1. It takes its drinking seriously.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, one of Nottingham’s finest drinking establishments, is said to date from 1189, the year Richard the Lionheart ascended the throne. Legend has it that the pub is so named because Richard’s followers had a quick drink at the inn when he announced his intention to lead a crusade against the Saracens.
2. It basically invented swearing.
D.H. Lawrence, Britain’s favourite potty mouth, went to school on Waverley Mount above the Forest Recreation Park. And as James Walker explained on Radio 3, “[Lady Chatterley’s Lover] paved the way for greater freedom of expression for us all”. A Nottingham man made it possible for everyone to swear more freely.” Thank you, Nottingham.
6. It’s bigger and better than the rest of the country.
At 22,000 m², Nottingham’s Old Market Square is the UK’s biggest. Plus, Nottingham’s Philip James Bailey also wrote what is rumoured to be the longest poem in the English language, “Festus”. Like its market squares and poetry, Nottingham is simply bigger, and better, than the rest of the UK.
7. Its people are very passionate about cheese.
In the 1760s, locals rioted over overpriced cheese by pushing rolls of it down the hills leading out of the market place. The mayor is even said to have been knocked off his feet by one roll in the mud of Wheeler Gate.
9. It pretty much invented the Land of the Free.
A group of religious Separatists in Nottingham, who eventually set said for America in the Mayflower, came up with the idea of the USA. The Pilgrim Fathers bequeathed the modern US with the “Mayflower Compact”, which President John Quincy Adams claimed was the foundation stone of the 1787 US Constitution — perhaps the most influential document ever enacted in the name of “the people”. Nottingham, the City of the Free, invented the Land of the Free.
10. It gave us Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
She was a humble insurance clerk and he was a common-or-garden copper. Together, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ice-danced their way into record books when they received 12 perfect 6.0 scores for their “Bolero” routine at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984.
12. The Salvation Army was founded there.
Nottingham has been home to many religious radicals, including William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Booth was a notable equal-opportunities employer, having famously exclaimed, “My best men are women!” One survey estimated that on any weeknight, the Salvation Army attracted 17,000 worshippers while the Church of England only got 11,000.
13. It doesn’t conform to sporting norms.
In May 1930, the Notts cricket team wore lounge suits to their final match against Hampshire. Because the previous day’s play had ended with the Southern side requiring just a single run for victory, the Notts captain didn’t think it was worth his men’s trouble putting on their whites the following morning. Opening bowler Bill Voce even wore an overcoat. His second ball yielded the necessary runs.
14. It’s great at catchphrases.
Nottingham gave the nation some of its best lines in the ’80s. Firstly, Leslie Crowther invited audience members onto the stage with the words, “Come on down!” in ITV’s “The Price Is Right?” Su “Hi-de-hi!” Pollard – is also from Nottingham. And so is Roy Skelton, who voiced both Zippy and George in the children’s show “Rainbow”.
16. Brian Clough. Enough said.
As manager of Nottingham Forest, Ol’ Big ’Ead won the league in 1978, and then brought the European Cup to the City Ground in 1978 and 1980. He once described his leadership style by saying, “We talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide I was right”. Inspirational.
17. Actually, it just wins at football.
Not far from the City Ground, a second football stadium, Meadow Lane, hosts the oldest professional team in the country, Notts County. But Nottingham also has a third team: AC Milan, created by homesick Nottingham lacemaker Herbert Kilpin in Italy in 1899. So, between them, Nottingham clubs have won the European Cup/Champions League nine times.