Derby's Heritage Part 02 - Irongate
w/e 28 February 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Irongate is not a particularly long street but is packed with interesting buildings, many of which are historically significant and form part of Derby's rich heritage.

Lloyds TSB

The eighteenth century building now occupied by Lloyds TSB on the corner of Sadler Gate bears a striking resemblance to Franceys's House that we saw in the Market Place and this is not at all surprising as it was created by the same mason. The building served as offices for the Bemrose printing business during the nineteenth century but before that it had been commandeered as the residence of Sir John Gordon of Glenbucket when Bonnie Prince Charlie was in town between the 4th and the 6th December 1745. Bemrose moved on to become an international company based both in the UK and also in America but before we move on, note the width of Sadler Gate at the side of the bank.
East Side

 Until 1866 Irongate too was the same width as Sadler Gate but it was widened between 1866 and 1867 when the whole of the east side was demolished and all of these buildings above were built after that date. Originally Irongate had grown up along the course of a pre-historic trackway that existed long before the settlement that eventually became Derby.
Jorrocks & Foulds

 Back on the west side the single building that adjoins Lloyds Bank has been split into two and now houses Jorrocks Bar and Foulds Music Shop. Jorrocks Bar is more in keeping with the building's past as it was once used as a coaching inn and was known as the George. It was built in 1693 by Alderman Samuel Heathcote who had to take out a one thousand year lease as the frontage encroached onto the public thoroughfare. The original inn survived for about a hundred and sixty of those years before closing in 1853.
Wright Memorial

A little further along Irongate a marble pillar has been erected as a memorial to the artist Joseph Wright who was born in Derby in 1734. The memorial stands on the site of his birthplace and was erected in 1992.
Memorial Detail

As well as bearing the dates of his birth and death (1797) the memorial is surmounted by an Orrery (above right) and a plaque that tells some of his life story. An Orrery was an instrument used in the 1700s to study the movement of the planets and it features in one of Wright's most famous works. The plaque reads as follows:

"Joseph Wright of Derby 1734-1797 Born on September 3rd 1734 at 28 Irongate, Derby.
Son of an attorney, at 17 he trained in London with Thomas Hudson whose pupils included Joshua Reynolds. Returning to Derby he painted portraits of the local gentry exhibiting in London at the Society of Artists. Drawing inspiration from the C17 Dutch masters he was renowned for his exploitation of the dramatic effect of light and shade and for paintings of industrial and scientific subjects. His best known painting 'A Philosopher lecturing on the Orrery' 1764-66 is represented in abstract form capping this memorial. He travelled in Italy between 1773 - 1775 and settled in Bath before returning to Derby in 1777. Wright continued to develop his work exhibiting landscapes and portraits and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1781. This memorial was erected by Derby City Council in 1992."
34 Irongate

The memorial, which can be seen on the left of this image, stands outside 34 Irongate which, although not the actual building, is the location of Wright's birthplace. Examples of Wright's work including his famous Orrery painting can be seen in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
Standing Order

The next building of interest along Irongate is the Standing Order pub but it's appearance and the clue in the name give away its original usage as a bank. Built in 1880 to a design by J A Chatwin, the guided walk leaflet to this part of Derby describes the building as an "imposing and very grand structure" and I wouldn't argue with that.
Whitehurst & Keene

Two more buildings of note on Irongate stand almost directly across from the Cathedral. On the left the building with the boarded up frontage has recently been trading as an estate agent's business but since closing the old shop sign for A E Moult, Draper has been revealed. Much earlier in its history, it was the home of John Whitehurst FRS (1713 - 1788) horologist, scientist and philosopher and in 1855 underwent some structural changes. The roof was removed and the glass structure that still exists was added. This was to create a studio for the pioneer Victorian photographer Richard Keene (1825 - 1894). Keene's work includes many of the nineteenth century images of Derby and its surrounding district.

On the right is a building that is thought to date from around 1540 and is believed to be the town house of the Meynells of Bradley from about 1660. The aforementioned John Whitehurst had his shop here and Richard Keene also had an early studio before moving to his adjacent larger premises. A number of different business enterprises now occupy the building.
 Back to Part 01
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 03

Site Navigation

"Pick A Picture"
Weekly Favourites
Latest Images
Holidays &
Days Out
Special Features
The Guest Page
Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind
Jigsaw Puzzles
Recommended Links

Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.