A Brief History of Hucknall
Hucknall, or Hucknall Torkard as it was once called, has roots dating back over 900 years. Once a country village, that developed into a small town, it achieved considerable prosperity when, during the eighteenth century, the trade of Framework Knitting blossomed.
However a national depression within the industry affected the town during the first six decades of the 19th century. A short lived glove industry (circa 1840-65) helped to keep the town’s economy afloat. Then another small industry prospered; that of the manufacturing copies of Russian Orenburg shawls. A shawl measuring 1.5 square yards, containing up to 1,400,000 loops and be fine enough to be pulled through a ladies ring.
The textile industry, within the town, survived the depression and modernised its processes in line with the rest of the country. For over another hundred years it remained a strong industry within Hucknall, although a new industry was needed to provide jobs for some displaced workers.
Then, during the 1860s, the coal mining industry set foot in the town; bringing with it massive employment opportunities. Rows of new houses were constructed and within the 30 years following 1861 the population grew over four fold. Consequently not only providing work for the struggling textile workers but bringing prosperity to the whole town.
During the twentieth century Rolls Royce established an aero-engine base just outside the town, where the famous ‘Flying Bedstead’ was developed; being the prototype for jet-powered vertical take-off aeroplanes.
The well known Byron family were once the town’s predominant land owners and as such were buried in their family vault within the Hucknall St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church. This includes the burial of the famous Poet, the sixth Lord Byron and his daughter Ada Lovelace, renowned as the world’s first computer programmer. Hucknall was the childhood home of Ben Caunt, an English champion boxer, who, it is said, the famous Westminster bell called ‘Big Ben’ is named after; the churchyard contains his grave.
Eric Coates the composer of the ‘Dambusters Theme’ and ‘Knightsbridge March’ was born and raised in the town as was the operatic singer Morgan Kingston. Hucknall is also the childhood home of the actor Robin Bailey.