A narrow lane, running north-south, just east of Exchange Walk, narrow, not particularly used but with a special place in Nottingham’s radical histreh.
Cos the story is that in this narrow lane, the Mayor of Nottingham was said to be bowled over by a barrel-shaped cheese during the first evening of the Great Cheese Riot of 1766.
This seems to be a cause of some hilarity, although Mayors have for some time been elected representatives. It also seems the Mayor was actually knocked over in the open square, which seems a bit more careless on the part of the Mayor.
Today I think a hundredweight of cheese would cost around £330 (based on £2.25 for 350g of extra mature cheddar from the Co-Op; ‘Measuring Worth’ suggests £1.20 then is the equivalent of £150 today, so either my calculations are wrong (very probable), or perhaps we should be having a riot of our own!)
On Thursday, 2nd October 1766 (first day of Goose Fair, then held in the Market Square) it was costing between £1.20 and £1.80 – judged too high by Nottingham residents who’d seen the cheeses being bought by traders from Lincolnshire.
A riot was started in the evening and cheeses were both stolen and rolled along streets as weapons.
After failing to quell the riot, civil authorities called in cavalry and infantry from Derby. There were disturbances in the Friday evening, and shots were fired into the crowds. It’s not clear how many were hurt, but one man died of his injuries (he appears to have been trying to protect cheese from being stolen – a case of death by ‘friendly fire’). Crowds were dispersed, but went out to Trent Bridge to take from a boat laden with cheese.
There were further disturbances on both the Saturday and the Monday.
My notes are based on the pamphlet written by Nottingham Radical History Group.