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Nottingham's Architecture

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

The City of Nottingham is famous for Robin Hood, Des Walker and for having the only Hooters left in the UK. We also had a moment of fame when Clarks Shoes chose Nottingham to replicate New York in a tv ad campaign. You see, we've got some seriously gorgeous gothic architecture... including our very own flatiron building! And that's where I headed to on my photography tour of Nottingham Architecture.

Unlike New York, we don't have skyscrapers or any especially tall buildings. But because our great architects - Fothergill, Chambers, Hines, Waterhouse etc - worked in the Victorian era, I need to take several lenses with me to capture the intricate details of the ornate finishings. I therefore make sure my larger camera bag is fully stocked with 3 lens, 1 tripod, 1 flexipod, a spare battery and a Mars Bar Duo! I'm not the healthiest of photographers and Nottingham is built on a hill, so I'm glad that the bag has rucksack straps that I can comfortably carry my day trip kit on my back.

I started at the flatiron building - locally known as the Prudential Building (or The Alchemist Cocktail Bar) - built by Alfred Waterhouse in 1890 for the Prudential Insurance Company. As you know already, I'm a fan of Canon cameras and shot this photo using the EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera . This is a powerful camera despite its size, capable of capturing high quality images and 4K videos. The camera has an APS-C sensor that captures photos up to 24.1 megapixels and paired with a decent wide-angle lens, autofocus and optical image stabilisation, it's the perfect camera to take out and about yet still get great shots.

Black and white of a early 20th century building designed by
Former Coop Department Store

Built in 1916, the Coop Building (formally known as the Cooperative Society's Department Store) on Upper Parliament Street remains in the hearts of many Nottingham residents who would visit its famous Santa's Grotto . Unfortunately, the Coop closed in 2002.

Stylised black and white image of an old alley
Old Alley leading to Market Square

It's regrettable that many of Nottingham's most memorable places were 'culled' in the latter part of the 20th century. Drury Walk was the steep thoroughfare leading visitors from the train station up to main city centre. We might have had an historic attraction, similar to Lincoln's Steep Hill. Instead, we have Broadmarsh Shopping Centre...on the plus side, there are still gems to be found. With rickety old alleyways throughout Hockley and the Lace Market, as well as this secret path leading from Parliament Street to the Market Square.

The iconic domed building overlooking Nottingham's Market Square
Nottingham Council House and Market Square

At the heart of Nottingham city lies the 'Old Market Square'. It has long been the centre of Nottingham life and the main start / end point for some of its most notable events; including celebratory tours by Torvill & Dean or cup-winning Nottingham Forest as well as infamous occasions such as the Luddite civil protest. When the Old Exchange building was demolished, the city needed a new focal point to the square. Nottingham's architect Thomas Cecil Howitt decided upon a neo-classical design and the final stone of the iconic Nottingham Council House was laid in 1929. It continues to host markets and public events, with local folk using the 'left lion' as the meeting point for many adventures.

Nottingham is famous for many reasons, one of them being the rise of the world-famous "Boots the Chemist". This glorious building, designed by Albert Nelson Bromley was built in 1904 and became Jesse Boot's flagship store. I love the clock face and surrounding figures...is it Artemis, do you think?

Heading up to High Pavement, this next photo is the National Justice Museum, part of Shire Hall. The Hall designed by architect James Gandon was constructed in 1769. It was built upon the cliff foundations of Nottingham's courtrooms, dating back to the 14th century. Additional wings of the building were added to house a new Victorian courtroom and County Gaol (designed by Richard Charles Sutton in 1859) and a Police station added in 1905.

Tartan clad visitor to the National Justice Museum
Shire Hall - historic gaol, courtroom and police station

Interestingly, after a fire broke out in 1876 - destroying the newly-constructed section designed by William Bliss Sanders - Nottingham's famous architect Thomas Chambers Hines was responsible for the visually stunning frontage echoing his graceful, magestic style.

Cranes in the distance of the Creative Quarter
Regeneration in Nottingham City

There's lots of regeneration happening in the City, so we're surround by construction, As well as restoring Regency and Victorian buildings across Nottingham's Creative Quarter, new buildings are being built to replace some of the monstrosities erected in the 1960's and 70's (Broadmarsh once again!)

Regeneration of Nottingham's Southside
Nottingham College Skills Hub

During a brief moment of sunshine, I grabbed my camera with the EF-M 55-200mm lens in place, very pleased to see the highlights and dramatic contrasts of the new Nottingham College's Skills Hubs, designed by CPMG Architects and developed by Wates Construction.

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