Drury Hill

Drury Hill

DRURY-HILL, leading from Low-pavement to Sussex-street, was called Vault-lane because of the fame of the huge rock cellars underneath the house at its juncture with Low-pavement. Later, it was called Parkyn-lane, probably after some member of the Parkyn family of Bunny.

It got its present name about 1620, and it has nothing whatever to do with Drury—lane in London. About that time one of the leading figures in Nottingham was a certain Alderman Drury, a wealthy cordwainer, as we should say, shoe manufacturer. He occupied Vault Hall, the house just mentioned, and from him the street derives its modern name.

It is a very old thoroughfare. Originally, Nottingham stood round about St. Mary’s Church. There was no Arkwright-street, and the only access to the town was along the track of what is now London-road.

The traffic had to get up the precipice as best it could, first by Malin-hill and Long Stairs and then by Hollow Stone. The town grew, and it was found easier to bring the traffic along Narrow-marsh and up the much less severe gradient of Drury-hill, and this line consequently became the chief business thoroughfare of the town.

In the Seventeenth Century when wheeled traffic began to come into general use and to replace horseborne traffic, it was found that this ancient roadway was too narrow to deal with the cumbrous vehicles of the times, and so Hollow Stone was taken seriously in hand, its gradient eased, and it was turned into a principal entrance to the town.

Drury-hill, with its narrowness and congestion, and its curious haphazard buildings, gives us some idea of the appearance of Tudor Nottingham.