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New Resarch on Wollaton Hall & Park, Nottingham, UK


A new PhD studentship began in October 2018 based at the Department of History, University of Nottingham, in partnership with Nottingham Museums and Galleries, focussed on Wollaton Hall and Park, Nottingham. This is funded for 3 years by Midlands3Cities (, a consortium of arts and humanities departments across 6 UK universities, which distributes funds from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The research project title aims to examine the 1680 to 1925 history of Wollaton Hall, Park, owners and associates, the wider estate and their relationship with the nearby county town of Nottingham.

Wollaton Hall was built 1580-1588 by Sir Francis Willoughby with mason Robert Smythson as architect. The external aspects of the building are little changed since that date although there has been some internal alteration. There have been a number of previous history and building archaeology studies of the Hall and Park which have mainly concentrated on the 100 years or so around the construction date, and there has been significant concentration on the Hall’s architectural history.

This new research will investigate the last 250 years of Willoughby family’s ownership by using the estate archives on loan to University of Nottingham to expand knowledge of the site’s role as a country seat during that time; one particular area of focus will be the family’s local coal-mining activities.

The Hall was surrounded by suburbs of Nottingham City in the early 20th century and has hosted the City’s Natural History Museum since the 1920s. The park, stocked with deer, is a well used public space plus a golf-course.

PhD student: Megan Doole, contact