Nottingham

Batman fans asked to save real Gotham's building

St Lawrence Church, Gotham Legends sculpture and Gotham sign
Image caption Many Batman fans visit the real Gotham, where there is a sculpture featuring Batman climbing up the side

It may not look as grand as Wayne Manor, but villagers hope Batman fans might be able to help them save a community building in the real Gotham.

The building in the Nottinghamshire village - historically connected to the fictional Gotham City - closed amid financial problems and is up for sale.

Campaigners are raising money to buy it and hope Batman fans will aid them.

"We all need a superhero around occasionally, don't we?," said John Anderson, who is leading fundraising.

Image caption The Royal British Legion club, on Nottingham Road in Gotham, closed at the end of January

"We are likely to be up against the big bidders, but this is worth fighting for," continued Mr Anderson, chairman of the Gotham & District Community Venture committee.

"It would be fantastic to hear from any American friends of Gotham who might also invest in this exciting venture."

Updates on this story and more from Nottinghamshire.

How Batman writer Bill Finger picked Gotham from a phonebook

Image copyright DC Entertainment
Image caption The village of Gotham has been mentioned by Batman writers in recent years, including in Legends of the Dark Knight #206
  • Villagers in Gotham used to have a reputation for madness, and stories of their supposedly foolish acts were collected in various books including The Merie Tales of the Mad Men of Gotam, published in 1565.
  • The American author Washington Irving became aware of the tales and repeatedly referred to Manhattan as Gotham when writing, in 1807, in the Salmagundi papers, a satirical periodical mocking New Yorkers.
  • Gotham then became a popular nickname for New York City and is still used today, in shop names and notably at the Gotham Center for New York City History.
  • Batman's setting in Detective Comics was initially referred to as an unnamed "teeming metropolis" and later explicitly identified as "New York".
  • However, writer Bill Finger said he changed the name to Gotham City after looking through a phone book and seeing the name Gotham Jewelers.
  • There has been a long campaign for Bill Finger to be posthumously recognised as the co-creator of Batman along with Bob Kane, and DC Entertainment announced in September that he will be credited in future film and TV projects.

Read more about the historical connection between the village of Gotham and Batman.

The building was built for the Royal British Legion in 1966, but closed in January.

Rushcliffe Borough Council designated the site as an Asset of Community Value in July, allowing villagers extra time to find money for their venture.

They have already attracted more than £100,000 in pledges from residents, but are now looking for investment from beyond Gotham.

Image copyright BBC/ DC Entertainment
Image caption The two Gotham signs welcoming people to the village are popular spots for selfies

"It went on the market for £210,000 but we think we need to raise a bit more than that because it's a popular site to buy," said Mr Anderson.

Their plan, dubbed Destination Gotham, would see the creation of an expanded shop on the site, as well as a community-run café and visitor hub where the village archives can be stored and displayed.

Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption Wollaton Hall, which is also in Nottinghamshire, was used as Wayne Manor for filming of The Dark Knight Rises

Steve Smith, from the Gotham Geeks Podcast, thinks the appeal could work.

"I think that comic fans take their community seriously and I think if they have the opportunity to help the town that gave such an important piece of the Batman universe its name, especially with all the press about Bill Finger lately, they'd absolutely be willing to help," he said.

"The power of social media is incredible and if fans heard about something like this, they'd be willing to help out."

Image caption Villagers in Gotham are proud of the link with Batman

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