Derby's Heritage Part 07 - East Of The River
w/e 25 July 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

The majority of the places already seen in this series are mentioned in a "Derby Walks" leaflet available from the Tourist Information Centre in the Market Place. They feature in either the "Joseph Wright Walk", the "City Circuit" or both and to paraphrase Eric Morecambe, my route has visited all the right locations but not necessarily in the right order.

Bridge Gate

Footpath by Ring RoadWe now pick up a walk from another leaflet to investigate an area that lies mainly to the east of the River Derwent in the Little Chester area of the city. The leaflet describes a circular walk and we join it about half way round outside St Mary's Catholic Church on Bridge Gate. We will return here after completing the circuit, again visiting places not necessarily in the right order, but we begin by following the footpath (centre of the image above and again in the thumbnail to the left) by the side of the ring road. The leaflet titles the walk "Southern Gateway" as it lies at the southern end of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Chapel On The Bridge

The footpath leads to Sowter Road near its junction with Duke Street and directly ahead is the bridge over the river. The building seen here at the end of the bridge houses an ancient chapel. Two plaques on the side of the chapel read "Near this place on 24th July 1588 Nicholas Garlick, Robert Ludlam, Richard Sympson, Catholic Priests suffered martydom for their faith" and "The 13th century chapel of St Mary on the Bridge, enlarged about 1400AD was restored in 1930 by the Derbyshire Archaeological Society as a memorial to Sir Alfred Haslam through the generosity of his family." Derby became a centre of excellence for engineering skills and Haslam a name well known for the manufacture of refrigeration plants for use in ships and cold stores.
St Mary's Bridge

The chapel can be seen here from the opposite bank of the Derwent which is crossed by a three arch bridge designed by Thomas Harrison of Chester. One of the piers is carved with the date 1794 but a bridge has spanned the river here since the 13th century and a picture of 1728 shows a seven arch bridge. A toll was once charged for crossing the bridge but a traffic census as industry expanded in Derby was the forerunner to the bridge being replaced. Today of course most of the traffic uses the ring road to the left of this image from where drivers and passengers alike are probably unaware of the river crossing.

A comparison between this image with a previous one taken in 2002 may be made by following this link to pages that contain more details and images of both the outside and inside of the chapel.
Bridge Inn

On the corner diagonally across the bridge from the chapel is the Bridge Inn. Prior to the construction of the 1794 bridge a miller called Mr Deveril had a shop and house here but the bridge called for the demolition of the house and a new one was built for him about 1790. By the middle of the 19th century the house had become an inn and was a popular venue for regattas on the river. By the 1940s the sporting focus had switched to boxing and the Bridge Inn was home to the Derwent Amateur Boxing Club.
St Katherine's House

Mansfield RoadFrom the Bridge Inn our route is now northwards along Mansfield Road (left) and new buildings line the road at this point. The thumbnail image shows some "modern" architecture on the left but St James House on the right, completed in 1999, sympathetically complements the surroundings. It stands close to Fox Street, Fox being, like the aforementioned Haslam, another name highly regarded in engineering circles. Fox Brothers made machine tools. St James House is now occupied by the Derby City Mental Health Department while St Katherine's House, a former grain warehouse built in 1861 (above) houses the Coroners Office.
Cantilevered Loading Bay

Following the onset of the railways in the 19th century, Derby became an important "railway town" and had extensive carriage and locomotive workshops. This cantilevered loading bay also dating from about 1860 standing alongside St Katherine's House along with other buildings on this side of Mansfield Road were all part of St Mary's Railway Goods Wharf and although converted for other uses, they are now all listed buildings. Derby's status as a major railway town grew even more after 1844 when three companies amalgamated to become the Midland Railway establishing their headquarters in the town.
Duke Of Clarence

We shall come across a third name in the engineering world (Handyside) who had premises in this area of the city in a later part but our the leaflet now directs us past the Duke of Clarence pub to St Paul's Church. With having already seen Duke Street, I had expected there to be some relevance between the Duke of Clarence, later to become King William IV, and Derby but I have yet to find any significant connection.
St Paul's Church

Trees between St Paul's Church and Mansfield Road made it extremely difficult to capture a decent image from the front so this one from the side, although still shielded by the leaves on the trees shows more of the building. It was built in 1848 with locally quarried stone and cost £1,740. The church was consecrated on 22 May 1850 by Rt Revd John Lonsdale, Bishop of Lichfield. The church is also home to the Little Chester Heritage Centre which is usually open free of charge on Sunday afternoons during the summer months.

War MemorialChester GreenIn front of the church is a war memorial and although there is a plaque referring to the 1939-45 war the inscription at the bottom of the main memorial (left) refers to those who laid down their lives in the Great European War of 1914-20 rather than the First World War of 1914-18 that I had expected to see. Chester Green (right) to the north of the church, a recreation area and one of the earliest public spaces in Derby was created between 1882 and 1886 and is where we will continue the walk in Part 08.
 Back to Part 06
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 08

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