The Council House replaced the Exchange in 1929 (A Nicholson, 2001).

The great bell upon which this clock struck was of interest, for not only did it act as an hour bell but it was used as an alarm, and its clangour called together the townsmen of Nottingham in times of stress upon more than one occasion when it was rung by the order of authorities to summon the folk to the Market Place. It seems to have originally come from a disused chapel at Gunthorpe though its date is an unknown quantity. Above the clock stood a figure of Astrea or Justice which has come down to our own days. It was the custom to dress this figure in commemoration of events of local importance. For example, in 1794 she was dressed in a robe of "True Blue" to signify public rejoicings in celebration of the King's birthday.

As the building has all disappeared there is little object in describing its arrangements which were quite convenient. In 1814 alterations were taken in hand and were entrusted to Messrs. Adams and Wyatt, architects, who completed their work in 1815. They took in the piazza so as to include it in the shops under the Exchange. They stuccoed the whole front and they added the great Venetian window which still remains in the memories of most of us. In 1836 the building was pretty nearly gutted by a fire which originated in the illuminated clock, but it was soon re-edified, and in 1843 it was used for an Art Exhibition in aid of the Mechanics Institution. The Council Chamber was lengthened by a wooden building carried upon struts which extended for a considerable distance over the Market Place so that a room of 180 feet in length was provided. It really seems to have been quite an important exhibition for those days and is described as consisting of  "a superb collection of paintings, statuary, antiquities, architectural models and specimens of natural history, the whole presenting, especially when illuminated, a most entertaining sight."

The opening ceremony was a most dignified business in which the Mayor and Corporation with their gold and silver medals, the band of the Dragoon Guards, the Officers of the Mechanics Institute and a number of  gentlemen all seem to have been mixed up. At any rate it was open from June to November and was visited by 125,000 persons and raised nearly £3,000.

There was another exhibition in the Exchange in 1865, and the Thoroton Society held an exhibition there in 1899.

One gets some idea of the smallness of Nottingham and its tiny outlook 150 years ago when one realises that in 1799 a shop on the south side of Exchange Alley was made into the main fire station of Nottingham. "The Feathers Inn" underneath the Exchange is not without its interest for in 1818, during a very strenuous election, it was Mr. Denman's headquarters. Mr. Denman was really an important man who afterwards became Thomas, Lord Denman. He was Chief Justice of England and died in 1854, he first came into popularity in 1817 when he made a magnificent plea for Jeremiah Brandreth, one of the men associated with the Pentrich Rising. He, together with Lord Brougham, was advocate for Queen Caroline.

Smithy Row has lost all its antiquarian interest by the complete demolition in 1926 of the last remains of the ancient houses which stood along it. It derives its name of course from the fact that hereabouts stood the blacksmiths' shops, which fact was confirmed in 1853, when excavations were being made for the laying of a sewer, by the discovery of a great bed of cinders and other debris extending all the way along Smithy Row. Further than this, in 1926 a curious find was made by Mr. H. G., Watkins consisting of two great jars of the 15th century ware full of bones which had been sawn into about three-inch lengths. These were obviously prepared to make the hafts of knives, and as there were several hundreds of them it is obvious that manufacturing of knives on a considerable scale must have taken place on the site now occupied by the National Provincial Bank of England.

During the terrible trade stagnation of 1811, land here was sold at 9/- a square yard. In 1840 from January 10th to January 17th the Mayor and the Magistrates, because a rebellion was expected, remained in constant attendance at the police office which had been built in 1810 on Smithy Row. Trade was very bad, poverty stalked abroad in the streets of the town and there was terrible distress on all hands. The Dragoons and the Rifle Brigade were under arms, but whether it was due to these preparations or no I cannot say, at any rate, no outbreak took place.

The mention of the Police Offices leads one to consider the history of the policing in Nottingham, and, without going back to medieval times and all the details of the "Midsummer Watch" which really was little more than a pageant, and the other primitive methods of dealing with criminals, a few notes upon the police history of the town may not be without interest. About 1788 there were no night watchmen in the town, apparently there were some sort of policemen on duty during the day who went off duty at sunset having carefully given notice of their withdrawal from their avocations before they departed. This, of course, was splendid for the burglars who knew exactly when they could go to work without any interference from the custodians of the peace. In order to combat this state of affairs the shopkeepers in the Market Place held a meeting in 1788 in which they decided to watch in turn either in person or by deputy, but this voluntary policing was not at all satisfactory and so it gave place to a system of watchmen and watchmen's boxes, which were subscribed for by anybody who wished to have their property watched. The watchmen were mostly old and decrepit and were not in the least bit concerned with any property other than that belonging to the people who subscribed for their wages, and there are stories told of them looking on whilst thieves were breaking into houses other than those belonging to their  employers. In 1808 a town meeting at the Exchange decided that each Alderman should call a ward meeting to decide how they might increase the efficiency and the pay of the watchmen and turn them from private employees into public servants. Further than this the ward meetings were to appoint voluntary superintendents who were to go round the watchmen during the night to see that they were awake and doing their duty. Of course that system did not work, and in 1816 the Watch and Ward Act was adopted, by which all male inhabitants above the age of 17 and subject to the poor-rate were called out in parties of twenty-five. These parties perambulated the town all night, headed by the constable of the parish and the fine for refusing to go on duty varied at the discretion of the magistrates from 40/- to £10. I don't think that the tramping about of parties of twenty-five men in the middle of the night would add to the quietness of the streets or to the comfort and repose of the townsmen. Whether it was from this cause or not I do not know, but at any rate the custom was discontinued in the following summer. In 1820 we still find that the police were on duty during the day only, and that during the night the whole property of the town was in charge of twelve drowsy old men who like their predecessors of the 18th century were only concerned with the property of a few folk who subscribed for their upkeep. A town meeting was called and Alderman Parker proposed that the police force should be so much augmented that they should be able to remain on duty day and night, but this proposal was heavily defeated on the ground of expense. Eventually by 1850 the force numbered fifty-eight men, but they were all able-bodied and they remained on duty day and night.

Mrs. Gilbert in her delightful reminiscences of old Nottingham tells how each parish in her youth supplied its own constable and that their doors were marked "Constable No. 1" etc. Standard Hill being an extra-parochial district provided its own constable and she tells how, when she was a child lying in bed, she used to hear this dreary old man crying the hours during the night, and as his English was not of the most cultured he reduced 11 o'clock to the strange cry of "Hell-heaven o'clock."