Manuscripts and Special Collections


The outward expansion of the city was restricted until the passing of the Nottingham Inclosure Act in 1845. To the west of the City, the Park and the Wollaton estates were the private properties of the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Middleton respectively. In a crescent round the north, east and south of the city lay the common fields (the Sandfield, the Clayfield and the Meadows) and the Colwick lands of Mr. Musters.

'Nottingham Park' by Thomas Allom (1804-1872) 

Although pressure to enclose these fields and to make them available for building purposes was begun in 1787, the pressure was successfully resisted until 1845 by the combined efforts of the burgesses who held common rights in the fields and of the owners of sites within the city who profited from the ever-rising land values. Expansion was possible only in certain small areas - Radford, New Lenton, Hyson Green, Sneinton and Carrington - and houses built in these areas tended to be too expensive for the great mass of Nottingham's population.

The growth of lace manufacture in Nottingham between 1812 and 1830 brought prosperity to owners of lace machines and to their workers. Incomes of £4 per week were not uncommon, and some of the very skilled workers earned more. The prosperity of the lace workers enabled them to move out of the city into these new satellite communities where the houses were generally substantial dwellings of three storeys, many of them with private back yards and gardens in front.

But at the same time that lace workers were earning £4 a week or more, framework knitters (stockingers) were receiving only 8s-12s. per week, and their poverty condemned them to live in the most congested parts of the city, alongside other people who earned their living in lowly paid and sometimes obnoxious trades or who were without work altogether.


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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651