This Is The Incredible Story Of Gotham, The Small English Village That Inspired Batman's 'Gotham City’

This Is The Incredible Story Of Gotham, The Small English Village That Inspired Batman's 'Gotham City’

How could such a small town have inspired the metropolis protected by Bruce Wayne?

The small village of Gotham, lost in the suburbs of Nottingham, England looks like any other town in the British hinterland, except for one detail. This detail is its very particular story, which inspired Batman's famous ‘Gotham City.’

Go back in time to the 13th century. At the time King John of England (John Lackland) had the ambition to build a hunting lodge on the outskirts of the village. But the inhabitants did not see it that way, suspecting that the arrival of the royal court into their peaceful daily lives would mean a sharp rise in taxes.

To prevent this royal landing from materialising, a council called ‘the sages of Gotham’ developed an infallible plan. At the time madness was still considered contagious, and the legend says that the whole village then began to feign madness overnight.

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This plan did bear fruit, since the king in question never set foot in Gotham, which then immediately earned a very unflattering reputation, which has lived on in British popular culture. There are tales and legends recorded about the ‘antics’ of the inhabitants of Gotham from this period.

In 1807 the American writer Washington Irving, based on popular beliefs that were then half a millennium old, described the New York of the time which was plagued by serious crime as the ‘Gotham of modern times’ in a satirical publication. And the nickname stayed until Bill Finger, the writer who created Batman, took it to create his famous ‘Gotham City.’

Today, the village of Gotham is still very popular with tourists and comics fans and other souvenir hunters.

• Rob Mitchell
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