Nottingham is known for its links to the legend of Robin Hood and for its lace-making, bicycle and tobacco industries. It was granted its city charter in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
In 2013, Nottingham had an estimated population of 310,837 with the wider urban area, which includes many of the city's suburbs, having a population of 729,977. The population of the Nottingham/Derby metropolitan area is estimated to be 1,543,000.
Nottingham is a popular tourist destination; in 2011, visitors spent over £1.5 billion - the sixth highest amount in England.
Culturally, there are two large-capacity theatres, numerous museums and art galleries, the Broadway Cinema, the Savoy Cinema, Nottingham and several live music venues, including the Nottingham Arena and Rock City, both of which regularly host major UK and international artists. The city also hosts two music festivals annually - Dot to Dot, which takes place in various city centre venues over the course of a weekend every May, and Splendour, in Wollaton Park each July.
Nottingham has an award-winning public transport system, including the largest publicly owned bus network in England and is also served by Nottingham railway station and the modern Nottingham Express Transit tram system, the second line of which is due to open in 2015. East Midlands Airport is south-west of the city.
In Anglo-Saxon times the area was part of the Kingdom of Mercia, and was known in the Brythonic language as Tigguo Cobauc, meaning Place of Caves. In Welsh it is known poetically as Y Ty Ogofog and Irish Gaelic as Na Tithe Uaimh "The Cavey Dwelling". When it fell under the rule of a Saxon chieftain named Snot it became known as "Snotingaham"; the homestead of Snot's people (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead). Some authors derive "Nottingham" from Snottenga, caves, and ham, but "this has nothing to do with the English form".
Nottingham Castle was constructed in the 11th century on a sandstone outcrop by the River Leen. The Anglo-Saxon settlement developed into the English Borough of Nottingham and housed a Town Hall and Law Courts. A settlement also developed around the castle on the hill opposite and was the French borough supporting the Normans in the castle. Eventually, the space between was built on as the town grew and the Old Market Square became the focus of Nottingham several centuries later. On the return of Richard the Lion Heart from the Crusades, the castle stood out in Prince John's favour. It was besieged by Richard and, after a sharp conflict, was captured.
During the Industrial Revolution, much of Nottingham's prosperity was founded on the textile industry; in particular, the city became an internationally important centre of lace manufacture. In 1831 citizens rioted in protest against the Duke of Newcastle's opposition to the Reform Act 1832, setting fire to his residence, Nottingham Castle.
Nottingham was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and at that time consisted of the parishes of St Mary, St Nicholas and St Peter. It was expanded in 1877 by adding the parishes of Basford, Brewhouse Yard, Bulwell, Radford, Sneinton, Standard Hill and parts of the parishes of West Bridgford, Carlton, Wilford (North Wilford). In 1889 Nottingham became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. City status was awarded as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria, being signified in a letter from the Prime Minister the Marquess of Salisbury to the Mayor, dated 18 June 1897. Nottingham was extended in 1933 by adding Bilborough and Wollaton, parts of the parishes of Bestwood Park and Colwick, and a recently developed part of the Beeston Urban District. A further boundary extension was granted in 1951 when Clifton and Wilford (south of the River Trent) were incorporated into the city.
Demographic evolution of Nottingham
Electric trams were introduced to the city in 1901; they served the city for 35 years until the trolleybus network was expanded in 1936. Trams were reintroduced after 68 years when a new network opened in 2004.
In the sporting world, Nottingham is home to the world's oldest professional football club, Notts County, which was formed in 1862. The town's other football club, Nottingham Forest, (under manager Brian Clough) had a period of success between 1977 and 1993; winning the First Division, four League Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two European Cups. During this time Forest signed Trevor Francis, Britain's first £1million footballer, who joined the club in February 1979 from Birmingham City.
The city was the site of race riots in 1958, centred on the St Ann's neighbourhood.
During the second half of the 20th century Nottingham saw urban growth with the development of new public and private housing estates and new urban centres, which have engulfed former rural villages such as Bilborough, Wollaton, Gedling and Bramcote. South of the river there has also been expansion with new areas such as Edwalton and West Bridgford, adding to Nottingham's urban sprawl. Although this growth slowed towards the end of the century, the modern pressures for more affordable and council housing is back on the political agenda and there is now pressure on the Green Belt which surrounds the city.