9 May 2015

'Nottingham: a history' by Jill Armitage

'Nottingham: a history' by Jill Armitage is the latest Nottinghamshire history book to be published by Amberley. The author is a photo-journalist based near Derby and has previously produced a number of titles on aspects of Derbyshire history.
The book is nicely produced and well organised with clearly titled sections within each chapter. It also covers a very wide range of subjects. The chapters are a mixture of historical periods (e.g., 'Nottingham in the Twelfth Century') and themes (e.g., Crime and Punishment') which makes it fairly easy to find areas of interest, despite there being no index. There is also a good selection of illustrations.
My main reservation is that, while accepting that this is clearly intended to be a popular history rather than an academic work, there are very few mentions of the sources she has used and there is not even a page listing further reading.
More worrying is a use of out-of-date history books; for instance, the chapter on Roman Nottingham (which also covers the Anglo-Saxon period) cites James Orange's 1840 book on Nottingham as an authority. It surely would have been preferable to have used more recent source, like 'A Centenary History of Nottingham' (1997)?
A map of the key places and streets of the pre-1960s city would also have been useful.
Criticism aside it is clear the author has put a lot of work into the book and it does contains a wealth of information. It is a good book to dip into!