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The Whig governments of the 1830s and the Tory government of the 1840s between them established numerous parliamentary commissions to investigate the many social, economic and administrative problems of the day. Nottingham did not escape their attention but rather it afforded ample evidence for their reports.

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DOCUMENT 1

Plan of layout of a Nottingham court

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From Thomas Hawksley Esq., 'Report on the Town of Nottingham...', in the Appendix (after p. 142) of the First Report of the Royal Commission for inquiring into the State of Large Towns and Populous Districts. PP [572], XVII, 1844

DOCUMENT 2

MS 575/3: Detailed Drawings and Specification, Explanatory of the Design for a Labourer's Cottage by T.C. Hine, 1848

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T.C.Hine was a Nottingham architect. He won the Society of Arts competition in 1848 for the best design for Cottages for the Agricultural Districts. The design was published the same year, and his introduction states, 'It is now generally acknowledged, that convenient, well-constructed, and ventilated habitations, are ...essential to comfort, health, and well-being of the labouring classes...' His design was an ideal - most working people did not live in such modern and convenient houses.

DOCUMENT 3

Ne C 8903/3: The Intended Presentment of the Inquest of the Ward of Farringdon Within to the Court of Aldermen of the City of London respecting the state of the Poor in their district; 13 Feb. 1841

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This report on housing conditions in London was sent to the Earl of Lincoln (later the 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne), because of his interest in the 'habitations of the Poor'. The sender, Benjamin Steill, pointed out that the government had agreed to 'the establishment of Parks for the health and recreation of the more respectable of the humbler classes'. He urged 'a similar sacrifice on behalf of those who are much more destitute'. His comments were as relevant for provincial towns such as Nottingham as for the capital city of London.

DOCUMENT 4

Extracts taken from T. Cokayne, A report of the evidence given before the commissioners appointed to enquire into municipal corporations, taken in short-hand by Thomas Cokayne, reporter for the Nottingham Journal (1833).

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Nottingham: Printed for the Nottingham Constitutional Club by J. Hicklin and Co., pp. 162-165

DOCUMENT 5

East Midlands Special Collection Not 3.G66 SEA: Description of Nottingham in 1873

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This general description of Nottingham was published in Edward Seaton's A report on the sanitary condition of the borough of Nottingham. The housing stock of each of the wards within the Borough of Nottingham is described. It is noticeable that most of the 'Old Town', that is, the parts of Nottingham which had been built up before the Inclosure Act, was still made up of courts, yards and back-to-back houses. Many of these houses were not demolished until the slum clearances of the 1930s.

 

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