Records of the Park Estate, Nottingham, 1769-1986

Scope and Content

The collection covers the administration of the Park from its first development as a residential area in the 1820s. This was undertaken initially by the agents of the Dukes of Newcastle in Nottingham (1820s to 1939; mostly deeds and plans), and then by Oxford University (1939-86; deeds, plans, accounts and correspondence). Although many deeds in the collection reflect the leasing of land and properties from the 1820s onwards, there are no detailed house plans surviving before the 1890s, by which time most of the finest properties had already been built. There are, however, some general plans of the Park from the earlier nineteenth centuries. The bulk of the material dates from the Oxford period and includes a considerable quantity of correspondence files relating to estate maintenance.

The two eighteenth-century items in the archive are strays from the Newcastle family archive and concern Nottingham Castle.

A number of other stray plans and documents relate to different Newcastle properties in Nottingham city and in the county, including Newark.

The archive has been arranged with the following series:

NPE A : Accounting records

NPE B : Books and other printed items

NPE CN : Correspondence and related items from the Newcastle period (to 1939)

NPE CO : Correspondence from the Oxford period, mainly general files (from 1939)

NPE D : Deeds

NPE EM : Correspondence files relating to estate maintenance (from 193)

NPE Ix : Various indexes used by the Oxford administrators

NPE N : Newspapers and miscellaneous cuttings

NPE P 1: Maps relating to The Park as a whole

NPE P 2: Maps and plans relating to The Park utilities: 2/1 gas; 2/2 water; 2/3 electricty; 2/4 telephones; 2/5 sewers; 2/6 road maintenance

NPE P 3: Maps relating to individual properties in The Park

NPE P 4: Maps relating to Nottingham Castle

NPE P 5: Maps and plans relating to the rest of Nottingham

NPE P 6: Maps and plans relating to Nottinghamshire and elsewehere

NPE PF : Files of correspondence mostly relating to particular properties

NPE Ph : Photographs

NPE RA : Material relating to the Residents' Association

NPE S : Sale and auction papers and booklets

NPE T : Terriers

NPE V : Manuscript volumes, including note-books of the Duke's Surveyor J.C. Wilson

NPE X : Miscellaneous items

Administrative / Biographical History

Nottingham Park Estate traces its origins back to the royal park attached to the castle of Nottingham, which was built in the late eleventh century. The castle was an important royal centre in the middle ages, but was largely in ruins by the late-seventeenth century, a process accelerated by damage suffered in the civil war. After the restoration, the royalist William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, acquired the Castle and Park, and in the 1670s began an ambitious new building on Castle rock. The work of replacing the remains of the medieval castle with a ducal palace was completed after William's death by his son, Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The Castle and Park remained in the hands of the Pelham-Clinton Dukes of Newcastle-under-Lyne, although they were more often resident at their rural estate of Clumber, Nottinghamshire, or other properties. The first serious proposals for residential development of the area came in the late 18th century during the minority of the 4th Duke of Newcastle (1785-1851). Uncertainty about the future use of the Castle was an issue, as that might have affected property values. It was not until the late 1820s that the 4th Duke took the first steps, with development of the north-east escarpment of the Park.

Meantime, other events dramatically affected the potential exploitation of the Castle. In 1831, following the failure of the Second Reform Bill in the House of Lords, the building was sacked and fired in a protest against the duke, whose reactionary views were well known. The duke made no effort to rebuild it. Under Henry P.F. Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle (1811-64), plans to develop the surrounding Park continued. The current design of the Park was laid out in the third quarter of the 19th century, with drives and crescents given names associated with the Pelham-Clinton dukes of Newcastle.

The Park continued to be owned by the Dukes of Newcastle themselves, or under various trusts, strict settlements etc., until it was finally sold by the Henry F.H. Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 8th Duke of Newcastle (1866-1941), via Lord Nuffield, to the University of Oxford in 1939. Most of the properties in the Park were leasehold, but from the early 1950s the freeholds were sold off and some of the utilities came to be run by other bodies, so that the administration of the Park became increasingly vestigial.

In 1986 Oxford University surrendered its remaining rights in the area to the newly formed body, Nottingham Park Estate Limited. The archive represents those papers from the Newcastle Estate Office on Lenton Road that remained when the estate passed from Newcastle to Oxford in 1939, together with all those generated through the university's administration of the Park, also held in the Park Estate Office.

Access Information

30 year closure applies to most series, with access at the discretion of the Keeper of Manuscripts; wages books are closed for 50 years.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript brief guide based on street name index, 155 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript brief guide based on street name index, 155 pp

On the World Wide Web: Catalogue available from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access permissions and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The present archive represents those papers from the Newcastle Estate Office on Lenton Road that remained when the estate passed from Newcastle family to Oxford University ownership in 1939, together with all those generated by the University of Oxford administration of the Park also in the Park Estate Office. All the documents concerning the Park Estate were removed to the university archives in Oxford between 1977 and 1986, to which were added documents held by the university's solicitors. In December 1994 the archive was transferred from Oxford to Nottingham University Library.

Related Material

The Newcastle Collection (reference: Ne)


K. Brand, 'The Park Estate, Nottingham: the development of a nineteenth century fashionable suburb', Transactions of the Thoroton Society 88 (1984), pp. 54-75