Dark Knights, Mad Men and Batman
In December this year, Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman epic The Dark Knight Rises, is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. Starring Christian Bale and Gary Oldman, the film was a box office smash when it was released in cinemas earlier this year and received rave reviews. So what’s the connection with Nottinghamshire then? Well the germ of the idea for Batman can be traced to the familiar sounding small village called Gotham just south of Nottingham.
The story goes that when King John was travelling through the county in the 13th century, he intended to travel through Gotham. The law at the time stated that if this happened, the town would become a public highway.
The inhabitants of Gotham didn’t like this idea and decided to feign insanity to prevent King John from travelling through the town. At the time, people thought that insanity could be caught like the common cold and it was enough to persuade the King to take a different route.
The next turn in the story comes when the American historian Irving Washington picked up on tales of Gotham and applied it to Manhattan. The reference to Gotham as Manhatten seemed to take off in fictional writing, leading to DC Comics using it as the backdrop for Batman.
Wollaton Hall as Wayne Manor
Earlier this year, Wollaton Hall was chosen by Warner Bros as the set of Wayne Manor for The Dark Knight Rises. A hugely impressive building with stunning grounds, Wollaton Hall is open to the general public.
A visit to the hall will allow you to experience the local Natural History Museum, a 500 acre deer park, and at weekends, an Industrial Museum. The Industrial Museum in particular is expertly run by passionate volunteers and celebrates anything from steam engines to Nottingham’s lace machinery.
You’ll also find plenty of events at Wollaton Hall, including the music festival Splendour which takes place in July. You’ll also find occasional markets and family events throughout the year, please check our events listings for further details.
A Real Bat Cave
Bats are fascinating creatures and we’re very pleased to have our fair share in Nottinghamshire. Bat walks have taken place at Wollaton Hall and Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve. Perhaps the best setting though is Creswell Crags where you can find yourself next to a real life bat cave.
If the Dark Knight Rises inspires you to find out more about the story behind Batman, then a visit to some of Nottinghamshire’s villages and attractions will let you discover more behind the mask.