Carrington Market Place

Carrington Market Place

IN olden times the town of Nottingham was almost surrounded by a wide belt of open land, over which the citizens had common rights.

Although there were certain advantages in thus surrounding the town with a belt of agricultural land, yet these advantages were counter-balanced by the terrible effect of strangling the town as it grew and prospered, and this effect is seen in the slum problem with which our city authorities are now struggling. For as no houses could be built upon this common land, and more and more people desired to live in Nottingham in order to participate in its trade, the whole of the old town was overbuilt, and every nook and corner was crammed with houses.

So serious did the problem become that in 1792 an Enclosure Act came into force whereby certain of these lands were sold or allotted for building purposes, and the proceeds of such sales were invested for the benefit of the community. Hence the funds of the present Estates Committee of the Nottingham Corporation.

About six acres of land on the junction of the Mansfield Road and Hucknall Road were allotted to Robert Smith, Esq., a member of the great banking family, who, in his turn, sold it to Ichabod Wright, Esq. Mr. Wright proceeded to lay this land out for building purposes, and he called his new settlement Carrington, in honour of Lord Carrington of Carrington, near Ashby Folville in Leicestershire.

Carrington is thus an early example of town planning. The idea that was in Mr. Wright’s mind was that it would be difficult and even dangerous for his tenants to cross the open space of Nottingham Lings which we nowadays call the Forest, for in the 18th Century and early 19th Century, roads across this district were rough and scarce, and the brambles and gorse with which it was covered were a lurking place for all sorts of undesirable folk.

Mr. Wright consequently set out a triangular market place, surrounded by dwellings and shops which were quite sufficient for their time, and he hoped that hucksters would come and set up their stalls within this area. On other than market days, the open space would form a safe playground for children.

The story of Carrington and its market place is so different from that of the ordinary village, where the market place or open square generally represents the ancient village green, that it may be looked upon as one of the curiosities of Nottingham.