Derby's Heritage Part 19 - Victoria St
w/e 31 July 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
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Our zig-zag route through central Derby that took us along St James's Street in Part 18 continues in this part as we return to the Corn Market but this time our way is along Victoria Street. Victoria Street as we have already learned was created when the Markeaton Brook was culverted, the work being completed in 1837 and the street named in honour of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne in the same year.


Duckworth SquareMuch of the south side of the street was cleared in the early 1960s and the URC that was incorporated into the new development became the fourth chapel to stand on this site. Congregationalists have worshipped here since 1783 following their formation in Derby five years earlier. As part of that same 1962 development, Duckworth Square, at the side of the URC (left), was created between Victoria Street and Macklin Street. It was surrounded by a multi-storey car park and the entrance was on the site of the former Empire Cinema. The cinema operated until 1961 but Duckworth Square was not an unmitigated success and was abandoned between 1986 and 1996, finally being demolished in 2004.

Much of the rest of the south side of Victoria Street was taken up in 1962 by Ranby's new store replacing their previous premises (Picture The Past DRBY004339) and the new building was later occupied by Debenhams (Picture The Past DRBY006263). Since the latter moved into the new Westfield Centre, the shop on Victoria Street has acquired a rather forlorn appearance and the name of "Silly Sids" that is now fixed over the door somehow doesn't portray the same quality shopping experience as the previous occupants.
Green Lane

The area between the Ranby's site and the rest of Victoria Street to the left in this image which dates mostly from the early 1900s is now pedestrianised but at one time it formed a main route to Burton On Trent. Called Green Lane and recorded as such in 1510, the name was a descriptive one but now the street is built up on both sides and the "greenery" for the most part has disappeared. An old pre-Ranby's picture from 1860 (Picture The Past DMAG300103) shows the south side of Victoria Street which also contained a number of courts or yards and the cottages on the left at the bottom of Green Lane must give an indication of the appearance of the area before much of the more recent architectural styles appeared on the scene.
Post Office

1903Now turning our attention to the north side of the street we see Derby's main Post Office. We saw in the previous part the much larger building of 1865 (left) on the corner of St James's Street but the Post Office business was transferred from there to the former Tramway offices (above) in 1997. The date on the current building being used by the Post Office shows that it was built in 1903 (right).
Athenæum Club

Royal HotelThe rest of the north side to the Corn Market is taken up by a Grade II Listed complex constructed between 1837 and 1839 that was built to a design by Robert Wallace the winner of a competition. The original design of a Post Office and the Royal Hotel also included the Athenæum Club which occupied the left hand side of this frontage. The right hand side in this view was the Royal Hotel which continued to, and rounded the corner into the Corn Market. The main entrance to the hotel was actually situated right on the corner (right) but the hotel closed in 1951 and the building was then used as Social Security offices. Recently the boarded-up building has been emblazoned with a yellow "To Let" sign but the white vans parked outside when I captured these images suggest that work is ongoing to renovate it.
Corn Market

Corn Market The adjacent building in the Corn Market is also Grade II Listed and it too was designed in similar style by Robert Wallace. It still bears the words "Derby And Derbyshire Banking Company" but the upper floors like others on this side of the Corn Market currently also carry "To Let" or "For Sale" signs. Even with these signs the west side of the Corn Market is far more attractive than the 1960s store opposite (right). The Corn Market, first named in 1510, was where grains were traded and by 1712 had acquired the alternative name of Great Street. In the eighteenth century grains were displayed in containers raised on posts (stoops).
St Peter's Bridge

Albert HouseAlbert StreetTo reduce noise hardwood setts were laid in 1877 followed by tram lines in 1880. Coming right up to date the area was pedestrianised in 1991. Standing in the Corn Market today there is a noticeable rise to Victoria Street for this is where the Markeaton Brook was crossed by St Peter's Bridge. Albert Street (right) is a continuation of Victoria Street along the line of the culverted brook and at the corner is Albert House (left) which was built in 1848 at the same time as the road construction.
St Peter's Street

We shall see Albert Street again later in what is becoming a mammoth walk through Derby city centre but for now our route will take us across Victoria Street and into St Peter's Street which was widened in 1871 by demolishing the east (left hand) side.
 Back to Part 18
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 20

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