Historical themes

The core themes of our work are drawn from the earlier (2013-2014) Nottingham Green Spaces project. Our research explores the social history of parks and green spaces established by Nottingham’s 1845 Enclosure Act. Those green spaces are The Forest, The Arboretum, Church/Rock Cemetery, Victoria Park, Queen’s Walk recreation ground, Elm Avenue, Corporation Oaks, Robin Hood Chase and Queen’s Walk. The themes that we researched and which this dissemination project will explore were:

  • Controversy: disagreements about enclosure, private versus restricted access spaces, management of the race course, crime, policing and anti-social behaviour, gambling and alcohol consumption, 20th century development of leisure facilities and transportation
  • Heath, hygiene and education: green lungs as a counter to industrial pollution, cemeteries, influence of ‘rational recreation’, ‘respectable’ exercise and growth of participatory sport, current demand for sporting facilities, and the ‘open air’ movement.
  • Planting: the ‘picturesque’, importation of exotic trees and plants, the role of commercial nurserymen, the influence of the Sherwood Forest group of writers.
  • Mass entertainment and celebration: horse racing, the development of sporting facilities, religious gatherings, band concerts, jubilees and coronations, carnivals, Goose Fair.
  • Green spaces in war time: venues for defence and recruitment, vegetable growing, communal commemoration.