Manuscripts and Special Collections

W.E. Gladstone: The Grand Old Man in Nottinghamshire

This exhibition ran from December 2009 to March 2010. 

The exhibition was produced by Manuscripts and Special Collections in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Archives. The academic curator was Dr Richard Gaunt of the School of History.



William Ewart Gladstone, who was Prime Minister of Britain and Ireland four times between 1868 and 1894, was in later life popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Man’. The exhibition marked the bicentenary of his birth (29 December 1809), and celebrated his longstanding Nottinghamshire associations through pictures, cartoons, letters and publications. 

Returned to Parliament as MP for Newark, after the Great Reform Act of 1832, Gladstone became closely involved with the Dukes of Newcastle of Clumber and their neighbours. This connection continued after Gladstone retired from his Newark seat in 1846.  As a trustee of the Newcastle Estate he played a role in the development of Nottingham Castle and the Park estate. A direct link with the early history of the University of Nottingham is seen in an illustration of him taking part in the 1877 foundation ceremony of University College.

Read a longer biography of Gladstone

Exhibition videos

Lakeside Arts Centre

Videos recorded in the Lakeside Gallery and presented by Dr Richard Gaunt which draw on material in the exhibition. 

Part 1: MP for Newark 1832-46

Part 2: County Connections 1846-98

Exhibition poster

Gladstone exhibition poster

Click on the poster above to open a larger version.

Exhibition themes

The exhibition boards which were displayed in the Weston Gallery are available to download in PDF format

They present images and text on the following themes:

  • W.E. Gladstone: The Grand Old Man in Nottinghamshire
  • Gladstone and the Corn Laws
  • Gladstone and Slavery
  • The People's William
  • Gladstone Commemorated
  • Gladstone and Political Cartoons
  • Gladstone and Newark


Visitor comments

Fascinating and informative. Well done.

Extremely interesting. Did not know anything beforehand about these Nottingham connections.

Again-an amazing exhibition. We have such a depth of history and great that part of it is displayed here regularly. Keep up the good work.

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
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