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Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

Guildford Cathedral


in the county of Surrey

A Cottage With The Spire Towering Above


in the county of West Sussex

Pictures of Derby

in the county of Derbyshire

About Derby

This is the premier town of the Shire, it is steeped in history with roots stretching to Roman times - the legions had a camp near the east bank of the Derwent, but the town was named by the Danes.

Derby has fortunately managed to flourish throughout nearly all of its long history and in 1086 at the time of the Doomsday Book, the town had 2,000 inhabitants, six churches and fourteen mills. A market charter was granted by Henry II in 1154, from this time the town prospered slowly until the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. Prior to this there had been excitement when Stuart troops reached Derby in the 1700's, this was the southernmost point of their arrival in England and the place from which they retreated back to Scotland. This event is commemorated by a statue in the town of Bonnie Prince Charlie on horseback.

With the Industrial Revolution came the Midland Railway's great works in the town, these brought in a flood of people to both live and work in Derby, thus growth became rapid. Much of Derby's rich industrial heritage can be explored in an original restored Silk Mill dating from 1717, at this time the mill was considered to be one of the world's first modern factories. The Silk Mill Museum can be found in Skill Lane, close to the Cathedral.

Derby Cathedral is distinguished by its eye catching 178 ft tower graced with four pinnacles. This is without doubt the town's most impressive building, its story goes back to the 10th-century, but the tower was built during the reign of Henry VIII and is second only to the Boston Stump as the tallest church tower in all England. The church was dedicated to All Saints, it remained a parish church until elevated to the rank of cathedral in 1927. The church was largely rebuilt by James Gibbs in the early 18th-century, with many of its original church treasures are retained. This includes superb tombs and monuments, especially that to the "much married" Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury. The greatest treasure of the cathedral can be seen in its superbly fashioned intricate wrought iron screen, the work of Robert Bakewell. The entrance gates to the cathedral are also from Bakewell, they were made by him for a private house and gifted to the cathedral in 1958 when they were installed and dedicated.

Kedleston Hall is yet another of Derby's treasures. This was the home of the Curzon family for almost 900 years, with the present house being a masterpiece of the artistry of Robert Adams. The south front is outstanding, its centre is in the form of Roman triumphal arch, and its curving dome and staircase shows all of Adams genius. Three of the rooms in the house have fine Adams ceilings, with paintings around the walls still arranged just as Sir Nathanial Curzon and Robert Adam placed them. The house has four magnificent state rooms, and the "great apartment" is notable for its state bed with posts carved to resemble palm trees.

The Gothic Elvaston Castle was designed by James Wyatt in the 1800's for the Earl of Harrington, this now forms a glorious backdrop for one of Derby's foremost attractions, the Elvaston Castle Country Park. The historic 200 acre landscape was laid out in the 19th-century, but at the time it was taken over by the local council in the 1970's the gardens had lain neglected for several decades. Today, this lovely landscape has been brought back to life, it includes such attractions as a Rose garden, Walled garden, a formal Italian garden with a parterre, herbaceous borders, yews and a lake. It is rich in wildlife habitation, and as far as gardens and parks go it is worth noting here that Derby enjoys an enviable reputation. Elvaston Castle was the first freely accessible country park to open its gates in Great Britain, and the Arboretum opened in Derby in 1840 was also the first of its kind to admit the general public en-mass.

At the centre of the town lies historic St.Peter's Church, this has its origins in Norman times but still shows some Norman work, overall the church we look at today dates mainly from the 14th-century. Other noted Derby churches include St.Werburgh's with its fine wrought iron font cover by Bakewell, and parish registers dating back to 1583 - interestingly these contain the entry of Dr.Samuel Johnson's marriage to Tetty Porter.

St.Mary's Roman Catholic Church has been a place of Christian worship for over 800 years, this has a magnificent 117 foot tower designed by Pugin in 1838 which was topped with a magnificent statue of the Blessed Virgin. Sadly this was removed during recent restoration to the tower. Another feature of the town is St. Mary's Chapel on St Mary's Bridge over the River Derwent. This dates from the 14th-century and is one of the few surviving bridge chapels in the country.

Apart from being well blessed with historic churches and grand houses there is also a considerable number of interesting domestic architecture in the town, some properties date back to Georgian times, with a few earlier still. The gracious black and white timber-framed Dolphin Inn dates from 1530. It is a former coaching inn said to have been the haunt of Highway men and believed to be haunted. The Dolphin retains many original features whilst offering modern facilities and every comfort.

Derby was created a city by Queen Elizabeth II during a Silver Jubilee visit of 1977. Its modern day history centres upon its renowned industries of Royal Crown Derby Porcelain and the motor manufacturing company of Rolls Royce Ltd. Derby has been the home of Rolls Royce from 1907 and a statue of Sir Henry Royce, the firm's founder, stands in the Arboretum. William Duesbury began the porcelain industry in 1756 when he set out to produce exquisite china. George III became a patron of the firm and granted Duesbury the right to use a crown on his wares, the use of "Royal" came later, this was at the instigation of Queen Victoria.

A son of Derby was the acclaimed painter Joseph Wright (1734-1797) he was a master of candlelight and firelight scenes, some of his work is on display in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

This lovely city in the Heart of England lies at the start of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site. It offers a find blend of old and new, with up to the minute shopping facilities, restaurants serving multi-cultural cuisine's, a fine Guildhall theatre with stage productions that are second only to those found in London. It also has excellent educational facilities, this can be seen in the many young people from home and abroad attending Derby's University. There are plenty of up to the minute leisure facilities including swimming and golf.

Away from the town the countryside is mainly agricultural, with the Derwent giving opportunities for boating and fishing. From Derby visitors are within easy reach of the counties most famous landmark - the Peak District National Park.

Recommended towns & villages near Derby

A picture of Swarkestone

Swarkestone (9 Pictures) in the county of Derbyshire

(4.7 miles, 7.6 km, direction S of Derby)

Swarkestone is a small enchanting village which grew up on the reeeded banks of the River Trent...

Halter Devil Chapel, Mugginton, Derbyshire

Mugginton (1 Pictures) in the county of Derbyshire

(6.2 miles, 9.9 km, direction NW of Derby)

This is a popular Derbyshire village with a church dating back to the Doomsday Book...

Parish Church, Denby, Derbyshire.

Denby (5 Pictures) in the county of Derbyshire

(6.9 miles, 11.2 km, direction NE of Derby)

Denby is famous for its beautiful decorative Stoneware pottery which has been exported all over the world...

Heage Windmill, Derbyshire

Heage (3 Pictures) in the county of Derbyshire

(8.9 miles, 14.3 km, direction N of Derby)

The village lies a short distance from the beauty spot Carsington Water, between the market town's of Ripley and Belper...

The old Co-operative Society buildings at Ripley, Derbyshire.

Ripley (8 Pictures) in the county of Derbyshire

(9.3 miles, 15.0 km, direction N of Derby)


All towns & villages in Derbyshire
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Nearby attractions..

Derby museum and Art Gallery, the Wardwick, Derby.

Derby Museum and Art Gallery (1 Pictures)

(0.3 miles, 0.4 km)

This exceptional museum is housed in an impressive building of modern times. It gives visitors of every age a fascinating.....

Derby Cathedral, Derby, Derbyshire.

Derby Cathedral (7 Pictures)

(0.3 miles, 0.5 km)


Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

Kedleston Hall (25 Pictures)

(3.7 miles, 6.0 km, direction NW)

The home of the Curzon family for over 800 years. The present mansion was originally designed for Sir Nathaniel Curzon in around.....

Elvaston Castle

Elvaston Castle (41 Pictures)

(3.8 miles, 6.1 km, direction SE)

The first view of this impressive early 19th-century house nestling above sweeping lawns is quite tantalizing, giving visitors a.....

Osborne's Pond, Shipley Country Park, Derbyshire

Shipley Country Park (30 Pictures)

(7.2 miles, 11.6 km, direction NE)

Shipley Country Park occupies a landscape of superb countryside with lakes, ponds, stunning woodland walks and a wealth of.....

image of staunton harold reservoir taken from hall roof, 2003

Staunton Harold Reservoir (5 Pictures)

(7.6 miles, 12.2 km, direction S)


American Adventure Theme Park

American Adventure Theme Park (4 Pictures)

(7.7 miles, 12.5 km, direction NE)


All attractions in Derby
All attractions in Derbyshire
Complete A to Z of attractions in England