Nottingham is a city that is full of heritage and history, from the lace industry, to the beginnings of the civil war, our city has been at the centre of many historical events. For some, the past seems unaccessible and the stories of people and events gets lost in the ever evolving city. But the history on your doorstep may be more obtainable than you think.

Decoding the city begins with questions, ask yourself if you will “What’s in a street name?” Take an unassuming street for example, Standard Hill. Tucked away on the outskirts of the city centre, the street is lined with expensive townhouses and rather ornate street lamps.

Street Lamp, Standard Hill
Street Lamp, Standard Hill

To the casual observer one may think these are merely architectural choices by the city planner to fit with the upper class area this road is situated on. However the regal design of the lamps reveal a deeper history to this Standard Hill.

Nottingham is awash with these glimpses of the past, street names and architecture all play their part in preserving the vast amount of history encapsulated in this city. Although you can discover parts of history by walking the streets, if you want to delve deeper their are a number of ways that you can expand your knowledge of Nottingham.

Nottingham City Centre Map
Nottingham City Centre Map

There are a number of societies and organisations you can join or attend to learn more about Nottingham’s history and heritage: The most prominent society in Nottingham for heritage is the Nottinghamshire Civic Society. They are a very active group in Nottingham who care for the past, present and future of the city, they hold regular events and routinely organise walking tours around the city to shine a light on the forgotten parts of history.

Another excellent history group would be the Nottinghamshire Local History Association. This organisation work extensively with the city to make history more accessible to the masses. They regularly host a wide variety of events for people of all ages, and have a bi-annual magazine showcasing the findings of the group, which is largely made up of historians, but don’t let that put you off, they welcome everyone! Check out their website for a calendar of their upcoming events

The most engaging way to interact with your local history is to take a visit to the Nottinghamshire Archives, which holds an impressive four million documents. Covering a huge amount of Nottingham’s history, the archives allow the curious to find out about history on your own terms, so grab your bull whip and dust off your fedora, who knows what you might uncover! Their website link is located below.

By combining the efforts of a walk, and a trip to the archives you can truly uncover the unseen past right on your doorstep. Nottingham’s history can be traced all the way back to the 9th century, when the city we see now was a divided kingdom containing two boroughs. John Parker chairman of the Nottingham Local History Association tells this tale with Ruth Imeson from the Nottinghamshire Archives describing how their earliest document relates to these boroughs.

Nottingham is a developing city that has managed to retain it’s heritage and history, the city council has an ambitious heritage strategy to make sure that these buildings and historical parts of Nottingham remain for future generation. The best way to aid these efforts are to go out and engage in the history that is on your doorstep.

By utilising historic societies and organisations anyone can uncover the past that is all around us!

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