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Nottingham - England
Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands of England in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire. Nottingham is famed for its connection with the legend of Robin Hood and, during the Industrial Revolution, obtained worldwide recognition for its lace-making and bicycle industries. It was granted its city charter as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1897 and has since been officially titled the City of Nottingham. Nottingham was captured in 867 by Danish Vikings and later became one of the Five Burghs, or fortified towns, of The Danelaw. In the 11th century Nottingham Castle was built on a sandstone outcropping by the Leen River. The Anglo-Saxon settlement developed into the English Borough of Nottingham and housed a Town Hall and Law Courts. A settlement also developed around the castle on the hill opposite and was the French borough supporting the Normans in the castle. Eventually, the space between was built on as the town grew and the Old Market Square became the focus of Nottingham several centuries later. On the return of Richard Coeur de Lion from the Crusades, the castle stood out in Prince John's favour. So, it was besieged by Richard, and after a sharp conflict it was captured. By the 15th century, Nottingham had established itself as the centre of a thriving export trade in religious sculpture made from alabaster. The town became a county corporate in 1449, giving it effective self-government, in the words of the charter "for eternity". The Castle and Shire Hall were expressly excluded and technically remained as detached Parishes of Nottinghamshire. During the Industrial Revolution, much of Nottingham's prosperity was founded on the textile industry; in particular, Nottingham was an internationally important center of lace manufacture. However, the rapid and poorly planned growth left Nottingham with the reputation of having the worst slums in the British Empire outside of India. The residents of these slums rioted in 1831 in protest against the Duke of Newcastle's opposition to the Reform Act of 1832 and set fire to his residence - Nottingham Castle.
Very little textile manufacture now takes place in Nottingham, but the city's heyday in this sector endowed it with some fine industrial era buildings in the Lace Market district. Many of these have been restored and put to new uses. Electric powered trams revolutionized the public transportation system in Nottingham when they were introduced in 1901 and they served the city well for 35 years until the trolleybus network was expanded in 1936. The Nottingham road network was improved drastically between 1922 and 1932 when a new dual carriageway was built. Housing conditions also began to improve for the city's poorer residents at this time, when the first council houses were built on new suburban estates to rehouse families from slum clearances. Mass private house building also took place, with the process continuing to boom until some 30 years after World War II ended in 1945. Nottingham is home to a multitude of different architectural styles, with buildings dating from the 1100s. Architects such as Alfred Waterhouse, Thomas Chambers Hine and Nottingham's own Watson Fothergill produced elaborate buildings in the 19th century to meet the expansion generated by increasing industrial output. The geographical center of Nottingham is usually defined as the Old Market Square, the largest city square in the UK. The square is dominated by the Council House, which replaced The Nottingham Exchange Building, built in 1726. The Council House was built in the 1920s to display civic pride, ostentatiously using baroque columns and placing stone statues of two lions at the front to stand watch over the square. The Exchange Arcade, on the ground floor, is an upmarket shopping centre containing high-end boutiques. Portland Stone was used to construct the Council House and Exchange Arcade. The western third of the city has most of the modern office complexes. Tall office buildings line Maid Marian Way and the Georgian area around Oxford and Regent Streets is dominated by small professional firms.
The Albert Hall faces the Gothic revival St Barnabas Cathedral by Pugin. Nottingham Castle and its grounds are located further south in the western third of the city. The central third descends from the University district in the north, past Nottingham Trent University's Gothic revival Arkwright Building. The University also owns many other buildings in this area. The Theatre Royal on Theatre Square, with its pillared façade, was built in 1865. King and Queen Streets are home to striking Victorian buildings designed by the likes of Alfred Waterhouse and Watson Fothergill. To the south is Broadmarsh Shopping Center. The Canal-side further south of this is adjacent to Nottingham railway station and home to numerous redeveloped 19th Century industrial buildings refurbished as bars and restaurants. The eastern third of the city center contains the Victoria Shopping Centre, built in the 1970s on the site of the demolished Victoria Railway Station. All that remains of the old station is the clock tower and the station hotel, now the Nottingham Hilton Hotel. The 250 feet-high Victoria Centre flats stand above the shopping centre and are the tallest buildings in the city. The eastern third contains Hockley Village. Hockley is where many of Nottingham's unique, independent shops are to be found. It is also home to two alternative cinemas. The Screen Room in Hockley claims to be the smallest cinema in the world with only 21 seats. The Lace Market area just south of Hockley has densely packed streets full of four to seven story red brick warehouses with ornate iron railings and red phone boxes. The University of Nottingham, founded in 1798, is situated in Highfields Park. New College Nottingham occupies the Adams Building, built by Thomas Chambers Hine for Thomas Adams (1817–1873). Many buildings have been converted into apartments, bars and restaurants. St. Mary's Church, Nottingham on High Pavement is the largest medieval building still standing in Nottingham. The Georgian-built Shire Hall is home to the Galleries of Justice and was Nottingham's main court and prison building, for 200 years from 1780, although the site's use as a court stretches back as far as 1375.
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, partially built into the cave system beneath Nottingham Castle, is a contender for the title of England's Oldest Pub due to its supposed establishment in 1189. The Bell Inn on the Old Market Square, and Ye Olde Salutation Inn on Maid Marian Way, have both disputed this claim. An episode of the Channel 4 TV documentary series called History Hunters tested attributes of the three claimants and found that, while each has its own evidence, none can claim exclusivity. The Trip, while being the oldest building, was for most of its early life a brewery and not a public house. The Salutation sits on the oldest recognized public house site, but the current building is comparatively recent. The Bell Inn, although not in such an antiquated location, boasts the oldest public house building. There is also conflicting information available: dendrochronology from roof timbers in the Salutation give a date for the building in 1420 with similar dates for the Bell. Ultimately, the roots of the multiple claims can be traced to various subtleties of definition in terms such as public house and inn. Nottingham has two large-capacity theatres, the Nottingham Playhouse and the Theatre Royal, which, together with the neighbouring Nottingham Royal Concert Hall forms the Royal Centre, and a smaller theatre space at the University of Nottingham's Lakeside Arts Centre. The city is also host to smaller theatre venues, such as the Nottingham Arts Theatre and the Lace Market Theatre. Also, within the University of Nottingham Campus grounds is the New Theatre - the only entirely student-run theatre in England. There are also several art galleries which often receive national attention, particularly the Nottingham Castle Museum, the University of Nottingham's Djanogly Gallery and Wollaton Park's Yard Gallery. Both of the city's universities also put on a wide range of theatre, music and art events open to the public throughout the year. Brewhouse Yard Museum, the museum of Nottingham Life based within five 17th century cottages at the base of the rock of Nottingham Castle. Once a refuge for persecuted members of dissenting religious groups, the museum investigates over 300 years of local history these days.
Nottingham is also well known for Rock City, a concert venue, along with its sister venues – Rescue Rooms, The Bodega Social Club and Stealth. The city is home to a few independent record labels actively contributing to the alternative rock, pop and garage music scene, such as Hello Thor, Dead by Mono Records. The Sumac Centre based in Forest Fields has for many years supported local upcoming musicians, artists and film makers, and a variety of campaign groups. There are also a large number of live music venues promoting rock and metal music throughout the city, including The Central, The Old Angel, The Maze and Ye Olde Salutation Inn. Although it has generally had a rather sparse output in terms of pop and rock music, in recent years local bands have been touted in the media both within the city and across the country. Dog Is Dead, an indie quintet have been signed to Atlantic Records. Other prominent artists include Jake Bugg, Frontiers, Great British Weather and Hhymn.Wollaton Park in Nottingham hosts an annual family-friendly music event called Splendour. In 2009 it was held on Sunday 19 July and was headlined by Madness and The Pogues. Splendour returned on 24 July 2010, headlined by The Pet Shop Boys and featuring Calvin Harris, Noisettes, Athlete and OK Go among others. It returned again in 2011, featuring headline acts Scissor Sisters, Blondie, Eliza Doolittle and Feeder, alongside many others. Nottingham is renowned as one of the biggest cities supporting the Dubstep movement of dance music. Nottingham has several weekly and monthly Dubstep and Drum and Bass nights. It also has a strong 'DIY' music scene, with a large number of independent promoters using a variety of venues, pubs/bars, warehouse spaces and gallerys to host gigs throughout the city. Nottingham is also one of the most well known cities outside of London for Grime music, along with Birmingham and Manchester. There are countless MC's from Nottingham, some of whom have garnered national attention, like Wariko and Fangol, who have both appeared on London radio shows. There are also a few notable grime producers, most recently the likes of the Beat Geeks. This thriving scene could be seen as a result of Nottingham's close cultural affiliation with London, and its diverse ethnic background.
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