Nottingham, city and unitary authority (1991 pop. 273,300), central England, on the Trent River. A center of rail and road transportation, the city's most important industries are the manufacture of lace, hosiery, cotton, and silk. The long-established textile industry greatly profited from the inventions of James Hargreaves and Richard Arkwright. Cigarettes, bicycles, and pharmaceuticals are among Nottingham's many other products. The historic county seat of Nottinghamshire, the city became independent of the county in 1998.
In the 9th cent., Nottingham was one of the Danish Five Boroughs. In the 12th cent., much of it was destroyed by fire. Parliaments were held in Nottingham in 1334, 1337, and 1357. In 1642, Nottingham was the scene of Charles I unfurling his banner, marking the beginning of the civil war. Early in the 19th cent., Luddites were active in the city. The 17th-century castle overlooking the Trent River was burned in 1831 during Reform Bill riots. It was restored in 1878 and now houses an art museum. The earlier Norman castle on the same site was once the prison of David II of Scotland and the headquarters of Richard III before the battle of Bosworth Field.
Other features of interest are the council house (city hall), a Roman Catholic cathedral (designed by A. W. Pugin), the 16th-century grammar school (now a high school), the Univ. of Nottingham (1948), and St. Peter's Church, part of which dates from the 12th cent. According to tradition, Robin Hood was born in Nottingham. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was born there in 1829.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.