Visit Nottingham (And Sherwood Forest) by Mouse
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Nottingham in the East Midlands is 120 miles north of London, 50 miles north of Birmingham, and, as most people know, quite close to Sherwood Forest, old Robin Hood's hang-out, now a theme park, where we stopped next (see photos). The heart of the city is The Old Market Square, a large and pleasant open park-like area with long walkways and flower beds, from which shopping streets radiate. At the top of this square is a large building, the Council House, the town hall, which has a very large, 200 foot high dome. The building looks a little out of place in this city, a little more appropriate for a whole shire, perhaps, than for a city. But we are not complaining. It is a grand building in an appropriate setting.
Perhaps a half-mile from this square is Nottingham Castle, high on a hill overlooking the town. The original castle was built by William the Conquerer, but that is long gone except for the entrance gate. King Charles I took a stand there, raising his standard on the hill, before he was defeated and then killed by Parliament forces in the civil war. The current structure, a ducal mansion, dates from the early 1800's. There is a modest admission of 3 Pounds 50 to tour the castle, the caves in the cliffs under it, and the nearby  Nottingham Life Museum in the Brewhouse Yard. We did not tour the castle but did go to the Museum of Nottingham Life. (see letter). Just outside the entrance gate is a famous statue of Robin Hood, legs spread, pulling back his long-bow. You can see a photo of the statue and of some of the artifacts in the museum on the photos page.
Also nearby is The Trip to Jerusalem Inn, claiming to date from 1189 AD and to be the oldest Pub in England. But the author of the article in the Brewhouse Yard link writes that it may date from the middle of the 18th century, not earlier. Its foundation might have been laid on the date claimed. (See next to last paragraph on page 1 of the article.)
 
Behind the museum and the other buildings in Brewhouse Yard is the cliff on top of which the Castle lies, and in which there are caves.  These are described in the Wikipedia article in the Nottingham link above.  They are ancient man-made caves used as sheltered dwellings by people who could not afford other kinds of housing.  During WWII they were used as bomb shelters.  Today they house a rifle range, and are a protected tourist attraction.  However they still draw homeless people in mid-winter who use them to get out of the cold, to the dismay of city administrators.
Close by is a district called The Lace Market area. Nottingham used to be a center of lace making and this area is heir to that prosperous time in Nottingham. This district has many 18th century former lace factories and warehouses now converted into apartments.
 
Incidently, the city's name is derived from an early Saxon chiefton, named Snot, yes, Snot, who ruled the area.  This area became became known as Snottingham until the "S" was dropped.  Probably a wise move.
We first learned about ShopMobility, the service that offers free use of motorized scooters, in Nottingham (See letter). Also see Adelle on her first Shopmobility scooter on Sherwood Forest photo page).
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