Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham, c 1890

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This is one of the old Nottingham photographs that got me hooked on local history. I grabbed this image from the superlative Picture the Past, but first saw it in Victorian Nottingham: Victoria Station And Its Approaches by Richard Iliffe and Wilfred Baguley.

It reflects a stretch of Lower Parliament Street that most of us know well. The archway to the right is now the site of the entrance to Boots. The lamp-post roughly marks the eastern edge of the modern pedestrian crossing. The footbridge would dominate the middle horizontal portion of its older counterpart. Behind the lad on the right is now Urban Outfitters, whilst the young man on the left obscures the main entrance to Victoria Centre (currently being refurbished and spruced-up). Nowadays, it isn’t the neat right angle that we see circa 1890, but cuts across on a diagonal. The corner pub on the left of the photograph is now where Burger King sits. This isn’t precise, since roads and pavements can be widened or narrowed over time, but it gives you a good idea of the comparative location.

In the time of the photograph, the archway led to St Stephen’s church. The window-heavy building on the corner is the Milton’s Head Hotel, whilst the corner pub is the Unicorn Inn. Behind these buildings was a sprawl of ramshackle slum buildings that included some of the oldest residences in central Nottingham. You can read more about the area in my little Kindle guide, Nottingham Victoria: The story of a slum, a station and a shopping centre (click here to see it on Amazon).

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