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Nottinghamshire lies on the Roman Fosse Way, and there are Roman settlements in the county, for example at Mansfield. The county was settled by Angles around the 5th century, and became part of the Kingdom, and later Earldom, of Mercia. However, there is evidence of Saxon settlement at Oxton, near Nottingham, and Tuxford, east of Sherwood Forest. The name first occurs in 1016, but until 1568 the county was administratively united with Derbyshire, under a single Sheriff. In Norman times the county developed malting and woollen industries. During the industrial revolution canals and railways came to the county, and the lace and cotton industries grew. In the 19th century collieries opened and mining became an important economic sector, though these declined after the 1984-5 miners' strike.

Until 1610, Nottinghamshire was divided into eight Wapentakes. Sometime between 1610 and 1719 they were reduced to six – Newark, Bassetlaw, Thurgarton, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe and Bingham, some of these names still being used for the modern districts. Oswaldbeck was absorbed in Bassetlaw, of which it forms the North Clay division, and Lythe in Thurgarton.

Nottinghamshire is famous for its involvement with the legend of Robin Hood. This is also the reason for the amount of tourists who visit places like Sherwood Forest, City of Nottingham and the surrounding villages in Sherwood Forest.

Nottinghamshire was mapped first by Christopher Saxton in 1576, the first fully surveyed map of the county was by John Chapman who produced Chapman's Map of Nottinghamshire in 1774.[1] The map was the earliest printed map at a sufficiently useful scale (1 statute mile to one inch) to provide basic information on village layout and the existence of landscape features such as roads, milestones, tollbars, parkland and mills.

[edit] Physical geography

Nottinghamshire, like Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, sits on extensive coal measures, up to 900 metres (3,000 feet) thick and occurring largely in the north of the county. There is an oilfield near Eakring. These are overlaid by sandstones and limestones in the west and clay in the east[2]. The north of the county is part of the York plain. The centre and south west of the county, around Sherwood Forest, features undulating hills with ancient oak woodland. Principal rivers are the Trent, Idle, Erewash and Soar. The Trent, fed by the Soar and Erewash, and Idle, composed of many streams from Sherwood Forest, run through wide and flat valleys, merging at Misterton. The natural highest point of the county is Strawberry Bank, in Huthwaite.

Nottinghamshire is sheltered by the Pennines to the west, so receives relatively low rainfall at 641-740 mm (25-29 in) annually[3]. The average temperature of the county is 8.8-10.1 degrees Celsius (48-50 degrees Fahrenheit).[4] The county receives between 1321 and 1470 hours of sunshine per year.[5]

[edit] Politics

Nottinghamshire is represented by members of parliament, of which nine are members of the Labour Party, and two are Conservatives. Geoff Hoon, representative for Ashfield, is a front-bench member of the government. Kenneth Clarke of Rushcliffe is a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The County Council is Labour controlled. There are 67 councillors, of which 36 are Labour, 26 are Conservatives and five are Liberal Democrats.[6]

[edit] Economy and industry

In 1998 Nottinghamshire had a GDP per-capita of £12,000, and a total GDP of £12,023 million. This is compared to a per-capita GDP of £11,848 for the East Midlands, £12,845 for England and £12,548 for the United Kingdom. Nottingham has a GDP per-capita of £17,373, North Nottinghamshire £10,176, and South Nottinghamshire £8,448[7]. In October 2005 the United Kingdom had 4.7% unemployment, the East Midlands 4.4%, and Nottingham travel-to-work area 2.4%[8].

Along the Trent on the county's eastern edge, close to the former coalfields, are two large power stations of Cottam and West Burton. High Marnham is now closed. South of Nottingham, again near the Trent, is the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station and near Newark there are plans for a gas-turbine power station at Staythorpe, next to the Trent, on the site of the former Staythorpe A & B coal-fired power stations. There are two current coal mines at Thoresby between Edwinstowe and Ollerton, and Welbeck at Meden Vale near Market Warsop. The pit at Harworth, in the far north of the county, faced closure in 2006, but was mothballed instead. Many pits in the Worksop and central-Nottinghamshire area were closed in the 1990s.

[edit] Education

The county has comprehensive secondary education with 47 state secondary schools and 7 independent schools, including Worksop College, and the City of Nottingham LEA has 18 state schools and 6 independent schools, not including sixth form colleges.

9700 pupils took GCSEs in Nottinghamshire LEA in 2007. The best results were from the West Bridgford School, closely followed by Rushcliffe Comprehensive School and the Minster School in Southwell. All schools in the Rushcliffe district perform very well, except for the one in Radcliffe on Trent. The lowest performing was the Queen Elizabeth's Endowed School in Mansfield. In the city, the best results came from the Trinity Catholic School and the Fernwood School in Wollaton.

At A level, the best was The Becket School followed by the West Bridgford School with outstanding results. These are higher than the main independent school in the county, Worksop College. In the city, Bilborough College does the best, although not as good as the two West Bridgford schools. The Nottingham Bluecoat School (not far from the Trinity School) does reasonably well, however the best results of all come from the all-male Nottingham High School closely followed by the all-female Nottingham High School for Girls, both independent schools with the best results of all schools in the East Midlands.

[edit] GCSE results by district council

% of pupils gaining 5 grades A-C including English and Maths in 2007 (46.8% is the England average, compared to Notttinghamshire's 41.7%). Note how similar the order is to average house prices in the districts.

  • Rushcliffe 61.9
  • Gedling 46.2
  • Broxtowe 41.3
  • Ashfield 38.3
  • Newark and Sherwood 38.2
  • Mansfield 35.1
  • Bassetlaw 34.8
  • (City of Nottingham Unitary Authority 33.1)

[edit] Higher education

Nottingham Trent University (formerly Trent Polytechnic) is one of the most successful post-1992 universities in the UK. The University of Nottingham (situated between the QMC and Beeston) is a Russell Group university and very well-renowned, offering one of the broadest selection of courses in the UK. It has close links with the Boots company. Both universities combine to make Nottingham one of the biggest student cities. NTU also has an agricultural college near Southwell and the University has one at Sutton Bonington.

National and County cricket player Harold Larwood.
National and County cricket player Harold Larwood.

[edit] Culture

Nottinghamshire contains the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron, Newstead Abbey, which he sold in 1818. It is now owned by Nottingham City Council and open to the public. The author D. H. Lawrence was from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire. The north of the county is also noteworthy because of its connections with the Pilgrim Fathers. William Brewster, for example, came from the village of Scrooby and was influenced by Richard Clyfton who preached at Babworth church.

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club is a first class cricket club who play at Trent Bridge in West Bridgford. They won the County Championship in 2005. Nottingham Forest are a Championship football club following promotion in 2008, Notts County are in League Two and Mansfield Town are a Conference National team having been relegated from the Football League, also in 2008. Other notable teams are Nottingham Rugby Football club and Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Club.

Nottinghamshire has international twinning arrangements with the province of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) in western Poland, and with its capital city, Poznan.[9]

[edit] Settlements and communications

The council house and a tram in Nottingham market square.
The council house and a tram in Nottingham market square.
See also: list of places in Nottinghamshire.

The traditional county town, and the largest settlement in the historic and ceremonial county boundaries, is Nottingham. The City is now administratively independent, but suburbs including Arnold, Carlton, West Bridgford, Beeston and Stapleford are still within the administrative county and West Bridgford is now home of the county council.

There are several market towns in the county. Newark-on-Trent is a bridging point of the Fosse Way and River Trent, but is actually an Anglo-Saxon market town with a now ruined Castle. Mansfield sits on the site of a Roman settlement, but grew after the Norman Conquest. Worksop, in the north of the county, is also an Anglo-Saxon market town which grew rapidly in the industrial revolution with the arrival of canals and railways and the discovery of coal. Newark, Mansfield and Worksop have suffered from the decline of mining since the 1984-5 miners' strike. Other market towns include Arnold, Bingham, Hucknall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and Retford.

The main railway in the county is the Midland Main Line which links London St Pancras Station to Sheffield via Nottingham. The Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop serves several villages in the county. The East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross to Doncaster, Leeds, York, Hull Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Scotland serves the eastern Nottinghamshire towns of Newark and Retford. The M1 motorway runs north–south through the county, connecting Nottingham to London, Leeds and many other towns and major roads.

The A1 road follows for the most part the path of the Great North Road, although in places it diverges from the historic route where towns have been bypassed. Retford was by-passed in 1961 and Newark-on-Trent was by-passed in 1964, and the A1 now runs between Retford and Worksop past the village of Ranby. Many historic coaching inns can still be seen along the traditional route.

The East Midlands Airport is just outside the county in Leicestershire, while the Robin Hood Airport lies within the historic boundaries of Nottinghamshire but is just inside South Yorkshire. These airports serve the county and several of its neighbours. Together the airports have services to most major European destinations, and the East Midlands Airport now also has services to North America and Caribbean countries. As well as local bus services throughout the county, Nottingham and its suburbs have a tram system, Nottingham Express Transit.

[edit] Places of interest

[edit] References

  1. , Chapman's Map of Nottinghamshire 1774. Nottinghamshire County Council ISBN 0-902751-46-8.
  2. , Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911. "Nottinghamshire, Geology". Accessed 2005-12-11.
  3. , Met Office, 2000. Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom.
  4. , Met Office, 2000. Annual average temperature for the United Kingdom.
  5. , Met Office, 2000. Annual average sunshine for the United Kingdom.
  6. , Nottinghamshire County Council, 2005. Local government is devolved to seven local borough and district councils, Bassetlaw Gedling Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe are Conservative controlled while Mansfield is controlled by the local Independent forum. Ashfield and Broxtowe have no overall control but are both lead by the Liberal Democrat groups Since the council was last elected in 2003 there have been two By-Elections in Hucknall (Conservative Win) and Sutton North (Liberal Democrat gain from Labour) Local government is devolved to seven local borough and district councils, Bassetlaw Gedling Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe are Conservative controlled while Mansfield is controlled by the local Independent forum. Ashfield and Broxtowe have no overall control but are both lead by the Liberal Democrat groups. Election Results.
  7. , Office for National Statistics, 2001. Regional Trends 26 ch:14.7 (PDF). Accessed 2005-12-24.
  8. , East Midlands Observatory, 2005. Labour Market Statistics for October 2005. Accessed 2005-12-24.
  9. , Nottinghamshire County Council. Transnational partnerships.

[edit] External links

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Coordinates: 53° N 1° W



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