Sunday, 13 November 2011


Today (Sunday) we decided it was time to head to Nottingham of Robin Hood fame.  It's only about 30 minutes away yet we had not been since a quick drive around during our pre-assignment visit.  On tap for the day were a jail/courthouse museum, England's oldest pub, and a "castle".

The driving was easy as it was closer than I thought.  Parking was another matter.  Actually this is fairly typical.  I may have been able to find something on the street but I decided to play it safe and find a garage since we might be there all day.  The garages and parking spaces are tight.  Very tight.  It pays to back in.  In this case, I had everyone get out and put her close to the wall so I could get out (steering wheel on the right, of course)!

Random shot.  When we walked from the garage through the city center we passed a modern art museum.  You might be able to notice the large windshield wipers on the glass (yes they were moving).

First stop was the Galleries of Justice which is based at Nottingham’s old courthouse and gaol [jail].

Nicole had a turn in the stocks before our tour started.

 as did Alex

Here are the unlucky convicts on our way to the dungeon.

But first, the courthouse.  Of course I was selected to be the criminal (Robin Hood in this case).

After the court "case" all of us where send down to the jail.

Here we are enclosed in the dark of the jail cell.  This was the posh cell for those with money.  Prisoners had to pay for the cell, a hammock and chamber pot or do without.  The poor folks who had no money were down in the pit.

The tour continued on and we got to see the bath (here) along with some other aspects of initial incarceration.

The jails were mainly temporary holding cells until trial and then until the sentencing was carried out.  Sometimes that was a "simple" flogging or a not so simple execution.  Those that needed to serve time were given a transportation sentence of 7, 10, 14 years or life.  Transportation meant that were shipped to colonies like America and Australia.  Over 162,000 were shipped out over time.  

Not sure the vintage, but there was a old police car in the courtyard.

Having escaped the jail it was time for lunch.  We did have to stop to see the statue of everyone's favorite thief, Robin Hood.  They had some nice story boards sprinkled throughout the city center giving information about the legend.

Seeing as how the oldest pub in England is in Nottingham, we had to have lunch there. (Thanks for the tip, Jay).    Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is carved into the castle (sandstone) rock and dates back to the time of King Richard the Lionheart and the Crusaders.   Legend has it that these Crusaders stopped off at the Inn at the foot of the Castle for welcome refreshments – or perhaps more accurately, for ‘one for the road’ (from the website).

Prior to devouring my Sunday beef roast, I got the ale sampler or "Trip n Mix".  From left to right are Knight's Tale, Olde Trip, and Rock Mild.  All were fine but perhaps a bit hoppier than I like.  The quest for the perfect beer will have to continue.

I didn't get a good photo, but the rooms in the pub were really neat.  There were a half dozen or so small rooms that were almost caves carved into the stone.

Not everything was 900 year old.  The restroom had this fine coin operated number in it.  What's that Daddy?  Go ask your mother . . . (actually I told him to ask me again in a few years).

Next stop was a pleasant surprise:  Museum of Nottingham Life at the Brewhouse Yard.  It was next door to Ye Olde Trip and featured some of the same man-made, sandstone caves.  I particularly like the exhibit that showed how the caves were used for bomb shelters.  We hear a lot about WWII (and some WWI) and the sacrifices made by those who fought in the wars.  However, having your city bombed brings things to a whole 'nother level.

Example war time poster

Not sure of the vintage of the house that the museum was set in, but it obviously was at a time when the Brits were vertically challenged.

here's a good look at Castle Rock and some of the exposed caves

Next up was the Nottingham "Castle". Here's the gate house.

Here's the "castle".  We have been spoiled by castles and this one doesn't quite measure up.  There used to be a real castle here but it went into decline in the 16th century and was demolished, more or less, in the 17th century.  Then, they built a mansion on the site but the inside was gutted by rioters in 1831 (Industrial Revolution).  The interior is now an oddly laid out mis-mash museum.
Couldn't pass up the cheesy photo op though.  By the way, "me duck" is a term of endearment (of sorts) around these parts.  Can't say it's caught on with us yet.

All in all a good day.  It was nice to get out and try some new sites.  We have a couple of other sites near Nottingham to try another time.  Nottingham is not in the "oh you really must go there" category but it was fun day out nonetheless. 

Thanks for reading.


  1. Nice post Steve. We didn't do the castle because of time constraints but it sounds like we didn't miss much. I guess looting and ransacking has that effect. I thought the pub set up was neat with the multiple rooms carved into the rock. I also thought it was cool to visit a 1,000 year old pub.

  2. The pub was nice -- glad we could go. Galleries of Justice is worth the trip. Castle, not so much. But, it some ways it was "free" as we paid for the Museum of Nottingham Life and the castle was included.