Derby's Heritage Part 30 - Back To The Market Place
w/e 24 June 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

Our walk around Derby looking at the heritage of the city began at the Tourist Information Centre in the Market Place over two years ago in January 2010. Our initial foray took us north from the city centre to the Chester Green area but we passed through the Market Place again in the middle of 2011 on our way south to the Arboretum. Now in this 30th part of the walk we return once again to the Market Place.

Albert Street

We resume our walk at the end of Exchange Street where it meets Albert Street, which as we discovered earlier in the walk was pitched along the line of the Markeaton Brook in 1848. A continuation of Victoria Street from St Peter's Bridge, it was named after HRH Prince Albert, Prince Consort (1819-1861) to Queen Victoria who had acceded to the throne in 1837. The area had originally been named Old Cotton Mill Yard having been in existence since 1819.
Osnabrück Square

Osnabrück Square Information BoardAcross and to the right from Exchange Street is Osnabrück Square where an information board (left) on the wall of the Market Hall tells a little more about the Cotton Mill which gave rise to the original name of the area. The land to the north of Markeaton Brook had been purchased by the cotton pioneer Jedidiah Strutt and a six storey "fireproof" calico mill designed by his son William utilising cast iron with Baltic fir beams encased in Roman cement, was built here in 1793. The board continues: "In 1876 the mill was, ironically, Osnabrück Monumentdamaged by its second fire. It was then sold to the Corporation in February 1877 and demolished to extend the Market Hall and widen Albert Street."

Between the 1920s and 1980s the area was occupied by the Fish Market but it was then landscaped and renamed Osnabrück Square in 1986 after Derby's twin city in Germany. The original partnership treaty between the two cities had been signed on 17 February 1976. A monument presented by the people of Osnabrück features several inscriptions the one pictured (right) displaying the distance between the two being 800 kilometres or 500 miles.
Derby Market Hall

Passing through Osnabrück Square and by the monument our route now takes us into the Market Hall constructed to a design by Melbourne engineer Rowland Mason Ordish at a cost of £29000 and opened in 1866.
Victorian Masterpiece

Justifiably recognised as a "Victorian architectural masterpiece" the hall is now Grade II listed and is notable for its tunnel vaulted roof of iron and glass, supported by iron columns. The ironwork was made in Derby by J. and G. Haywood's Phoenix Foundry. The hall was designed by Borough Surveyor Robert Thorburn and after structural weaknesses were observed, the design modified by Thorburn's sucessor Edwin Thompson. The foundation stone was laid on February 16th 1864 by the Mayor of Derby, Thomas Roe Esq. Featuring market stalls at ground level with more traders operating from the balcony above, the hall was restored in 1989 and reopened by HRH the Princess Margaret in the November of that year.
Guildhall Theatre

Guildhall PassageGuildhallThere are several ways into and out of the Market Hall including one to Lock-up Yard and the Fish Market that we saw in Part 18 of this walk but by walking straight through the hall from Osnabrück Square we can leave via another small yard (left) and through this passage past the Guildhall Theatre (above) to reach the Market Square again in front of the Guildhall (right).
War Memorial

On leaving the passage under the Guildhall the most obvious feature apart from the Assembly Rooms opposite is the Derby War Memorial. Sculptured by George Arthur Walker in 1924 it initially honoured the fallen of the First World War but subsequently has had additional inscriptions added for the Second and other later conflicts. The bronze figures on the memorial are of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus.
Guildhall Clock Tower

An avenue of trees leads directly from the front of the Guildhall across the Market Place and it is here once a month that a Farmers' Market is held. It is worth walking across the Market Place to turn and survey the magnificent 103 foot high clock tower designed by local Derby man, Henry Duesbury that has stood here since 1842 after the original Guildhall was destroyed by fire a year earlier.

Stone bas-reliefDuesbury also incorporated into his design either side of the tower, stone bas-reliefs (left) by John Bell of London (1812-1896) representing judicial and municipal proceedings. The existing Guildhall was built on the remains of the fire damaged structure of 1828 by architect Matthew Habershon but a Guildhall has stood on or near this site since at least 1530. Originally used as a meeting place for trades guilds it also served as the Town Hall and council chambers and Assize Courts were also held in the building twice-yearly but today its primary function is that of the small and intimate Guildhall Theatre.
Royal Oak House

Royal Oak HouseRoyal Oak HouseAnother old building near to the Guildhall was also destroyed by fire, this time in the 1880s. That was an inn that had first been recorded on the site in 1732. The new building of 1889/90 and called the Royal Oak closed as a pub in 1916 and became offices for a variety of users over the years. It has been put into service as the Mayor's Parlour, the Town Clerk's office and has also been used by solicitors. Refurbished in 2004 Royal Oak House is now Derby's Register Office.

In the next part we will leave the Market Square again and see some of Derby's heritage of the future if that's not a contradiction of terms.
 Back to Part 29
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 31

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