Derby's Heritage Part 22 - It's All In The Names
w/e 30 October 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

In the previous part we passed a number of streets named after figures from the past significant in the history of Derby and much of this part follows the same theme. A little research into the street names can reveal a great deal of the history and heritage of an area and even the naming of new thoroughfares will contribute to the history for future generations to explore.

Mill Hill Corner

One such thoroughfare only recently completed has resulted in a large new island named Mill Hill Corner being constructed. To the left it has been named Mercian Way after the Regiment that has evolved from the former Sherwood Foresters, well known in these parts for recruiting members from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Green Lane (directly ahead) originally continued straight through to Normanton Road which is the direction we will follow after negotiating the new island by crossing Babington Lane (right) and the continuation of the new road (immediately to the right).
Lara Croft Way

The new road continues through to Osmaston Road and is named Lara Croft Way in honour of Core Design, the company that developed the Tomb Raider computer game in 1995. Core Design was set up in Derby in 1988 and was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1996. Although the company has gone through various acquisitions and development work for further games in the series has been transferred to America, it is fitting that the new road cutting a swathe through this part of Derby is named after the cyber heroine who has cut a swathe through not only the video games world but also the film industry with Angelina Jolie in the title role.
Sacheverel Street

Lara Croft Way has bisected Sacheverel Street (above) and Wilmot Street and each of these names has a story to tell. Sacheverel Street took its name in 1831 from the ancient Derbyshire family of Sacheverell who owned Babington House, Grounds of the house were sold to enable the street to be built. Wilmot Street also built in the grounds of Babington House was also named after a Derbyshire family. Wilmots owned Osmaston House but the street that carries their name owes its name to the branch of the family that inherited Stainsby House at Smalley from the Sitwells. They assumed that name in addition to their own and thus became associated with Babington Hall.
Serbian Church

Serbian Church EntranceTurning our attention briefly to the other side of Normanton Road the impressive features of a church form the most striking building and an inscription in the stonework above the door (left) says Christ Church with the date in Roman numerals of 1840. The spire stands at 350 feet above sea level and the church was actually built between 1838 and 1840 as part of St Werburgh's Parish by Bridgart builders of Derby to architect Matthew Habershon's design. Remaining as Crossroads at Mill Hill CornerChrist Church until 1976, it was designated a Grade II Listed Building in 1998 and now serves the community as the Serbian Orthodox Church of Apostles St Peter and St Paul.

A little further along Normanton Road, a large store (right) on the right at a crossroads confusingly has a large sign saying "Mill Hill Corner" and the road off to the right is the original Mill Hill Lane that took its name from a windmill that records show was demolished in 1816.
The road opposite Mill Hill Lane at the crossroads is Charnwood Street (centre below) and running parallel to it and either side of it are Leopold St (below left) and Melbourne St (below right). Before the construction of Lara Croft Way Leopold Street and Charnwood Street were one way in opposite directions to cope with the volume of traffic but they are now much quieter with the new road truncating Leopold Street at the far end.

Each of the streets like the others already mentioned reveals a history. Leopold Street was named after Queen Victoria's fourth son Prince Leopold George Duncan Albert and dates from 1867 with the first houses being built shortly afterwards. Charnwood Street also first saw the light of day at the same time but owes its name to Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. Footpaths in both streets were unadopted until 1877.

Melbourne Street too was unadopted in 1877 but had its origins in the earlier Love Lane which dates from at least 1852 when it was just a country lane popular with courting couples. The original name therefore was perhaps descriptive until after the death in 1871 of Alderman Robert Pegg, Mayor of Derby in 1855. Alderman Pegg lived in Melbourne House which he named after his birthplace in South Derbyshire and when the street was improved taking in part of the grounds of the house it was renamed. It was another resident of the village of Melbourne that lent his name to the settlement that has grown to become the capital of Victoria in Australia when it was named in 1837 after the British Prime Minister William Lamb, the 2nd Viscount Melbourne.

After crossing Melbourne Street there is another parallel road running between the Normanton and Osmaston roads. This one again dating from the mid 1870s is Hartington Street but while the source of this name is known it has an interesting story associated with it. It was originally intended to be named Harvey Street although this name is the subject of some conjecture. The street was lined with lime trees planted at the expense of the railway contractor Alderman Sir Abraham Woodiwiss who we came across earlier (Part 16) in The Strand where he financed the culverting of Markeaton Brook. The name "Harvey" does not appear to have any connection to the Woodiwiss family but it is possible that it was selected as it was the middle name of Sir Abraham's friend, William Harvey Whiston (1843-1922) a solicitor and long standing member of the Liversage Charity. The charity was responsible for another street in the area that adopted the name of Whiston Street in his honour. Sir Abraham built several properties in Hartington Street (right) and it was eventually named after statesman Sir Henry Compton Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington (1833-1908). Sir Henry later became the 8th Duke of Devonshire whose family seat is still in Derbyshire at Chatsworth.

Normanton Road

So far we have looked into the history of the streets off Normanton Road but this road follows the ancient route south towards Burton via Normanton-by-Derby, hence the name. We are only following Normanton Road as far as Grove Street seen here on the left but from here on lights and decorations were visible across the road. I believe that although these may be early for Christmas they may also be part of Diwali celebrations, the Festival of Lights, as the Normanton suburb of the city is home to many of Derby's Asian communities.
Grove Cottage

Grove Cottage date stoneGrove Street is just a short street that was built in 1807 when houses sold for just £40. Near the end of the street an engraved stone built into the last house on the right shows that Grove Cottage dates from much later in the century in 1875. The street originally ran through to Osmaston Road but redevelopment has curtailed that route for vehicles but not for foot traffic as the road now leads to Derby Arboretum. The Arboretum has been developed from a group of trees or grove that led to the naming of the street when it was originally built by the Grove Street Building Club.
End of Grove Street

From here on until we reach Osmaston Road we will turn our attention to the Arboretum which itself has a fascinating history. In this view from outside Grove Cottage, we can see the new development on the left that has curtailed the road, a footpath leading forward towards Osmaston Road with the first entrance to the Arboretum on the right. A second entrance can be seen further along the footpath at the end of the railings also on the right.
Grove Lodge

The second entrance is adjacent to Grove Lodge and it is from here that guided walks around the Arboretum occasionally start but leaflets are also available detailing a Tree Walk which can be enjoyed at leisure. The lodge was designed by Edward Buckton Lamb (1806–1869) an architect in the modern Gothic style. In the next part we will explore more of the Arboretum.
 Back to Part 21
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 23

Site Navigation

"Pick A Picture"
Weekly Favourites
Latest Images
Holidays &
Days Out
Special Features
The Guest Page
Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind
Jigsaw Puzzles
Recommended Links

Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.