Derby's Heritage Part 21 - Green Lane
w/e 25 September 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

Although most of the images in this part focus on some of the architectural gems in "Green Lane" I could quite easily have used "Churches, Chapels and Theatres" as a title even though most of them are not fulfilling their original objective having been converted for other uses.

Marrowbones Chapel

Corner BuildingsThe first of those converted chapels is actually in St Peter's Churchyard and is seen here from Green Lane. It was built in 1816 costing £1,100 and was nicknamed Marrowbones Chapel as butchers were the main benefactors. When the chapel ran out of money, £700 bought it for the Wesleyan Methodists and over the years it was extended, modernised, altered and redecorated until the 1990's when it was no longer a chapel but housed Derby County FC's shop. Currently the building is home to Rathbone, a UK-wide voluntary youth sector organisation. Old buildings on the corner (right) house a number of different businesses.

On the other corner of Green Lane and St Peter's Churchyard another former Methodist Chapel was converted in the 1970s to a furniture store and later into a Bingo Hall and Amusement Arcade. The shuttered doors betray the fact that Quicksilver is currently closed and the yellow signs advise that the ground floor retail premises are "To Let".
Derby Hippodrome

Diagonally opposite from Quicksilver on the corner of Macklin Street is the building that opened as a theatre/music hall in 1914 as the Derby Hippodrome. Between 1930 and 1950 it operated as a cinema but reopened in 1951 as a theatre before succumbing to the bingo craze in the early 1960s. Originally designed by Derby architect Alexander McPherson, it still features a number of large circular windows but hit the headlines in 2008 when, after standing empty for a time, "repair" work caused part of the Grade II listed building to collapse. An earlier claim to fame was that Flanagan and Allen wrote "Underneath the Arches" in one of the theatre's dressing rooms and the building is now the subject of a restoration plan by the Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust.
Presbyterian Chapel

Memorial StoneAs we start to ascend Green Lane the first street on the left is Gower Street and on the corner stands the former Presbyterian Chapel built by J Tait of Leicester. The Memorial Stone (left) is dated 1868 but after nearly a decade when it was not used it was refurbished and opened as a public house in 1979. It has operated under various names but another yellow sign declares that it is for sale by auction.

Office BlockThe number of empty and disused buildings in this area is symptomatic of the economic climate and the award by the government of a rail contract to German competitors that will put 1400 people out of work at Bombardier means that the Job Centre occupying part of the eight storey block on the north side of Gower Street will soon be thronged with local people seeking work. Although this series is concerned with the heritage of Derby, I have to say that this concrete and glass office block seems at odds with the rest of the architecture in the area.
Grand Theatre

Gower Street was formerly known as Blood Alley but was renamed after William Leveson-Gower (pronounced Looson Gore) who was the Derby MP between 1847 and 1852. It runs between Green Lane and Babington Lane and facing Gower Street at the far end is the former Grand Theatre. This was Derby's second theatre and was built in 1886 to a design by Oliver Essex. Like the former Presbyterian Chapel at the other end of Gower Street the theatre has operated more recently as a night club under a variety of names and as the sign now says, it is a Buffet Restaurant.

On the right hand side of Green Lane are streets that, although they appear very similar and unremarkable, an investigation into the origins of their names reveals something of Derby's past. Macklin Street for example that we passed earlier was named after Revd. Roseingrave Macklin (1770-1863) the first vicar and patron of Christ Church on Normanton Road.

Crompton StreetCrompton Street (left) almost opposite Gower Street, commemorates banker Alderman John Bell Crompton JP DL (1788-1859) Mayor of Derby in 1828, 1837 and 1842 whilst the name for Wilson Street (right) Wilson Streetwas probably inspired by the birth of Revd. Macklin's eldest son in 1843, Gerard Roseingrave Wilson Macklin. The vicar's grandfather had assumed the name Wilson by Royal Licence in 1784 as heir to Revd Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man.

A third street, Forester Street is also off the right hand side of Green Lane and we will pass it a little further on (see below).
Degge Street

But returning to the left hand side of Green Lane and opposite Wilson Street is Degge Street. This short street was once the drive and led to Abbott's Hill House, built by Simon Degge MD FSA FRS (1694-1729). Simon was the great grandson of Sir Simon Degge (1612-1703) High Sheriff of Derbyshire.

From this point on Green Lane near Degge Street a glance back from the brow of the hill reveals two prominent features in the distance - the old tower of the cathedral and the newer, but less impressive, features of the Jurys Inn. Green Lane was the original southwards route to Burton Upon Trent and was first recorded in 1510 when the name was descriptive but is now far from being so.
College of Art

College of Art detailUndoubtedly the most impressive architectural structure on Green Lane is the Grade II* listed former College of Art adjacent to Degge Lane that was built in the grounds of Abbott's Hill House in 1876 by the Derby Corporation and enlarged in 1894. The Gothic style with pronounced Arts and Crafts elements resulted from the collaboration of F. W. Waller (1846-1933) of Gloucester, a former student and principal Thomas Simmonds. It became part of the University of Derby and home to the 126 seat Metro Cinema showing more alternative, art house and foreign films. With the opening of the Derby Quad, the building sadly now stands empty.
Trinity Baptist Church

Green Hill Villas 1874Next to the former College of Art is the Trinity Baptist Chapel but unlike the previous religious buildings we have seen so far in the vicinity of Green Lane, this one is still open and fulfilling its original function as a place of worship. It was built about 1880 and stonework (left) on the adjacent Green Hill Villas show that they too date from 1874.

Across from these buildings is Forester Street (right) which was named after Alderman Richard Forester JP DL FLS (1771-1843) son of Richard French and Millicent Mundy who took the name Forester on reaching his majority as he was the posthumous heir of William Forester of Broadfield Hall in Hertfordshire. A fading painted sign on the building in the distance indicates that there is yet another chapel and this one too is also open. The premises in Forester Street house the Derby Central Spiritualist Chapel, one of a number of similar churches affiliated to the Spiritualists' National Union in the East Midlands.

Major road works have recently been completed in Derby and Green Lane now meets a large new traffic island that has been named Mill Hill Corner (left). A new road has been forged through to complete the inner ring road but Babington Lane (right) that we saw briefly earlier along Gower Street also meets at this junction. It also means that I may have to revise my original plans when we resume in Part 22.
 Back to Part 20
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 22

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