Derby's Heritage Part 20 - St Peter's ....
w/e 28 August 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

All of the images in this part have some connection to St Peter for having crossed Victoria Street at the site of St Peter's Bridge we continue along St Peter's Street as far as St Peter's Church and then turn into St Peter's Churchyard. In a later part we will return from the opposite direction to see the rest of St Peter's Street.

East Side

From the end of St Peter's Street, the east side displays three distinct architectural styles. The one furthest away is on the corner of East Street and is worthy of a much closer look which we will do in a later part. It also marks the extent of our progress in this part along St Peter's Street which was pedestrianised in 1991. The more modern style of architecture of the Audley Centre in the middle dates from the early 1970s and is a development by Audley Properties that replaced a large Victorian building that once housed the Midland Drapery department store. The development incorporated a shopping arcade through to East Street but it was never a 100% success and the opening of the Westfield Centre appears to have finally sealed its fate although the businesses fronting East Street and St Peter's Street are still going concerns. The closest building was where Marks & Spencer traded until they too moved into Westfield but like so many of our cities, the architecture above the shop fronts is more demanding of our attention than any of the occupants past or present.
West Side

The western side of St Peter's Street has been much more successful in retaining some of the excellent architecture from an earlier period but again it is to the upper storeys we must look to appreciate the features. This four storey building opposite the Audley Centre was a rival to the Midland Drapery store it faced and traded under the name of Thurman and Malin. It was founded in 1879 by John Thurman and William Malin and traded as drapers, hosiers and undertakers, and only closed as recently as 1970.
St Peter's Church

About half way along St Peter's Street a road called St Peter's Churchyard leads off to the right and this is the route we will follow but first a look at St Peter's Church that stands on the corner and which was recorded here in the Domesday Book although it has been rebuilt twice since. (Check out the History section of the church's website for more).
Stone & Glass

The church has the distinction of being the oldest mediaeval church in Derby and it is recorded that during the Black Death crisis in 1349, many bodies were buried vertically in the churchyard to save space because of the number of victims. Today there is a quiet area in the churchyard where people can sit and reflect just a few steps away from the busy shopping area. A stone pinnacle also stands near this quiet area and presumably comes from when the tower was rebuilt in the nineteenth century. I had hoped to gain entry to the church to photograph the Florence Nightingale window but was foiled on two separate occasions when the doors were locked so had to make do with the image on the notice board outside. The window was originally installed in the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary chapel in 1960 but was moved to the church in 2010 when the DRI closed. For more information see the Florence Nightingale Window on the church's website and this Wikipedia entry.
Corner Building

St Peter's ChurchyardSo leaving the church and turning into St Peter's Churchyard (left), the first building of note stands on the corner and was built in the 1880s. B5021The three storey structure with dormer windows and a projecting cornice parapet is most noticeable for its four storey conical tower. Although currently standing empty, Boots traded from here for many years before moving diagonally across the road to the corner of East Street and then on again.

A cast iron road sign B5021 (right) still adorns the wall similar to the one in Victoria Street although the 1991 pedestrianisation scheme meant an end to through traffic.
Contrasting Architecture

The black and white building next door does not date from the Tudor period despite its appearance although it is well over a hundred years old being built in 1894. Genuine or not the mock Tudor appearance is an aesthetically pleasing addition to the area. Also visible in this image are the aforementioned names of Thurman and Malin on the contrasting architecture of the adjacent building. These were additional premises built about 1900 for the company that traded around the corner in St Peter's Street opposite the Midland Drapery store.
Court & Revenue

County CourtInland RevenueAnother striking feature of St Peter's Churchyard is the former combined County Court and Inland Revenue building with the words being visible in the stonework (left & right) at the top of the Grade II listed building which also sports some fine statues. The interior was altered in 1992 to form offices but currently the blue sign on the wall states "Serviced Offices To Let and Conference Room Hire".
Old Grammar School

Behind the church and across from the Court/Revenue building is the Old Grammar School which has been restored with many of its original features retained and is now occupied by a hairdressing salon which opened here in 2006. From 1992 however until it closed in 2005, this was the Derby Heritage Centre, founded by Richard Felix who was responsible for introducing the "Ghost Walks" around what is reputed to be the most haunted city in the country.

St Peter's ChurchyardThe premises were built in 1554, when a Royal Charter was granted by Mary Tudor and a blue plaque on the building goes on to say "The school, universally known as Derby School, occupied this site for over 300 years before moving to St Helen's House. Rev. John Cotton (1585-1652) a founder of Boston, Mass. USA; John Flamsteed F.R.S. (1646-1719) the first Astronomer Royal and Joseph Wright A.R.A. (1734-1797) 'Wright of Derby', Painter were taught here." It is also here in St Peter's Churchyard that the pedestrian area ends (right) and from where we will continue to Green Lane in the next part.
 Back to Part 19
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 21

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