The first permanent settlement on the site of the present city of Nottingham was probably a small fortified enclosure built in the seventh or eighth century by Anglo-Saxon invaders, on St Mary's hill, to the east of the area now occupied by St Mary's Church. The strategic importance of the site, commanding crossing points on both the rivers Leen and Trent, was not lost on Danish warlords in the ninth century, nor on Edward the Elder, who recaptured the town from the Danes, greatly strengthened and enlarged its defences, and built the first Trent bridge in A.D. 920. Long before 1066 Nottingham had already become the administrative centre for a county, ruled by a sheriff, and an important market centre for a wide area. William the Conqueror ordered the building of castle at Nottingham and a new `French' borough quickly grew up under the castle walls, to the west of the existing `English' borough, plus a large new market. The castle was a favourite of medieval kings, the town was walled, and its wealth in the fifteenth century is indicated today by the magnificent perpendicular parish church of St Mary. During the civil war the castle became a parliamentary garrison but it was demolished in the 1650s. A palace replaced the castle and from the late seventeenth century Nottingham also began to expand as a major manufacturing centre, famous for the production of hosiery and then lace, and from the late nineteenth century for bicycles, pharmaceuticals and cigarettes. But economic growth also brought gross overcrowding, terrible poverty, riots and `Radical Nottingham'.
This fully illustrated account traces the main themes of the town's history from the seventh century to 2010, and brings to life the community in times past. It will be enjoyed by all who are keen to find out more about the place in which they live.