Winter in Gotham
Gotham shown within Nottinghamshire
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The name Gotham comes from the Old English for "goat home".
References to Gotham in literature
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 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 to keep a cuckoo captive from the Sheriff of Nottingham. One of the three pubs 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, Bill Finger 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 No. 206 (and again in 52 No. 27), although the connection between two names within the DCU has not been fully explained. In a story titled 'Cityscape' in Batman Chronicles No. 6 it is revealed that Gotham was initially built for the purpose of housing the criminally insane, and Robin reads a journal that tells of how Gotham got its name; "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."
Responding to the connection between the Gotham in Nottinghamshire and Gotham for New York City, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani wrote that it was "a pleasure to have this opportunity to acknowledge the cultural and historical link" between the two places.
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 railway station which opened early in 2008 at Ratcliffe-on-Soar providing links on the Midland Main Line.
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.
Other points of interest
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.
Second World War
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.
In 2014, the Gotham sign had been stolen three times in four years by Batman fans
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
- Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia; Mills, A. D.; Room, Adrian (2002). The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: the University Press. p. 1048. ISBN 0198605617.
- "Local Legends: Wise men of Gotham". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Caroline Lowbridge (1 January 2014). "The real Gotham: The village behind the Batman stories". BBC News. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Hold on! Twisters in Nottinghamshire". BBC. January 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Gotham Hill Pasture: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Sanbanks Gotham SSSI "Gotham Sandbanks. English Nature.
- "Pillbox above Gotham: This is part of the information board provided as part of the Gotham Heritage Trail.". Geograph British Isles. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Batman fans take Gotham village sign in 'prank'. BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2015
Media related to Gotham, Nottinghamshire at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to Pillboxes at Wikimedia Commons