Lace Market image

Lace Market

Culture, heritage and history doesn't run any deeper in the Heart of the Midlands than Nottingham's Lace Market.

Nottingham's Lace Market - the oldest area of Nottingham

The Lace Market is known to be the oldest area of Nottingham, and has a history stretching from the troglodyte settlers. The town of Nottingham developed around this settlement during Anglo-Saxon times, when it became known as Snotengaham – or the home of the wise man’s people (the Anglo-Saxon word ‘snotor’ means wise), which later became Nottingham. During the eighteenth century the town also developed and it rapidly became a centre for the hosiery industry. The introduction of men’s trousers as the fashion in place of the stocking hose worn with knee breeches spelt the death knell for much of the hosiery trade, and many workers had turned their hands to the making of lace.

Nottingham's Lace Market - centre of the world's lace industry during the British Empire

With the Industrial Revolution the manufacturing side of the lace industry left the Lace Market, the area now developed its commercial side, which gave it its name. It never was a public market place, but a ‘market’ in the sense that it dealt with the wholesaling and promotion of the products of the lace industry. Once the principal engine of Nottingham's growth, the lace market powered a hosiery industry with 25,000 mostly female workers at its peak in the 1890s. Lace declined as technology changed and the working population fell below 5,000 in the 1970s with many of the factories becoming derelict and the area falling into decline.

Cluny Lace is the last of its kind, still making world beautiful lace with its old jacquard machines.


The Lace Market’s heritage attracts visitors

Once the heart of the world's lace industry during the days of the British Empire, it is full of impressive examples of 19th century industrial architecture and thus is a protected heritage area. As a result some streets in the Lace Market are now tourist attractions, such as the National Justice Museum on High Pavement. The Galleries are located in the old law courts and County Gaol (jail) - or County Goal as the stonemason accidentally inscribed it, a blunder still visible today above the entrance which ironically probably got the poor stonemason severely punished. There has been a court on the site since 1375, with the present Georgian building being used since 1780.

The Lace Market’s rebirth as Nottingham's Digital Creative Quarter

Nottingham now has specialisms in ‘digital content, life sciences and clean technology’ - with the digital businesses being centred in and around the Lace Market. Geographically, the Creative Quarter encompasses the south-eastern section of Nottingham city centre (Hockley, the Lace Market, Sneinton Market and the Island site). Hockley and the Lace Market have been hailed as the “most thriving parts of Nottingham” and the cultural and creative renaissance of the area has opened up opportunities to bring in a new breed of shops, cafés and restaurants that have been gaining ground in other major cities. Almost every aspect of culture is represented - character buildings, social and industrial history, the arts, leisure and some incredibly creative retailers. This is why people find it such an attractive place to live, work and enjoy themselves.

The Lace Market and Nottingham's city living

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