Nottingham continued to grow rapidly, especially after 1845 when a great deal of land around it was released for building. Nottingham gained gas street lighting in 1819. However like all towns in the early 19th century Nottingham was a dirty, unsanitary place. There was a cholera epidemic in 1833, which killed 330 people.
However life in 19th century Nottingham gradually improved. In the mid-19th century the piped water supply was taken over by the corporation and was greatly expanded. After 1835 Nottingham had its first proper police force and new prison was built in Nottingham in 1846. Meanwhile the railway first reached Nottingham in 1839.
The first public library in Nottingham opened in 1868 and University College was formed in 1881.
In the late 19th century Nottingham corporation created parks and recreation grounds. Furthermore the Goose Fair evolved from an event where people bought and sold goods to a pleasure fair. Nottingham County Football Club was founded in 1862. Nottingham Forest was founded in 1865.
Meanwhile in 1831 the House of Lords rejected the Great Reform Bill which was intended to increase the number of people who could vote for MPs. The people of Nottingham were so angry they rioted. The Duke of Newcastle was opposed to reform so they burned his residence, the castle. It remained in ruins for 44 years until the town council took it over and rebuilt it as a museum and art gallery.
In the 19th century the hosiery industry continued. Nottingham was also famous for lace. A lace-making machine was introduced in 1809. However some new industries began in Nottingham. John Player founded Players cigarettes in 1877. A man named Frank Bowden began making bicycles in Raleigh Street in 1887. He named his company after the street. By 1910 Raleigh were making 50,000 bicycles each year. Nottingham was made a city in 1897.
Electric trams began running in Nottingham in 1901. The last ones ran in 1936. Meanwhile between 1922 and 1932 a dual carriageway was built around the city.
From 1928 Nottingham had a Lord Mayor and a new Council House opened in 1929.
In the 1920s and 1930s Nottingham council began building council houses. Many were built on new estates north of the city. In the 1950s and 1960s many more council estates were built in the north of the city including estates at Bilborough. Another estate was built in the south at Clifton.
Meanwhile Nottingham University was founded in 1948.
In the late 20th century Nottingham continued to develop rapidly. In 1952 a statue of Robin Hood by James Woodford was erected by the castle. A new Clifton Bridge was built in 1958. The Playhouse Theatre opened in 1963. Queens Medical Centre was built in 1970. Victoria bus station was built in 1972. Broad Marsh shopping centre was built in 1972. Victoria shopping centre was built in 1975. The National Water Sports Centre opened in 1973. Stonebridge City Farm opened in 1979.
In the late 20th century the main industries in Nottingham were textiles, tobacco, bicycles, pharmaceuticals and printing. In 1998 Nottingham was made a unitary authority.