The Park Estate
I could have included this under the parks section, but it's not that sort of park. The Park Estate is a very unique area of land not only within the City of Nottingham, but also the country as a whole. It covers a hillside of considerable area, very roughly bounded by Harlaxton Drive, Derby Road, The Ropewalk and Castle Boulevard with some exclusions on the periphery.
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066 and the subsequent establishment of the Royal Castle on the castle rock, The Park was a wooded area set aside as Royal hunting ground stocked with deer and other game. It also had fishponds where fish were bred for the table. It remained that way up until the end of the English Civil War, when Charles I was defeated by Parliament and the old medieval castle was destroyed by Colonel Hutchinson. Soon after, in 1662 the ruined castle and its park was purchased by William Cavendish the 1st Duke of Newcastle who then built his Ducal Palace where the castle once stood. In 1834, just three years after The Luddites burned this palace down, the first houses started to appear along the northern and eastern rim (Park Terrace & The Ropewalk) and in 1851 the 5th Duke appointed renowned Nottingham architect Thomas Chambers Hine to oversee the parks development. As well as designing residences himself, Hine also had to vet and approve all designs submitted by other architects, one of whom was his business rival and equally talented and popular architect Watson Fothergill.
In the following years, Hine transformed the royal hunting park into a magnificent residential estate for the rich who had amassed great wealth in the years following the industrial revolution, many on the backs of their workers who themselves languished in row upon row of squalid back to back slums in areas such as St. Ann's, Snienton and Radford. In 1938 the 8th Duke sold The Park to Oxford University and it's affairs were administered by The Oxford Committee and then finally, in 1986 The Park Estate Limited was formed to run the estate via a Board of Directors elected by the residents. All the roads, lighting, trees and grassed or gardened areas are managed and maintained by the company who make a charge on residents to cover the costs. As a result, The Park remains a private estate and it's access roads are gated to signify this. I believe that these are still actually closed and locked on certain days of the year to ensure ongoing privacy and to prevent a public right of way being established.
The Park is not only unique but also a very beautiful place. It is still lit by gas lanterns and still has many magnificent trees and grand houses. Whilst many of the houses have now been converted into flats and apartments, The Park still remains an enclave for the better off who can enjoy the tranquillity of a rural setting whilst living just a few hundred yards from the centre of a major city.I will not attempt to show every street on this estate but hope that the images below will convey a real taste of this unique area.
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