Oriental Cafe, Wheeler Gate

Oriental Cafe, Wheeler Gate

MESSRS. ARMITAGE’S Cafe in Wheeler-gate, Nottingham, is a house with a great deal of interest attached to it, in spite of the fact that in modern times it has been cut up into shops and offices. It appears to have been built during the reign of King Charles I., and contains some of the earliest sash windows in Nottingham.

It was either built for, or came into the possession of, Lord Mansfield, according to tradition, and it was within its walls that a great meeting of the nobility and gentry of the neighbourhood took place to decide their course of action with regard to King James II. and William and Mary.

King James’s religious policy did not commend itself to certain sections of his subjects, and this had led to great dissatisfaction, which culminated in an invitation to William of Orange and his wife Mary, who was King James’s daughter to come over to England and to replace James II. on the throne. As far as the Midlands were concerned the whole matter was in the balance, and a lead was necessary.

After much discussion at this meeting and great weighing of pros and cons, it was decided by these influential gentlemen that they would throw in their lot with William and Mary, and after this decision had been arrived at they marched across the Market Place to the Malt Cross, which was erected about where Queen Victoria’s statue now stands, and announced their decision in face of the full market. Their action met with universal approval, and from that moment the Stuart cause was lost as far as the Midlands were concerned.

It is a very interesting fact to remember that the wonderful ceiling in Messrs. Armitage’s shop is about contemporary with the publication of Milton’s "Paradise Lost."