NET, the people who run Nottingham’s tram network are looking for names for their new trams.
The names for the existing trams are a mixed bag. Inevitably there’s a Robin Hood. There’s also various local celebrities (Torvill and Dean, Brian Clough, Carl Froch) and some community figures.
We think that the new trams are a great opportunity to recognise some of the figures from Nottingham’s radical past. There are any number of people we could have named and many more whose names are lost in the mists of time. However, we’ve selected a few.
You might want to support some of these suggestions yourself. Or come up with your own.
You’ve got until Friday 24th April.
Sid Richmond was a miner and committed trade unionist. He was retired by the time of the Miner’s Strike in 1984-5. However, he was beaten up by police from London for refusing to turn back at a road block when on the way to see his daughter. When the Poll Tax was introduced, Sid refused to pay and was sent to prison twice, despite being in his 80s. Sid died in 1993, aged 83.
Susannah Wright, born in Nottingham in 1792, the daughter of a framework knitter, was imprisoned for selling blasphemous publications in 1822. Returning to Nottingham in 1826 to open a bookshop in Goosegate, she endured a month of siege by angry Christians, who were enraged by the sale of publications on freethought, atheism and contraception. Led by the Reverend Wilkins of St Mary’s the siege ended in riot, but Susannah’s courage and persistence, and the causes of free thought and free expression, triumphed over bigotry and superstition.
You can read more about Susannah in chapter 6 of City of Light by Chris Richardson.
Jeremiah Brandreth known as “The Nottingham Captain” was beheaded for treason for his role in the “Pentrich Revolution”. Brandreth had met a government spy and agreed to take part in a armed march on Nottingham in 1817. The marchers were met at Giltbrook by soldiers and arrested. Brandreth and two others were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered but the sentence of quartering was commuted by the Prince Regent.
Suggested by Luddite Bicentenary, Towle was a Luddite from Basford hanged for his role in an armed attack on a lace mill in Loughborough. Towle had previously been tried for burglary and framebreaking. Although clerical magistrate Dr Wylde forbade the reading of the burial service at Towle’s funeral, 3,000 people attended.
Ray Gosling was a journalist, gay rights campaigner, community activist and anarchist. He is actually the reason our group exists. We were inspired after a he gave a talk at the Sparrows’ Nest in 2009.