Derby's Heritage Part 28 - London Road
w/e 29 April 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

We left the previous part of this series by walking from the "Railway Village" area of Derby along Liversage Walk and turning towards Trinity Street and we resume this part near Trinity Street's junction with London Road, the road we will follow back into the city centre.

Nightingale Home

Although the Nightingale Home is now closed the main entrance with a statue of the famous "Lady with the Lamp" above the door is situated near the road junction. A newspaper report of November 2011 stated that "Nightingale House has been sold by the NHS and is to be redeveloped in a multi-million-pound scheme" but so far there are no signs of activity at the building which has been boarded up since 2009. Thought to be one of the first buildings in London Road it dates from the 1820s, was designed by William Smith, the same architect responsible for North Parade (see Part 11) and originally named Chetwynd House. It was purchased by the trustees of the Royal Derby and Derbyshire Nursing and Sanitary Association in 1904 and run as a private nursing and midwifery hospital until 1948 and the formation of the NHS.

Renamed as the Nightingale Home for Maternity Cases it continued as a maternity home until the late 1970s and then stood empty for five years before opening its doors again in the 1980s as a hospice for the Nightingale Macmillan Unit which has since moved to the new Royal Derby Hospital. The front of the building is listed which means that the statue above the door would be preserved when refurbishment work begins either in situ or there is an option to move it to the new hospital.
Queen Victoria

Facing down Trinity Street from the grounds of the former Derby Royal Infirmary (DRI) is another statue, that of the unmistakable figure of Queen Victoria (1819-1901). The statue has stood here since 1925 when it was moved from its original position at The Spot where it had been erected in 1906 and unveiled by her son King Edward VII on 28 June in that year.
DRI Buildings

Queen Victoria herself had visited Derby on the 21st May 1891 to lay the Foundation Stone at the hospital and bestowed the "Royal" title on the Derby General Infirmary at the same time. The Infirmary had been founded in 1810 but the main part by Young and Hall was not built until the 1890s. More buildings have been added since but the Victorian block in a red brick Jacobean style can still be picked out. The DRI however has ceased to exist having merged on the site of the Derby City Hospital to form the new Royal Derby Hospital. Some of the original DRI buildings have now formed the London Road Community Hospital and provide rehabilitation and intermediate care, inpatient facilities and some outpatient services. On the same visit in 1891 Queen Victoria also Knighted, Alfred Haslam, MP and Derby Mayor. This took place on the platform at Derby Station. Haslam had paid for the extensive welcoming displays along the route of the Royal visit (and I bet the phrase "cash for honours" was not even thought of in those days).
Assemblies of the First Born Church

On the opposite side of London Road to the former DRI and partially obscured by the trees that line the road, is the Assemblies of the First Born Church. It was originally consecrated in 1836 as St George's Church and was rebuilt in 1903. By 1973 it was Holy Trinity and was in a poor state of repair ready for demolition when it was purchased by the Assemblies. The Assemblies had begun in the 1960s with a small number of followers in a room in the Normanton district of Derby from where they went on to hiring a hall in Osmaston Road before buying an old bakery in St James Road for their meetings. The Church now has about twenty branches around the UK.
Florence Nightingale Statue

Back on the other side of the road a little further on is another statue of Florence Nightingale. Florence, born 12 May 1820, was named after the city where she was born in Italy, and after 1865 spent most of her life in London Florence Nightingale Statuealthough did spend some time in Derbyshire too. She died in London aged 90 on 13 August 1910 and was buried near her parent's home in Hampshire but still has strong ties with Derbyshire. When the family returned to England from Italy they split their time between Embley in Hampshire during the winter, spending the summer months in Lea Hurst, Derbyshire. Her contribution to nursing during the Crimean War and the rest of her life is well documented elsewhere and she received a number of decorations and awards for her work. Her statue here in Derby was designed by Princess Feodora v Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Countess v Gleichen in 1911.
Liversage Hospital

Directly across the road from the Florence Nightingale statue is a Listed II structure called the Liversage Hospital although the complex included thirteen almshouses, a warden's house and a boardroom. I am not sure exactly when they where built as one source says 1863 and another 1836 so the last two figures may have been transposed somewhere along the line. What is undisputed though is that the organisation responsible for the buildings was the Liversage Charity, an ancient Derby foundation dating from 1529. I have just discovered that the architect was John Mason of Derby whose lifespan was between 1794 and 1847 which seems to suggest that 1836 is the more likely date of the almshouses' construction. The Liversage Trust is still active today and owns over 130 properties in the social housing sector.

London Road & Traffic Street

At first glance the continuation of the route along London Road from the intersection of the inner ring road sees "heritage" taking a back seat being dominated as it is by the new Westfield shopping centre. There are one or two things worth noticing in passing though such as the inn sign of the Royal Telegraph pub on the corner which features an image of Queen Victoria. The pub was built in 1937 replacing an earlier one of 1833 and has gone by various names during its history including The Telegraph, Trinian's and Strutts but has now reverted to The Royal Telegraph a name the original pub adopted after a stage coach that ran between London and Manchester. The pub stands on the corner of London Road and Traffic Street which, if I am reading the raised plaque on the pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road correctly, records that Traffic Street was opened by the Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Edward A Twyford Kt. Mayor of London on February 24th 1938. The plaque also carries the names of Ald. E. E. Paulson J.P. (Mayor) and Ald. W. R. Raynes J.P. (Estates Committee Chairman) plus the names of the Town Clerk and the Borough Surveyor. With so many dignitaries present the opening of the road must have been a grand occasion almost set to rival the Royal visits!
Continuing across Traffic Street our route now follows London Road by the modern lines of the Westfield Centre, a development that it is fair to say has divided local opinion on its architectural merit.

A building of a more traditional design although obviously dating from the 1930s stands opposite the Westfield Centre near the end of London Road. This building opened as The Gaumont Palace cinema in 1934 and was also used as a theatre before adopting the name of the Odeon in 1965. As part of the Rank Organisation it suffered when multi-plex cinemas made their presence felt and it closed in 1983 only to re-open as the New Trocadero cinema and Bingo hall before closing again in 1988. Since then the building has been the venue of the Zanzibar night club when the imitation palm tree and rather garish head (hardly worthy of the word "statue") were surprisingly allowed by the planning authorities to be added to the façade but currently it once again stands unused.

Personal note: It was here in the mid 1960s that I saw Adam Faith and The Roulettes top the bill with The Searchers being the support act during a one night stand tour of the UK. Suffice it to say that a below par Searchers set to close to first half led to what can only be described as a less than enthusiastic reception whilst the second half opened by The Roulettes and closed by Adam Faith left the audience screaming for more! I suppose in this Heritage Walk around Derby, that's part of my own personal heritage.
The Spot

The SpotThe SpotLondon Road meets Osmaston Road and St Peter's Street at The Spot which is where the statue of Queen Victoria that we saw earlier stood between 1906 and 1925. It was unveiled here by King Edward VII on 28th June 1906. Redevelopment of The Spot in 1993 included the installation of a clock tower which now forms a focal point and also marks the place where we will begin Part 29 of this series.

 Back to Part 27
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 29

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