1 Introduction and Acknowledgements

In 1845 an Enclosure Act was passed which allowed the overcrowded and unhealthy town of Nottingham to expand into the surrounding fields. Importantly, 130 acres were preserved as public walks and open spaces for the benefit and recreation of the townspeople, and with a few exceptions, continue to fulfil that same purpose today.

South prospect from The Meadows. Engraved for 'The Modern Universal British Traveller' (published c1780). Nottingham City Council and www.picturethepast.co.uk

South prospect from The Meadows. Engraved for ‘The Modern Universal British Traveller’ (published c1780). Nottingham City Council and www.picturethepast.co.uk

Using pictures, film and the written word, this exhibition gives a flavour of how these spaces have been used, developed and adapted to meet the needs of the time. It is a culmination of two projects which explored the green spaces created by the Nottingham 1845 Enclosure Act. Both are collaborations between the Universities of Nottingham and Derby, Nottingham City Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Department and a number of community organisations including friends and local history groups. Working together, the project team researched the creation, development and modern usage of these spaces.

In 2016 we are sharing the fruits of that work with a much wider range of people across Nottingham and the East Midlands more generally, through a series of popular events, some of which are featured in the exhibition.

Much of this research is published here on the project’s website.


None of this would have been possible without the contributions and support of many organisations, groups and individuals:

Angela Foxwood; Arts and Humanities Research Council; Department of History; The University of Nottingham; Dorothy Ritchie; Excavate; Five Leaves bookshop; Framework Housing Association; Friends of the Arboretum; Friends of the Forest; Helena Dunham; Heritage and Digital Research Priority Area, The University of Nottingham; Inspire (Nottinghamshire Archives); June Perry; Kevin Powell; Malcolm Prosser; Mapperley and Sherwood History Group; Margaret Knowles; New Meadows Tenants and Residents Association; Nottingham City Council, Parks and Open Spaces; Nottingham City Council, Local Studies Library; Nottingham Local History Association; Peter Hammond; Picture the Past; Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library; Ruth Shelton; Val Wood; WoLAN.