10 things you didn’t know about Nottingham

Monday 21 August 2017 by Jessica Mendoza Nottingham is a beautiful city, filled with history and charm of the past millennium. The pretty city has a lot more to offer than first meets the eye, here's our top 10 facts about Nottingham.


Fact number…


1. Nottingham has the world’s smallest cinema

Steven Metcalf opened the world’s smallest cinema in 2002, seating only 21 guests. Steven is a movie enthusiast and wanted to give people a second chance to watch the new releases they had missed the first time round. Steven was tipped off about the building by his brother who lived in Nottingham at the time and opened up Screen22 on Broad Street - only a six minute walk away from Cineworld - now regarded as one of the most independent cinemas in the country. Very courageous and quirky – we love it!



Are we good guys or are we bad guys…


2. The home of Robin Hood

Robin Hood, a heroic outlaw from English folktales - a highly-skilled archer and swordsman known for robbing from the rich to give to the poor and assisted by outlaws known as his ‘Merry Men.’ The enormous Major Oak in Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire) was the legendary hideout for Robin Hood and his Merry Men - and is now celebrated and cherished by the people of present day Nottinghamshire, with Robin Hood as the symbol of their county. You can also go on a ‘Robin Hood Town Tour’ which gets nothing but praise and high ratings - “After years of waiting, the residents of Nottingham finally have a tourist attraction to be proud of. Ade Andrews brings the history of Nottingham and the legend of Robin Hood alive in a vibrant tour of the city. We thank goodness someone is finally giving visitors the experience they deserve,” BBC TV, England. We trust you’ll have a historic experience to remember.



You may kiss the royal hand…


3. Another Robin Hood fact (sorry)

“You may kiss the royal hand…,” yes, we lead into the third fact with another quote from Disney’s Robin Hood - a brilliant film and a firm favourite at SACO. The Sherriff of Nottingham who plays a vital role in the legend of Robin Hood is in fact a real person! Fortunately, he’s not anything like the villain in the Robin Hood books and films but instead promotes Nottingham as a tourist destination and welcomes visitors into the city. Brilliant!



Ding dong…


4. Little John is the next Big Ben?

Nottingham is home to the deepest-toned bell in Britain called ‘Little John.’ The 10.5 tonne bell sounds out every 15 minutes and it’s reportedly the loudest clock bell in the country, with its strike heard up to seven miles away! In 2015, Nottingham City Council offered the loan of Little John to replace Big Ben if it should ever fall silent.





5. HP sauce was born in Nottingham

Fact number five is short but sweet (and sour…) considering the title sums it up perfectly. HP sauce was invented by Frederick Gibson Garton in his packing factory at the back of 47 Sandon Street, Nottingham. He was living at the Royal Oak when he came up with recipe and named it HP Sauce in 1895, after hearing that the Houses of Parliament had begun serving it. Oddly, Frederick Gibson Garton is not the only famous person Nottingham has produced, he’s one of many actually, leading us nicely on to fact number six…



Collecting Advantage Points and helping headaches everywhere…


6. Boots AND Ibuprofen

The Boot family, born and raised in Nottingham, created one of the biggest chains of pharmacies that is still getting bigger and bigger to this day. John Boot opened a small herbalist store on Goose Gate in 1849 and had expanded the business by 1927 - now Boots is the UK’s leading pharmacy, health and beauty retailer with over 2,500 stores across the UK. Ibuprofen was also invented in Nottingham by Dr Stewart Adams. Dr Stewart Adams left school at 16 and worked as a pharmacy apprentice at Boots laboratories, claiming he was very ambitious at the time. Dr Stewart Adams was working in a house in the south of Nottingham, performing random trials on pain-killing chemical substances – eventually leading to his only successful attempt, ibuprofen, which he tested on himself for a hangover. Thanks Stewart – you’ve rescued many of us from that very same ailment.



The Wollaton Hall rises…


7. Nanananana Batman!

Wollaton Hall was used as the setting for Wayne Manor in the 2012 Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Annual visitors to the Elizabethan mansion has increased tremendously, 175,117 visitors in 2012 (the release year of The Dark Knight Rises), and numbers have risen each year since then, reaching 291,393 in 2014. The rise has been credited to the "Batman effect" and other reasons such as marketing and specialised tours… but mainly Batman. The Nottinghamshire village of Gotham also attracts Batman fans, inspiring the naming of Gotham City when the Batman comics were created.





8. Nottingham used to be called Snotingham

Nottingham use to be called ‘Snotingham’ back in 600 AD. An Anglo-Saxon chief called Snot gave his name to what is now known as Nottingham. Snotingham literally means the town of snot people... we can see why the name hasn’t stuck.


Mother goose…


9. One of the world’s oldest fairs is still going every year

Nottingham has hosted the Goose Fair for more than 700 years now. It was created and hosted for the first time back in 1284, where people would go to specifically buy geese. The Goose Fair is still occurring yearly - not to buy geese, but to have fun with friends and family. Hundreds of fairground rides, games and food stalls, music and locals coming together every year just to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere. It takes place on Wednesday through to Sunday during the first week of October, at Forest Recreation Ground.



Traffic lights are... useful?...


10. Ready, steady, go  

Traffic lights were first invented in Nottingham. Nottingham high school student John Peake Knight came up with the solution in 1866, after seeing thousands of people being killed on the roads. He created a system with a revolving gas-powered lantern and a red and green light to control road traffic. The very first one was placed at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street in Westminster, London. Thank you, John – you get us into work each day!



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