History of Nottinghack

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Founded in March 2010 to provide community workshop space to the people of Nottingham, Nottinghack has since become one of the premiere hackspaces in the UK.

The Early Days

The first meeting consisted of three people that decided to organise a 'show and tell'; where makers show each other projects that they have been working on. Thirty to forty people attend the show and tell. The first meetup of what would become Nottingham Hackspace occured at 7pm, 10th March 2010 at Ye Olde Salutation Inn, Hounds Gate.

Organising in the pub

Outdoor and one-off activities

Promotional material/getting the word out

Promotional Material for the group was produced

Hackspace 1.0

The workshop

The first Nottingham Hackspace was based inside the The Art Organisation. It started as just one storage room, but expanded into a small rentable workspace. This space was about the same size as the kitchen and craft room at Hackspace 2.0. The corridor outside was used to store our fridge and kettle as well as the cinema seats, still in use in our comfy area.

Moving into Hackspace 1.0

Hackspace 1.0 was located at The Art Organisation (TAO), in the Old Police Station, just above the Tesco on Station Street. We were so close to the station we could hear the announcements and see the platforms from our windows.

Hack nights

Open Hack nights have always been on a Wednesday, even when a tour of the space could only last a few seconds when they were held in Hackspace 1.0. Open Hack Nights at the Old Police Station involved some trestle tables and a small group sitting around tinkering with stuff. The group had almost no tools. The night would almost always end in the local pub.

Early open hack night.jpg

Loss of lease on Hackspace 1.0

When we first learnt that The Art Organisation, the Hackspace's landlords were loosing their lease at the Old Police Station, on Station St being Hackspace 1.0 we initially planned to move into the basement of The Hopkinson building also then part of The Art Organisation. The basement had no windows, a damp problem and not toilets. Negotiation started to rent this space for £250 a month, a contract was written but never signed.

At this time, the Hackspace as an organisation was in shock. They'd just gotten settled in at Station Street and things were starting to become real for the organisation. The basement at the Hopkinson didn't feel exactly right. Some of the founders started looking at other options, Roden House seemed like somewhere worth a look.

Initially a space of around £400 per month was viewed. It was very much out of the Hackspace's price budget. The manager from Bizspace suggested we also look at the much larger £1k per month space. A space that was to become Hackspace 2.0.

At first no one thought that the Nottingham Hackspace could move from a £100 a month commitment to a £1000 a month commitment... then a group visit to see the "big space' was organised and people became motivated.

A full publicity campaigned kicked into action. We had a link on the Nottingham Hackspace website explaining that we were "loosing our home". The popular blog Boing Boing heard of our plight. Suddenly, a lot of money appeared in our PayPal account. Moving into Roden House now looked plausible. The Hackspace treasurer created a spreadsheet to show a forecast of just how many members would be needed to pay the rent. The intention being to stop the madness of moving into this bigger unaffordable space. However, instead this gave the founders the mathematics they needed to understand the challenge ahead.

Hackspace 2.0

Work on Hackspace 2.0 started back in 2011. When we moved into the space it looked very different to how it does now. The images below show the space between 2011 and 2012. Nottinghack continued to acquire more tools, even more members and lots of experience.

We've come quite a way!

The main workshop at Nottingham Hackspace in August 2011 when it was still quite empty

Early days at Roden Street

On Sunday 29th May 2011 we held the first Big Open Day Event as a celebration of the new Hackspace "2.0" and a publicity/recruitment opportunity. It was a great success, attracting many visitors and new members.

In 2012, many workshops were held on a wide range of subject including soap making, design, electronics, homemade wine etc.

2013 saw even more workshops including solar power, lock picking and building a toy car.

Hackspace 2.5

Painting (September-October 2016)

Work on Hackspace 2.5 started after a decision to proceed with the project at the AGM on 2015-12-03. A dedicated team of members started working on the space every Tuesday night since the keys were acquired to the unit. Some of the work is documented on the Hackspace 2.5 Project page.

As of February 2019, work was still being carried out to fully fit the space. However, the CNC Area, Electronics Area and Blue Room were open for business.

Help still needed! Join the Hackspace 2.5 slack channel or read more on the Volunteering page.