Cheesed Off! Nottingham Food Riots, c.1750-1800

As part of the Being Human Festival 2023.

In October 1766, the Mayor of Nottingham was bowled over by a gigantic cheese, during protests at the high price of food in Nottingham.

Food riots were the most common form of popular protest in 18th century Britain, with regular, often physical, disturbances against the high price of flour, wheat, bread and dairy products.

As an important centre of manufacturing and a town with a large and growing population, Nottingham was central to these disturbances, raising practical and moral issues of right and legitimacy for the authorities to resolve.

This interactive talk and a discussion will introduce attendees to Nottingham’s food protests in the later-18th century. Dr Richard Gaunt, a historian of popular protest and radicalism, and Dr Denise Amos, a food historian, will consider different dimensions of the protests, and the elements of rhyme and reason which underpinned them.

The event will include a cheese tasting and a guided walk of ‘Rebellion Gallery’ at Nottingham Castle, which introduces visitors to the town’s rebellious history.

This event is part of Being Human Festival, the UK’s national festival of the humanities, taking place 9–18 November 2023. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, with generous support from Research England, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

For further information please see The University of Nottingham is one of this year’s five Festival Hubs nationwide.

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