fair from an old Nottingham City Council ‘Nottingham Goose Fair’ leaflet, written around 1988 by Carl Piggins of the Public Relations Office.
A description of Goose Fair in the Old Market Square in 1896, taken from the memoirs of Mr G. C. A. Austin, Nottingham’s Clerk of the Markets from 1907 to 1944.
A short piece of black and white film of the fair and official opening.
These dates are all taken from my ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ pages.
Not long ago I won this wonderful painting of Nottingham’s Goose Fair (1907) by local artist Harry Haslam in a Nottingham Post and True Colours Art Gallery competition.
Harry Haslam paints from old postcards and takes photographs of the buildings that still remain to get more information. Harry reproduces the detail as accurately as possible and in every one of his pictures hides an image of his faithful dog Jude.
When I moved to Nottingham in the 1970s I made these annotations on a selection of typical phrases used by local colleagues and neighbours.
Some of these idioms have almost vanished from daily use in the last few decades, although you still hear similar phrases in some Nottingham neighbourhoods and in older generations of local people.
A few younger Nottingham residents now have an inflection of ‘Estuary English‘; a euphemism for a mild version of the London and South East accent, which has flourished for hundreds of miles outside of London.
|Ay-up miduk||Hello (usually, but not exclusively, to a female)|
|Ay-up yooth||Hello (usually to a young male)|
|Ay-up duckeh||Hello (to a female or child you’re particularly close to)|
|Ow ya gowin on then, Serri?||How are you?|
|Ta-rar duk||Goodbye / goodnight|
|Ar (or Aye)||Yes|
|Tahn||Town / city centre|
|Twitchell / Jyitt-eh||Alley or cut-through|
|Kawzi||Pavement / footpath|
|Oss / Bobbo||Horse|
|Tegs / Teggehs||Teeth|
|Dinna / Snap||Lunch or food|
|Cob||Bap, barm cake, bun or roll
Just remember IT’S A COB!
|Duddos / tuffeh||Sweets|
|Knobby greens||Brussels sprouts|
|Gizza||Give me / let me have|
|Gozz||To see / look|
|Dob dahn||To duck or hide|
|Blubber / blubbering||Crying or weeping|
|Prattin abaht||Acting stupidly|
|Pawleh / badleh||Unwell|
|Mard-eh||Grumpy, miserable or sulking|
|Mank-eh||Dirty / scruffy, or sometimes silly|
|Suck-eh||Someone of questionable intelligence (a bit thick)|
|Batch-eh||Insane / crazy|
|Snided / snided out||Busy or crowded|
|Puther / puthering||Pouring or gushing; water, rain or smoke|
|Nesh||Unusually susceptible to cold weather|
|Kroggeh / croggie||To give someone a lift on a bicycle crossbar|
|Chelp||Back chat or insubordination|
|Tint||It is not|
|Thi-sens||Yourselves or themselves|
|Ahkidd||My brother / sister|
Queries and questions
|Ahrode ay-yo?||How old are you?|
|Aya gorra mardilippon?||Are you sulking?|
|Aya gorra wi’ya?||Have you got her (wife) with you?|
|Aya gorrim wi’ya?||Have you got him (husband) with you?|
|Aya gorrowt?||Have you any money?|
|Aya masht miduk?||Have you made the tea yet?|
|Ezz ee sed owt?||Did he say anything?|
|Gizzabitt||Can I have some of your … ?|
|Jagadahn?||Did you go to the Nottingham Forest / Notts County match?|
|Jo wonn-owt?||Would you like anything?|
|Kannicum annorl?||May I come too?|
|Oo worree wi?||Who was he with?|
|Wair dya wekk?||Where do you work?|
|Wairza booza?||Where is the local pub?|
|Wi or wi’yaut?||With or without?|
|Worree wee iz-sen?||Was he alone?|
|Wotsupp?||Is something wrong? / Is everything alright?|
|Wotyavin?||What would you like to drink?|
|Wot yonn-wee?||What are you doing?|
|Yerwott?||I beg your pardon?|
Statements and comments
|Am goowin wi mi-sen||I’m going alone / by myself|
|Annorl||As well / Also|
|Av gorrit wimee||I have it with me|
|Ay aint gorrowt||I don’t have anything / any money|
|Ah dint do owt||I didn’t do anything|
|Ah towd Imm eekud pleez iz-sen||I told him the decision was his / he could please his self|
|Ah towdya an al telya namor||I’ve told you and I’m not telling you again|
|Ah’ve gone an dottied mi’sen||My hands are dirty|
|Ah’ve podged mi’sen||I’ve eaten too much|
|Batt yu-sen dahn||Dust yourself off|
|Bungitt ovvarear||Pass it to me|
|Ee-yar||Here you are (giving) / let me have that (taking)|
|E’ wants sum ossmuck inniz boots||He’s not very tall|
|Gerra buzz dahn tahn||Catch a bus into town|
|Gerrit dahn-ya||Please eat it / drink it|
|Gerroff om||It’s time you went home|
|Gerroff!||Get off! (Please go away)|
|Gerroffahtonnit!||Go away / leave it alone!|
|Gerron wee-it||Get on with it (Please continue what you were saying)|
|Gerrum in then||Buy me a drink|
|Gerrup, elsal bat ya tab||Please get up or I’ll use violence|
|Gizza gozz||Let me see|
|Gizza kroggeh / krog||To ask for a lift on a bike|
|Gizzarfonitt||Share and share alike|
|Innit code||It’s cold today|
|Innit ott||It’s hot today|
|It meks-ya tabz laff||It has a sour or bitter taste|
|It-seh bit black ovva bilzmothaz||It looks like rain|
|It’ul norrotcha||It won’t hurt you|
|Izon Iz-ollidiz||He’s on holiday|
|Justarkatit||Listen to the rain|
|Mek it g’bakkuds||Please reverse the car / vehicle|
|Owd yuh oss-uzz!||Please wait / be patient! (Hold your horses!)|
|Shurrup, elsal bat ya tab||Please be quiet or I’ll use violence|
|Shut ya gob! / Purra sock init||Shut your mouth / Shut up!|
|Thiz summat up wee im||There is something wrong with him / He may be ill|
|Tin-tin-tin||It is not in the tin|
|Wigorn tev uz dinnaz||We’re about to have lunch|
|Yowl koppitt||You’ll get into trouble|
A Nottingham dialect joke ► Vet; “Is it a tom?” Cat owner; “Nah, av gorrit wimee.”
In the heart of Nottingham there are two large art-deco stone lions, resting either side of the Council House steps, guarding the entrance and surveying the historic Old Market Square.
Nottingham’s superlative Council House, with its 200 foot high dome and ten and a half ton bell called Little John, was designed by the architect T Cecil Howitt, but the lions, and much of the sculpture, were by Nottingham sculptor Joseph Else (1874-1955). Joseph Else was the principle of the Nottingham School of Art on Waverley Street between 1923 and 1939.
The lions have been a popular symbol in Nottingham for many years and since 2006 Nottingham City Council has used the lion on some of its promotional
material, in campaigns and on stationery.
To local people meeting at the ‘Left Lion’ has been an indispensable part of life in Nottingham since the Council House opened in 1929. The ‘Left Lion’ is the one on your left as you face the steps and entrance at the front of the building. A Nottingham arts and listings paper is called the Left Lion.
The two lions are known locally to a few people as Leo and Oscar, although some would say Menelaus and Agamemnon, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone from Nottingham who doesn’t recognize them.
Local legend has it that the lions roar when a virgin walks by.
A poem from the BBC’s ‘A Sense Of Place’
Clifton poet Lynn Adgar has written a special poem to allow the lions of Nottingham’s Old Market Square to tell us their story.
Nottingham’s Pride – Lion Watching by Lynn Adgar
I’m tired, tired of sitting here all day, Staring at my brother who has no thoughts of his own
He’s just like stone!
He sits contentedly with his lot – gives not a jot for pigeon poo, graffiti too
Daubed across our stately hue.
I grace the hub of city power, to welcome and guard a host of fame
Dignitaries and royalty, pause before me, caress my mane……
A tour of the city is not complete, unless you meet
The Council Lions………….
A pigeon told me
Before we arrived a market thrived,
coster banter filled the air, trading wares.
Mad Harry selling stale cakes cheap
Soap box religion vied with buskers strange.
A man displaying muscle brace would fall on his face
Marking the spot with black chalk on his nose.
I think this shows
Just how needed we were to raise the tone.
1929 So, this was now home, a bland slab square
But something had to be done with this drab looking blur
I craved flowers and music to enhance the grandeur.
Yes, I’ve seen some improvements over the years
Witnessed laughter and tears from my solitary post
Never quite being involved, not that I’m cold
it’s quite simply beneath my station to display elation
be it victory time
or when Little Johns chimes
to herald a new years birth.
Expression mute as I execute my guardian role
But joy touches my soul
And this great heart of mine fills with pride
when the city gathers before me to share the moment.
via Nottingham arts and listings paper the Left Lion.
A passing final thought; Nottingham’s lions were designed and sculpted in the ‘Roaring Twenties’.
As you paws by the statues fur a moment, consider their felines; they’ve been lion in the roar cold air in front of the Council House as the mane attraction for many years.
I put the original version of this description of Nottingham on ‘Where I’ve Been’, well, it’s more like an extended list than a description, which is down to my writing skills, lack of that is, but I love living in Nottingham. It’s an outstanding city.
Nottingham is a vibrant city, with first-class shopping attracting millions of people every year and consistently ranked in the top five UK shopping destinations. There are over 1,300 outlets; independent retailers, designer boutiques and high street favourites, with shoppers spending around £1.8 billion a year.
The left and right stone lions that guard the entrance to the Council House are a popular meeting place for local people.
The city has a huge variety of live music venues and a pioneering art and culture scene, there are contemporary and classical theatres, the Capital FM Arena and art galleries such as the Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange.
Nottingham Castle houses a museum and art gallery and has superb grounds with views across the city and over the Trent valley. There are also museums and spectacular parks at Wollaton Hall and Newstead Abbey, along with many other parks and gardens. The city’s Arboretum was the first designated public park in Nottingham and officially opened on 11 May 1852.
There are all sorts of places to visit and things to do. The fascinating Galleries of Justice Museum is based in Nottingham’s old courthouse and gaol, and takes you through the dark and disturbing past of crime and punishment. There is the award winning City of Caves visitor attraction, exploring the amazing sandstone caves beneath Nottingham city centre, the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard, depicting the social history of Nottingham over the last 300 years and Green’s Windmill, a popular museum and science centre.
Nottingham has award winning and cosmopolitan cuisine; there are more than 300 cafes and restaurants just in the city centre, offering more international food outlets per square mile than anywhere else in the UK.
For anyone interested in sport there are first-rate facilities and entertainment at venues such as Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Forest’s City Ground and County’s Meadow Lane for football, the National Ice Centre, Nottingham Racecourse, the National Water Sports Centre and the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Nottingham has two of the country’s foremost universities, Nottingham University and Trent University, and has the third largest student population in England, with more than 55,000 students at the universities alone.