Derby's Heritage Part 14 - Between The Museums
w/e 27 February 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

In our walk around Derby we had reached Pickford's House Museum on Friar Gate at the end of the previous part and now continuing along Friar Gate takes us to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Ongoing road works and repair and restoration to some of the buildings coupled with a dull February day do little to enhance the images but this is the hand we have been dealt and to appreciate the architecture fully it is probably necessary to look beyond the barriers and scaffolding.

Friar Gate Bridge

Friar Gate BridgeThe first architectural feature of note on leaving Pickford's House is the Friar Gate Railway Bridge. The bridge is more commonly seen from the opposite side (left) particularly by motorists as it crosses a one-way section of the road. A Grade II listed structure the ornately embellished cast iron double bridge was made in 1876 by Derby's own iron founder Andrew Handyside for the Great Northern Railway's extension. The extension did not go down well with nearby residents who objected strongly to the building of the line and the embellishments which included the Borough's badge in the spandrels were an attempt to pacify them. Following the infamous Dr Beeching review the line closed in May 1968. Friar Gate Station was to the right of the bridge in the image above and I can never see the bridge without remembering a pre-Christmas steam train ride from Ilkeston in 1959 with some school friends. How times have changed. A ten mile excursion would be regarded as nothing special by today's youngsters of a similar age but to us it was a great adventure. Since those halcyon days of youth the bridge has been allowed to deteriorate and Andy Savage has a special feature and petition on his derbyphotos website with a lot more information about the area as well as a friargatebridge blog dedicated to the work of Andrew Handyside.
The Friary

Stafford StreetProgressing along Friar Gate and crossing the Ford Street/Stafford Street (left) junction we come to The Friary. This is a Grade II* listed building that was built in 1731 for banker Samuel Crompton, son of the Abraham Crompton who had founded Derby's first bank in 1685. It is on the site of a Dominican Friary that had been founded in 1238. The house was extended and altered about 1770, owned by the Mozley family from 1817 until 1874 and was then modified and enlarged further for lace maker Henry Boden in 1875. It remained in the Boden family until 1922 and when his widow sold the house, it became a hotel in 1922 and a pub in 1996.
Old Buildings

There are many old buildings along both sides of this section of Friar Gate and many of them now operate as pubs, wine bars, nightclubs or restaurants. Across from The Friary are two examples of where old buildings have been converted. The black and white building dates from the 1600s but now houses "Le Bistrot Pierre" whilst its four gabled neighbour that was built in 1643 and belonged to Civil War hero Sir John Gell is now an Italian restaurant and carries the name "Zizzi".
Gas Light & Coke

Among the other buildings is this one that does not go back quite as far as those in the previous image although it is well over one hundred years old. The brickwork as well as telling us that it was once an office building for the Derby Gas Light & Coke Company also includes the date 1889. It has been occupied by various other concerns during its lifetime and although part of it is now empty, the left hand side has become a casino. To the right of the image is St Werburgh's Church.
St Werburgh's Chuirch

St Werburgh's Church (Grade B listed) marks the end of Friar Gate and the church is seen here from the mouth of Curzon Street. Although nothing remains of the original church, it was founded about 700 AD and was dedicated to St Werbergha, the granddaughter of the Mercian King Penda. Much of the present building despite its fifteenth century gothic style was rebuilt between 1889 and 1894 to a design by the prolific Victorian architect Sir Arthur Bloomfield. The tower is older than that though and cannonball shots thought to have been fired by Sir John Gell's Parliamentary Army as they entered the town on October 31st 1642, can still be seen on the northwest side. Another notable event in the church's history is that it is where the marriage of Dr. Samuel Johnson to Elizabeth (Tetty) Porter took place on July 9th 1735. Sadly St Werburgh's was declared redundant in 1990 and for a while part of the building was converted into a restaurant and shopping arcade but it currently stands empty.
Derby City Church

Deez NightclubThe Lord NelsonDiagonally across the road junction from St Werburgh's Church stands another old building on the corner of Curzon Street (left). This is currently the Deez nightclub but the ornate brick and stonework bearing the name "The Lord Nelson" (right) suggests that the building dates from the same period as other buildings nearby. Just a few steps along Curzon Street is the Derby City Church (above) which, like the Derby Gas Light and Coke building in Friar Gate, has brickwork that includes the date 1889 on the façade. The church is part of the Elim Pentecostal Church that was founded in 1915 in Monaghan Ireland by a Welshman, George Jeffreys.
Jacobean House

The continuation of Friar Gate is now called The Wardwick and on the corner of Becket Street is The Haus restaurant. It is also known as the Jacobean House and is Grade II* listed. Built in 1611 it was lived in by John Gisborne whose fourth son became Physician in Ordinary to King George III and President of the Royal College of Physicians. Tactfully modified in 1855 by architect John Price to allow access to Becket Street, the decorative building once boasted five gables but even in the twenty-first century with road works and heavy machinery present, it is still a magnificent sight.
Museum Square

LibraryThe Jacobean House was viewed from the opposite side of the road where an open area adjacent to the library, museum and art gallery complex was opened after refurbishment by the Mayor of Derby, Councillor Robin Wood on June 25th 1993 as Museum Square. The Square's focal point is a statue erected by public subscription of Michael Thomas Bass II (1799 - 1884), MP for Derby from 1848 to 1883. Bass was a brewer and expanded the family business established in Burton on Trent and in the process became a generous benefactor to both Burton and Derby. The adjacent museum complex was funded by Bass and is where we will start Part 15 of our Heritage Walk. At the moment it is shrouded by scaffolding (right) and is undergoing some major repair and restoration work so I'm hoping that more will be visible next month.
 Back to Part 13
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 15

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