BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 June 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Legacies - Nottingham

BBC Homepage
 UK Index
 Site Info
 BBC History
 Where I Live

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Sneinton Hermitage cave houses.
© Courtesy of Nottingham City Council Leisure and Community Service, Local Studies Library.
Going underground: City of Caves

Cave Houses

Nottingham Castle caves.
© Courtesy of Nottingham City Council Leisure and Community Service, Local Studies Library.
Cave houses are not unique to Nottingham, but nowhere else had them in the quantity that could be found here. All cave "houses" were cut into cliffs or steep hills and accessed at ground level as opposed to the cellar caves, which were primarily accessed by ladder from above. However the city's poorest residents often found accommodation in cellar caves, which was of great concern to social reformers, and, in 1845, an Act of Parliament was passed to outlaw them.

Cave houses were frequently of two stories with carved stone staircases and fireplaces. Windows were glazed, and shelves and storage spaces might be cut into the rock; many had their own well. In 1620 Robert Cobert, poet and Bishop of Oxford, wrote of Nottingham:

"Where we observe the cunning men like moles, Dwelt not in houses but earthed in holes, Would you not think that men stood on their heads, When gardens cover houses there like lead, And on the Chimney top the maid may know, Whether her pottage boil or not below".

The largest group was the Sneinton Hermitage, which were built into the length of a 300-metre cliff. The last of these were demolished in 1904 as part of a road-widening scheme.

Words: Paul Baker

Pages: Previous [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ] Next

Print this page
Interact is your section. Join in the community - send in your own articles, chat, and tell us what the word 'heritage' means in your part of the country.

Go To Interact >
Internet Links
360° images of the caves
The new cave dwellers
Picture the Past photographic archive
Nottingham City Library
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
The Belfast Tech
Related Stories
West Wycombe Caves: an 18th Century den of iniquity?
Long-term British defence
Threave Castle, not half as forbidding as it appears

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy