Mar 23 2012: Aerial View Of A Crowd In An Unknown City Centre (Possibly Nottingham, c.1920s)

There’s something intriguingly elusive about this image, which both looks like the Market Square in Nottingham, viewed from somewhere near the dome on the roof of the present Council House while it was still under construction (if so, this would place the image at some point between 1927 and 1929), and, well, doesn’t look like Nottingham at all, at exactly the same time. While some buildings seem to belong – the mock-Tudor edifice (possibly the former Pearson’s department store?) on one corner looks familiar – while much else seems to have been swept away, like Pearson’s itself, or not belong at all, for example, the Industrial warehouses that occupy positions roughly where the present-day Theatre Royal and the Council house architect T.C. Howitt’s own Newton Building might now stand. If this were a view from the 200′ dome of Howitt’s Council House, however (and that may not be the case at all), it raises a further question as to what, exactly, was going on at ground level: a parade? A protest? A perfectly average busy day in the city’s streets? Nottingham’s Council House building – always controversial on the grounds of cost, celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2009, having been fated to open around the time of the 1929 stock market crash – attacted as much opprobrium in its own time as Nottingham Contemporary, the present occupant of another former Council chamber site in the city at Weekday Cross. Given all this – and the deeply uncertain attribution – this whole image is fascinating and quite perplexingly hard to place simultaneously. Perhaps someone can help to dispel the mystery?

One Response to “Mar 23 2012: Aerial View Of A Crowd In An Unknown City Centre (Possibly Nottingham, c.1920s)”
  1. Edthefolkie says:

    It is Nottingham – post 1926, pre 1941. Looks like it was taken from the top of Griffin & Spalding’s department store which was rebuilt 1926 -ish. The photo may be of the royal visit to Nottingham (University, Royal Show etc) in 1928.

    Wheeler Gate centre left, Friar Lane centre. The Tudor-ish building is the Old Moot Hall which was destroyed by a bomb in May 1941. The local legend goes that a drinker was blown across Friar Lane and woke up in Burton the 50 Shilling Tailor’s window.

    The grocer’s and the building with the Bovril ad were replaced by a Barclays branch (where I worked for a while) late 1950s/early 1960s. It’s now a horrible pub of course.

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