6 Nottingham Venues with a History of Murder, Poison and Intrigue

Words: Emilie Mendham
Wednesday 11 March 2020
reading time: min, words

From T C Hine to Watson Fothergill, Nottingham has had more than its fair share of renowned architects leaving their stamp on the city’s skyscape. But beyond the outer beauty of the structures they created lie stories of deceit, murder, poison and intrigue. These are the weird and wonderful true stories from some of Nottingham’s most stunning historic buildings...

Newdigate House aka World Service

The name might not immediately ring a bell, but Newdigate House is where some of Notts’ fanciest diners go to eat, under its current guise as the highly-rated World Service restaurant, situated on Castle Gate. Just a few hundred years ago, in 1705, it became home to Camille d’Hostun, duc de Tallard. And by home, we mean prison, as d’Hostun was captured by the Duke of Marlborough’s forces after the Battle of Blenheim, and kept in Nottingham for six years. As the Marshal of France and rich friend of King Louis XIV, his capture was something of a coup, and the French nobleman made the most of his forced stay. Taking the time to teach local women how to make white bread, he’s also the reason celery was introduced to the British diet. He missed it so much that, after finding some in the marshes in Lenton, he cultivated it to be grown for consumption. 


Stanford House, Castle Gate

Casting a shadow across the entire street, the architectural masterpiece Stanford House stretches back through an impressive amount of our city’s history, having been built around 1755 during the War of American Independence. In 1789, the building found itself as the home of Mr Stanford who, as a fierce royalist, was so overjoyed at the news of King George III (The Mad King) recovering from his ‘mental malady’ that he distributed a half-a-hogshead - about 150 litres - of ale to everyone on the street. Neighbours just aren’t that friendly anymore. 


Grey Friar Gate

Hidden away in one of the oldest streets in Notts, Houndsgate was home to a now vanished wool warehouse back in 1788. It was here that a chap named Jowitt once had the shock of his life, after finding a mummified man in amongst his stock. The poor bloke, known only as Mr. Rogers, is said to have  – for reasons known only to himself – tried to catch forty winks on the sacks, only to slip into the web of wool and suffocate while trying to get out, mummifying himself in the process. Rest in fleece, Mr Rogers. 


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