Derby's Heritage Part 31 - To The Silk Mill
w/e 29 July 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

I looked up the word "heritage" and one definition I found was "Something that is passed down from preceding generation". The Derby Quad building therefore, a centre for art and film with a cinema, gallery, cafe bar and workshop can probably be classed as Derby's heritage of the future but its design has no doubt split the present generation. I saw it being constructed in recent years and often quipped that either the draughtsman's set square must have slipped or the builder had the plans folded when referring to them.

Whatever your opinion it has to be admitted that it is a striking building standing as it does in the Market Square next to the Royal Oak House that is now home to the Derby's Register Office and which dates from the 1880s. That is where we concluded Part 30 of the Heritage Walk around the city and we resume this part in the Sir Peter Hilton Memorial Garden at the rear of the Quad.

Korean Memorial

The stone memorial to the Derby British Korean Veterans in the garden was constructed in July 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ceasefire and is inscribed "In memory of those who gave their lives in the Korean war". It bears the dates 1950 and 1953 and the words "Not one of them is forgotten before God".
Another small plaque (right) close to the memorial reads "Dedicated to the memory of Colonel Sir Peter Hilton KCVO MC** KStJ Hon LLD JP Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire 1978-1994. This plaque was commissioned by the Derby and District Ex-Services Association. This garden has been designed in co-operation with the Derbyshire Association for the Blind." Sir Peter served in the Royal Artillery in World War II and was evacuated from Dunkirk, going on to see action at Alamein, in Italy and the Normandy invasion of 1944, when he was badly wounded. He went to Greece as an instructor in 1950 but was recalled due to the Korean War.

Boy and Goose

As the plaque shows Sir Peter was honoured several times and he became Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire in 1978, a post he held until 1994. This small garden dedicated to his memory features a statue of a "Boy and Goose" as the centrepiece among the raised flower beds. The bronze statue of 1926 by Andrew Fisher was originally known as the "Boy and Gander" and it has stood in several locations including the Market Place and the Riverside Gardens before eventually finding its present position here in the Memorial Garden.
Former Magistrates' Court

Very early on in this series we left the Market Place and headed north along Irongate towards Derby Cathedral and we now head off in the same direction but this time along Full Street. On the corner of Full Street and Derwent Street are the former Magistrates' Courts which are Listed Grade II buildings. They were completed to a 1931 design by Borough Architect Charles Herbert Aslin in 1934, incorporated a Police Station and were part of the Central Improvement Scheme to rebuild the entire riverside area. The Courts and the Police Station have stood empty for a number of years now pending redevelopment but with the current financial climate and the listed status of the Courts, I fear the future for the site is still uncertain.
Full Street

Whereas Irongate leads to the front entrance to the cathedral, Full Street passes to the rear. The origin of the name Full Street is the subject of some debate as it was once thought to be because of the occupation of cloth fulling by the river's edge. Alternatively it could also be from the Anglo Saxon "ful" meaning "foul" but in contrast it was later a highly fashionable address and was one of the first streets in Derby to be paved. Whatever the truth of its origin, the street has gone by this name for centuries and was shown as such on a map of 1599. Today it is not unusual to see ornithologists gathered here training their binoculars and telescopes on the tower of the cathedral as they watch the peregrine falcons that nest there. Those with internet access though can get a close up view of the birds via a dedicated webcam.
Amen Alley

The narrow street at the side of the cathedral leading through to Irongate is called Amen Alley reputedly because people at prayer in the church could be heard saying their 'Amens' here. There is an interesting photo on the Picture The Past site showing a building where the cars are now parked that was standing derelict on the corner of Full Street in 1882. Click here to view.
Bonnie Prince Charlie

Directly across Full Street from the cathedral is an open space now called Cathedral Park where a statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie was unveiled in 1995. The statue is by Glossop born sculptor Anthony Stones and commemorates the Prince's arrival in Derby in 1745. In the story well known by historians, the Prince was on his way to London to overthrow the King but realised on reaching Derby that he had insufficient troops and decided to retreat. Ultimately this led to the infamous Battle of Culloden on April 6th 1746 following which thousands of Scots had their homes burned to the ground, their cattle slaughtered and were themselves deported across the Atlantic.
Silk Mill Pub

Although our route now is to the Silk Mill Museum across Cathedral Park, it is well worthwhile continuing a little further along Full Street to see the mural painted on the side of the Silk Mill pub. Painted in the mid 1980s by the Derby Community Arts Project, it depicts the Silk Trades Lock Out of 1883, a conflict that lasted about eight months. This is significant in industrial history as it was the first ever strike action for better wages and working conditions.
Cathedral Park

Our objective in this part of the walk is the Silk Mill Museum which stands by the River Derwent just across Cathedral Park from the Bonnie Prince Charlie statue. The park was created on the site of the Derby Power Station which had been built by John Ward in 1908 but was demolished in 1972.

The economic climate and cut backs resulted in the Silk Mill Museum being "moth-balled" for two years by Derby City Council on April 3rd 2011. Since then the museum, that marks the southern end of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, has only been opened for specific ad-hoc events but it is there that we will continue in the next part.
 Back to Part 30
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 32

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