Derby - The Cathedral
w/e 29 June 2008
this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
The opening of the new Westfield Centre in Derby
has resulted in several major businesses relocating and forced
several smaller concerns into closing due to the drop in passing
trade in the traditional shopping centre of Derby. Moves are
afoot to revive the area along with the adjacent and much vaunted
Cathedral Quarter which I believe is still one of the most attractive
parts of central Derby as a short walk along Iron Gate from Full
Street to the Market Place should illustrate.
At the junction of Full Street and Iron Gate is Derby's oldest
pub, The Dolphin Inn that was originally built about 1530 but
had an extension added on the Full Street side in the 18th century.
Not only is the pub said to have been frequented by highwayman
Dick Turpin in 1738 and also by Bonnie Prince Charlie's troops
about 1745, it is also reputed to be haunted which is not really
surprising as the city is well known as being the "Ghost
Capital of England".
The Dolphin lies almost literally in the shadow of Derby Cathedral
but it is not until you stand at the foot of the tower - at 212
feet tall, the second highest in England - that you really appreciate
the scale of it. All Saints' Church is thought to have been founded
by King Edmund in 943AD but the tower was not built until the
time of Henry VIII between 1511 and 1532. By the early 18th century
the church structure had become unsafe and with the exception
of the tower was demolished and replaced in 1723. It was not
until 1927 though that the Parish Church of Derby was raised
to Cathedral status.
Visitors are often allowed to climb the 189 steps to the top
of the tower passing the bell ringing room. The tower contains
ten bells which is the oldest ring of ten bells in the world.
The tower has also been the focus of attention in recent years
as web cams have enabled bird watchers everywhere to view Peregrine
Falcons that have nested on the eastern face.
Iron Gate continues past the Cathedral along what was once the
main thoroughfare through the town centre between London and
Carlisle. Bennetts, in the centre of this picture, began life
in 1734 as an ironmongers and expanded steadily over the years.
It now stocks a large range of fashions and cosmetics; gifts
and interior accessories; food and not forgetting its ironmongery
roots, is well known throughout the area as a supplier of quality
goods. Iron Gate was redeveloped in the late 1800s when the road
About half way along Iron Gate is a tribute to Joseph Wright,
the Derby born artist famous for his oil paintings. He began
life on September 3rd, 1734 at 28 Iron Gate, went to London to
study in 1751 and travelled to Italy before returning first of
all to Bath but then back to Derby where he spent the rest of
his life, dying at his Queen Street home on August 29th, 1797.
He was the first professional painter to express the spirit of
the Industrial Revolution using an effect called Chiaroscuro
which emphasises the contrast of light and dark.
Entering the Market Place the eye is immediately drawn to Henry
Duesbury's Grade II listed Guildhall. This was formerly the Town
Hall and was built in 1842. A more recent structure seen here
immediately behind the two figures towards the right of the image,
is a water feature that (when operating) spurts and sprays an
arc of water from about ten feet high, waterfall fashion to the
Although not a well in the accepted meaning of the word, an example
of a well dressing is on display between the water feature and
the Guildhall about this time each year. The theme for this year's
display is the Derby Ram and although I believe it was prepared
by the same team from Spiral Arts responsible for Ripley's Well
Dressing a couple of weeks ago, this one is credited to QUAD,
a gallery, cinema, cafe bar and workshop that anyone can use.
The Cathedral Tower as we have already seen is the second highest
in England but in Derbyshire folklore, no ram is larger than
the Derby Ram and this led to the widespread use of the ram as
a symbol for Derby and also the nickname of Derby County Football
Oh, as I was going to Derby upon a market day,
I saw the biggest ram, sir that was ever fed with hay.
The little boys of Derby, Sir, they came to beg his eyes,
To kick about the streets, Sir, for they were football size.
It's just a shame then or perhaps a sign of the times we live
in, that it is deemed necessary to surround the display with
a fence that can be chained and padlocked.
to see a page from 2002 about the Derby Ram but please note that
the Main Centre statue has been relocated due to the construction
of the Westfield Centre, the Heritage Centre and the Derby County's
city centre shop have both closed and although Pride Park is
still the same, the Rams have enjoyed the elation of promotion
and suffered the misery of relegation from the Premiership since
(For more images from Well Dressing Festivals see the Well Dressing