Gotham shown within Nottinghamshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Gotham (// GOHT-əm) is a village in Nottinghamshire, England, south of Nottingham and north-east of Kegworth. Gotham has a population of about 1,600. It is administered as part of the Rushcliffe district of Nottingham, and has a parish council.
It has a twelfth-century church named after St Lawrence.
The village is most famed for the stories of the "Wise Men of Gotham". These depict the people of the village as being stupid. However, the reason for the behaviour is believed to be that the villagers wished to feign madness in order to avoid a Royal Highway being built through the village, as they would then be expected to build and maintain this route. Madness was believed at the time to be highly contagious, and when King John's knights saw the villagers behaving as if insane, the knights swiftly withdrew and the King's road was re-routed to avoid the village.
One of the mad deeds seen by the knights was a group of villagers fencing off a small tree in order to keep a cuckoo captive from the sheriff of Nottingham. One of the three pubs/inns in the village is known as The Cuckoo Bush Inn.
Reminded of the foolish ingenuity of Gotham's residents, Washington Irving gave the name "Gotham" to New York City in his Salmagundi Papers (1807). In turn, Bob Kane named the pastiche New York home of Batman, Gotham City. The existence of Gotham, Nottinghamshire in the DC Universe was recently acknowledged in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #206 (and again in 52 #27), although the connection between two names within the DCU has not been fully explained. In a story titled 'Cityscape' in Batman Chronicles #6 it is revealed that Gotham was initially built for the purpose of housing the criminally insane "I even have a name for it. We could call it 'Gotham' after a village in England - where, according to common belief, all are bereft of their wits."
Although Gotham has never been served by a passenger railway station, it does lie at the end of a branch line about 2 miles in length that leads westwards from the Great Central main line, opened in March 1899. The branch used to serve a plaster factory and gypsum mines, but was closed in the early 1960s. The main line itself closed to regular services in May 1969, although that section from Loughborough to Ruddington is still extant, giving access to the railway heritage centre at Ruddington. The closest station today is East Midlands Parkway which opened early in 2008 at Ratcliffe on Soar providing links on the Midland Main Line.
On 2 August 1984, as rain storms lashed the county, Gotham was hit by a tornado at approximately 5:50 pm, uprooting trees, blowing garden sheds onto power cables, destroying greenhouses and severely damaging houses, roofs and chimneys; however, no one was injured.
Gotham was home to the South Notts Bus Company, which provided a bus service between Nottingham and Loughborough running through the village. The South Notts trading name is still used by Nottingham City Transport, which took over the service in 1991.
Gotham’s World War II past
There are few remaining physical examples of Gotham’s wartime past. The word Gotham was removed from the face of the school building and from all signs and direction posts during the Second World War to confuse any enemy troops that might have invaded. The pillbox pictured is the only remaining structure dating from the Second World War in the village. It was one of two pillboxes erected to form a defence for the village and also to serve as a searchlight battery. The damage to the pillbox was caused after the war and was not due to enemy action.
Media related to Pillboxes at Wikimedia Commons
- BBC Website on the Wise Men of Gotham
- Official Gotham Village Website
- Gotham Memorial Hall
- The Gotham and District Local History Society