Obrázky stránek
[graphic][merged small]



degree. Every thing indicates that the purchasers are
tremely low-far below the average of Birmingham
a working population, whose money-wages are ex-
this little more goes for drink than for necessaries, and
and many other of our busy towns. Whether out of
whether the poor wife and mother have consequently
not here inquire; but if even every shilling of weekly
to make farthings serve the place of pennies, we will
wages be prudently managed, it is still a hard struggle
social position.
for the Nottingham operatives to maintain a decent

under sheds; leaving room for the purchasers to pass | shop-windows display the odd farthings to a remarkable between. Here is the butchers' row of stalls; near it the greengrocery; in another place dairy-produce, such as cheese and butter, together with poultry and eggs. At one stall we find pennyworths of nameless somethings, which are served up, all hot, to the boy-purAn open-air linendraper has his stall of cheap prints and ginghams. Boots and shoes, straw and chip bonnets, hosiery and coarse woollen goods, women's caps and collars-all are to be met with. Then there are numberless articles of household use, such as crockery and brown ware, tin saucepans and gridirons, pails and tubs. The itinerant doctor, too, finds his place; where all the ills that flesh is heir to' are invited to try the merits of the incomparable pills, drops, lotions, ointments, and elixirs which are spread out upon the stall. Nor is the itinerant auctioneer-the cheap John' of market-places-difficult to be met with. His covered cart, crammed with all sorts of low-priced goods, stands on one side; while he, mounted on a kind of stage at the cart's-tail, invites his auditors to compete for the wonderful bargains which are held out to them. If he puts up' a clasp knife at a shilling, which is worth threepence, he has an abundant margin for apparent liberality, which he the narrow but busy trading streets adjacent to it, it In the market, and in is observable that a penny is divisible into four parts

[ocr errors]

well knows how to manage.

more frequently than in London.

The tickets in the

tributed pretty fairly about the town. Beginning with The various public buildings of Nottingham are disthe churches, we find that the chief is St. Mary's, situated nearly in the centre of the town. (Cut, No. 6.) It is a large cruciform church, with a fine tower at the intersection of the transepts, rising two stages above the roof of the church, crowned with a battlement and eight crocketted pinnacles. The western end of the church has been restored, but not in good harmony with the rest. The general style of the architecture is the perpendicular; and it is said to contain a greater relative portion of window-light than almost any church in England. The church was built in the reign of Henry VII., and, accommodating 2,000 persons: being situated on an by modern enlargements, has been rendered capable of eminence, it forms a very conspicuous object in the


St. Peter's Church is situated near the market


place; it is a large building, originally in the perpendicular style, but a good deal altered in modern times: it has a tower at the west-end, with a lofty tower, crocketted at the angles of the octagon. St. Nicholas', near the castle, is a plain brick building, constructed in the latter end of the seventeenth century, in place of a much older structure. None of the other churches or chapels are of much mark as architectural structures; except, perhaps, the large Roman Catholic church of St. Barnabas, erected in 1841. It is a stone structure, in the early English style; there is a tower with a lofty spire; and the interior, especially the pulpit, is very richly adorned; the windows contain much stained glass, some of which was presented by the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Nottingham contains the usual diversity of institutions and buildings partaking of a public character; but there are not many of them having any architectural pretensions. The Free Grammar School was founded as long back as 1513, and is under the control of the corporation: the building has recently been enlarged, and ornamented with a stone front. The Blue-coat School is partly supported by endowment and partly by subscription: the school-house, a plain building, is somewhat above a century old. General Hospital and Infirmary, the Lunatic Asylum, and numerous other hospitals and almshouses, are among the charitable institutions of the town.


that Nottingham contains a large supply of factories and workshops employed in various departments of the hosiery and bobbin-net trades. Such is indeed the case. Everything throughout the town indicates that the places of handicraft employment are very numerous. Yet, from circumstances already explained in connection with Leicester, large factories are not very numerous : small workshops and large warehouses are the characteristic features: indeed, the poor rooms of poor dwellings are among the most numerous of the workshops. Among the traders and manufacturers of the town are lacemanufacturers,' 'lace-agents,' 'lace-makers,' 'bobbinnet makers,' 'lace-edging manufacturers,' 'lace-merchants,' 'lace cap-makers,' 'lace thread-manufacturers,' --all in connection with the lace and bobbin-net departments; while the hosiery department has its own distinct series of branches; and further, the making of the numerous machines employed gives occupation to frame-smiths,' 'machine needle-makers,' 'bobbin and carriage-makers,' 'frame needle-makers,'' sinkermakers,' and many others. For the furtherance of the artistic features of these manufactures a School of Design was opened at Nottingham, in 1843; and this has been, from its commencement, one of the most successful among such local schools. The lacedesigners (an important occupation to the artistic reputation of the town) are required to be both fertile and tasteful in the invention of new patterns or designs; and it is understood that such persons have availed themselves very extensively of the facilities offered by this School of Design. The buildings for the School have recently been enlarged; and the attendance of pupils is considerable.


The Exchange, which occupies the eastern angle of the market-place, is a brick building of the last century, stuccoed and modernized in the present; the upper stories contain offices for the transaction of public business; the lower story is occupied by shops; the Police-office occupies the northern wing; and behind the whole are the shambles. The County-hall and jail, erected about eighty years ago, occupy an elevated position near the castle. The Town-hall is a very plain and uninteresting building. The House of Correction occupies the site of an ancient convent of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. A new Post-office has recently been built near St. Peter's Church. On the outskirts of the town are the Yeomanry Riding-house, near the castle; the Cavalry Barracks, an extensive range of building at the upper extremity of the Castle Park; a racecourse, at the north-east margin of the town, considered to be one of the largest and finest in the kingdom; and a Cemetery, situated on what is termed the Forest,' in the Derby Road, and occupying about twelve acres, laid out in the customary way.


If we ask whether there are any open spots, any pleasant green fields, and play-grounds, and healthy walks, near Nottingham, the answer is one that pleases and vexes at a breath. There are such spots-more than generally fall to the lot of such a town; but this very boon has caused the townsmen to be cooped up in most unpleasant fashion: they are bees in a hive, in more ways than one. Nottingham can't grow, like other towns. When it is packed too full, it sends out a colony, which locates in the neighbouring parishes of Radford, Steinton, or Lenton; but these outlying portions are more distinctly separated from the town itself than is customary in other parts of England. The truth is, that Nottingham is nearly surrounded by open ground, over which the townsmen have the right of common; and the obstacles to building on any portion of this ground have been such, that the owners of land within Nottingham have built and built, until the streets and courts have attained a density quite terrible in the eyes of a sanitarian; and when the population increased to such a number as to make even this closeness of packing insufficient, then arose a necessity for

The Trent being a tolerably wide river by the time it reaches Nottingham, the bridge is one of rather unusual length, and of considerable antiquity, exhibiting great architectural variety. It has nineteen arches, and is connected at the end with a causeway over the meadows, and an embankment to protect the lower part of the town in the time of flood. The railways cross the Trent by bridges; and there is a noble roadbridge over the railway and some of the low meadowground. The reader will expect, from the hints before given, building beyond the common lands. Nottingham thus



presents us with a nucleus, containing perhaps 60,000 | open ground, is occupied by houses which are an ornainhabitants, living closer together than in almost any other town in England; then a belt of green fields, pleasant to look at, and still pleasanter to ramble about in; and an exterior belt of colonies, looking up to and sustained by Nottingham, and containing from 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants.

ment rather than a disparagement. Then, directing our attention towards the north, we see the Sand Field,—an open common of about 200 acres, which is commonable' to the townsmen, from Old Lammas day to Old Martinmas day; and which forms a green margin to the north-west part of the town. Still further in this direction, at a distance of about a mile from the market-place, is Nottingham Forest,—an open common, owned by the corporation, as lords of the manor, and available through the whole year, and to all classes, as a cricket-ground, a race-ground, and a military exercise-ground. Situated somewhat further in this same direction, or rather more northward of the town, is Mapperley Plain,—an open common, held by the same tenure as Nottingham Forest: the two comprising together nearly 200 acres. Between Mapperley Plain and the town is a very large open spot, called the Clay Field, containing more than 400 acres: this is commonable' on the same conditions, and for the same portion of the year (three autumnal months) as the Sand Field. The margin of this clay field brings us round to the estate of Earl Manvers, which bounds the town on the east, and which-unlike the Newcastle estate--is nearly all occupied by houses built as closely together as within the town itself. Next, bounding the town on the south-east, lies the East Croft, belonging to the corporation : it contains about 50 acres, and is open to the freemen, as meadow-land, during a portion of the year, on certain prescribed conditions. Adjoining this, on the west, lying south of the greater portion of the town, and crossed by the Midland Railway, are the Meadows,-a plot of about 250 acres, almost wholly unbuilt upon, and 'commonable' to the townsmen about five months in the year.

We thus find that Nottingham is rather singularly belted by above 1,200 acres of open ground, which affords a certain amount of commonable right to the townsmen, and a still larger amount of that personal, pedestrian, health-giving exercise, which results from field-rambles. Under recent Enclosure Acts, however, some of this open ground will shortly be built upon.

The northern road from Nottingham, passing by the racecourse, is dotted by the private residences of some of the wealthier inhabitants, and leads onward to Newstead Abbey: this abbey and park, situated about ten or twelve miles from Nottingham, is, as all the world knows, associated with the name of Lord Byron, and might be made the text for a string of descriptions and reflections, which would make us forget the immediate object of the present paper. Still more tempting, and still more worthy of a separate sheet for its consideration, is Sherwood Forest, the home of the redoubtable Robin Hood of past days: this lies a few miles beyond Newstead, eastward of Mansfield; which old town is itself the scene of more than one adventure in our early writers. The north-eastern road from Nottingham leads us to Southwell, whose Minster is such a glorious monument of pointed architecture; and to Newark-upon-Trent, whose corn trade is one of the

In most of the busy towns of England, the streets radiate, by degrees, farther and farther from the central nucleus as the population increases; but from the peculiar circumstances above alluded to, Nottingham has become a densely-packed mass of houses, which has been made to do double duty before the outlying suburbs were resorted to. It was found that, about four or five years ago, there were 8,000 houses in Nottingham, at less than £10 a piece yearly rental: an indication of the closeness with which the working population are congregated. It is difficult to imagine such a finely-strung mind as that of Kirke White being cooped up in such a place but so it was. He was a native of Nottingham; and, moreover, he plied wearily, for a time, at that occupation which has for so many generations formed the staple of Nottingham industry. Southey tells us that Kirke White was the son of a butcher, at Nottingham; that Henry, at his father's wish, but against the desire of his mother (who had early detected the delicate and poetical element in his mind), was employed between schoolhours in carrying out the butcher's basket; and that, at a later age, he tried his hand as a framework knitter: it was now determined to breed him up to the hosiery trade, the staple manufacture of his native place; and at the age of fourteen he was placed at a stocking-loom, with the view, at some future period, of getting a situation in a hosier's warehouse. During the time that he was thus employed, he might be said to be truly unhappy; he went to his work with evident reluctance, and could not refrain from sometimes hinting his extreme aversion to it; but the circumstances of his family obliged them to turn a deaf ear. His mother, however, secretly felt that he was worthy of better things: to her he spoke more openly; he could not bear, he said, "the thought of spending seven years of his life in making and folding up stockings." It was at this period that he wrote his 'Address to Contemplation,' which sufficiently indicates the state of his mind. But to return to our subject.

Every picture has its bright side. It is not pleasant to read of, and still less pleasant to see, a mass of dusky brick buildings wedged together so closely that the clear sunshine and the fresh air can hardly reach them; but it is pleasant to know that there is green grass around Nottingham, close to the verge of the town. When we leave the town on the west, we come at once on the estate of the Duke of Newcastle, which forms an extra-parochial park, called Nottingham Park. This is let out on building leases, in small patches here and there, solely for the private residences of gentlemen, professional men, and the higher class of manufacturers; so that that which is not actual healthy

[ocr errors]

largest in England, and whose fifty inns gave indication, in stage-coach days, of the advantages derived from lying on the great north road from London. Eastward, lies the road to Grantham,-not distinguished by any particular features; but on bending round more to the south-east and south, the Vale of Belvoir, and the diversified country around it, give to the southern margin of Nottinghamshire many scenes of great beauty. South-westward, we come to the Trent, which winds its way from Derbyshire into this county; and a network of railways. Lastly, coming to the westward of Nottingham, we end our circuit at Wollaton House.

In this circuit of towns and villages, as may be expected, we meet with the clack of the stocking-loom on all sides. Nottingham is the metropolis-the grand place for a multitude of humble localities. Radford parish, with its 12,000 inhabitants, forms a busy lacemaking and stocking-making satellite to Nottingham, at little north-westward of the town. Its next neighbour, Barford parish, with its 8,000 or 9,000 inhabitants, presents us, in like manner, with lace and hosiery in abundance; and the whole district around Nottingham, to some distance on the north and north-east, is similarly occupied. Sneinton, Bridgeford, Wilford, Beeston, and Lenton, lying more to the south of the town, may almost be regarded as suburbs to Nottingham, both in a manufacturing and topographical point of view.

Wollaton House, named above, lies about a couple of miles from Nottingham. We must detain the reader here for a while. Wollaton is one of the most beautiful mansions of England in the Olden Time.' It is impossible to approach it on either side without being struck with the majesty of its proportions and the richness of its details. The perfect state in which it is kept up, too, speaks of a long line of owners who ho knew how to value such a possession. On approaching it from Nottingham, the well-kept park, and the

"tall ancestral trees,"

speak of some noble mansion embosomed within; and when, after traversing a considerable length of winding gravel path, we arrive in front of the building, the beauty of the exterior is at once revealed to the view. It is the main front of the building which is lithographed in the third series of Nash's 'Mansions of England;' and the artist has cleverly contrived to carry us back in imagination to the times when such buildings were the customary residences of the old English nobility: the garden, terrace, and steps are enlivened with personages dressed in costume which dates a century and a half ago; while in another plate, representing the interior of the Great Hall, the preparations for an oldfashioned English dinner in an old-fashioned English mansion are well depicted.

There is a difference of opinion concerning the architect of Wollaton. One authority states that Sir Francis Willoughby built the house according to a plan of his own, and that the works were superintended by John Thorpe, a very eminent architect of the sixteenth century; while another account gives the honour to

Robert Smithson, supposed to have been one of Thorpe's pupils. The date of erection is known to have been somewhere about 1580, and the mansion is as truly an Elizabethan one, in its style, as any in England. The building forms a square mass, with a square tower at each corner rising far above the general roof of the building; but the most distinguishing feature is a large and central tower, rising still higher than those at the corners, and turretted at the angles. Every front of the main building, and every side of every tower, is richly decorated, so as to present a very superb whole.

The prominent feature of the interior is also that of the exterior, viz., the central tower; for this contains the Great Hall. "The building" says Mr. Nash, "forms a square, in the centre of which is the hall, occupying the whole ground-space of the central tower-a very remarkable feature of the edifice, and to which all the rest of the building is subordinate. In this, as in almost all other of the Elizabethan mansions, the masonry and workmanship are so excellent, that they have more freshness and execution in their details, as well as solidity in their construction, than many. buildings of recent date." On entering the hall, the interior will "strike every observer by its stupendous height and singular proportion, the screen itself being loftier than many of the halls of that period. Its dimensions may be described as those of a double cube, being as high again as its length. Notiwthstanding its immense height, this apartment is pefrectly comfortable, and is used at the present day. The roof is very bold in construction, and has a very elegant effect; and the screen is of stone, richly decorated in the Italian style."

The reader may imagine how far this noble hall eclipses most of those which are met with in our old mansions, when he is told that the height is no less than seventy feet. Sir Jeffrey Wyattville was employed some years ago in restoring and re-adorning the hall, maintaining intact all the characteristic features of the place. At one end of the hall is a musicgallery, containing an organ; and the walls are decked with family pictures, elks' horns, &c. The other apartments of the mansion, comprising the entrancehall, the saloon, the grand staircase, the dining-room, the drawing-room, the billiard-room, the library, &c., are worthy of an old English manor-house, but do not call for especial remark: the exterior of the building and the hall are the noticeable features; and there is certainly nothing else in Nottinghamshire to equal them, in their own particular way.


The reader must accept the rapid survey which we gave of the Leicester hosiery-system, as a representative of that of Nottingham also. The one county its attention mainly to worsted hosiery; the other to cotton: but the stocking-frame is almost identical for both; and the industrial arrangements are also similar

« PředchozíPokračovat »