Hucknall, formerly known as Hucknall Torkard, is a town in Greater Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, in the district of Ashfield. The town was historically a centre for framework knitting and then for mining, but is now a focus for other industries as well as providing housing for workers in Nottingham. The town is notable as the site where Rolls-Royce made the first demonstration of vertical take-off (for a plane). It is also the final resting place of Lord Byron and his estranged daughter, the mathematician Ada Lovelace.
Hucknall was once a thriving market town. Its focal point is the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene, next to the town's market square. The church was built by the Anglo-Saxons and completed after the Norman Conquest, though much of it has been restored during the Victorian era. The medieval church consisted only of a chancel, nave, north aisle and tower but it was considerably enlarged in the Victorian period. In 1872 the south aisle was added and in 1887 the unusually long transepts, while the rest of the building apart from the tower was thoroughly restored. The top stage of the tower is 14th century as is the south porch. There are 25 fine stained-glass windows by Charles Eamer Kempe which were added mostly in the 1880s. There is a modest memorial to Lord Byron.
From 1295 until 1915, the town was known as Hucknall Torkard, taken from Torcard, the name of a dominant landowning family. Signs of the old name can still be seen on some of the older buildings.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, coal was discovered and mined heavily throughout the Leen Valley, which includes Hucknall. This brought increased wealth to the town along with the construction of three railway lines.
The first was the Midland Railway (later part of the LMS) line from Nottingham to Mansfield and Worksop, closed to passengers on 12 October 1964 though partly retained as a freight route serving collieries at Hucknall, Linby and Annesley. The Hucknall station on this line was known as "Hucknall Byron" in its latter years. In the 1990s this line was reopened to passengers in stages as the Robin Hood Line, the section through Hucknall in 1993 with a new station on the site of the old "Byron", though simply called "Hucknall".
The second line was the Great Northern Railway (later part of the LNER) route up the Leen Valley and on up to Shirebrook, serving many of the same places as the Midland south of Annesley. It closed to passengers on 14 September 1931 but remained in use for freight until 25 March 1968. The Hucknall station on this line was known as "Hucknall Town".
The third line was the Great Central Railway (also later part of the LNER), the last main line ever built from the north of England to London, opened on 15 March 1899. The stretch through Hucknall closed completely on 5 September 1966, but the Hucknall station here (known as Hucknall Central), had closed earlier, on 4 March 1963.
In 1956 the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Hucknall was built to serve the area of west Hucknall.