Derby's Heritage Part 36 - Pride Park
w/e 30 December 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Heritage Walk Header

Five Arches BridgeIt was January in 2010 that we began this Heritage Walk around Derby and we have been featuring a new part on the last weekend of every month since then. Now almost three years later and with 35 instalments behind us we have reached the final part which will take us a little further away from the city centre and into Pride Park. So on a grey December day with rain not far away, we resume our walk having passed under the Five Arches Bridge (left) which was built in 1840/41 to carry the North Midland railway line over the River Derwent. Joint engineers of the line were Robert Stephenson and his father George.

The Meadows

The flat land on the other side of the river prior to 1839 was farmland and was known as The Meadows but it was soon acquired by the railway industry and became Chaddesden Sidings, Chaddesden being the name of the area to the north.

The Roundhouse

Shortly after Five Arches Bridge, there is a choice of paths. One continues along the river bank but we temporarily left that one to take another under the main road from the city centre into Pride Park in order to pass the Roundhouse, a former railway workshop. The Grade II* listed building has undergone a £48 million regeneration project and opened as part of the Derby College campus in September 2009. The centrepiece of the campus is the sixteen sided Victorian building with a forty metre central space.
Pride Park

Pride Park itself is not a park in the sense of grass and trees but a business park that has been created since 1993 on the site of much of Derby's railway manufacturing industry. At one time nearly 6000 people were employed here but by 1990, the area was in a derelict state.
First Paved Area

Riverside PathSeveral paths lead from the business park back to the river bank where there are a number of paved areas with seating that are probably popular lunch break venues in better weather with workers from Pride Park. The information panel here gives details of the wildlife that can sometimes be seen by the river but unfortunately it was difficult to read as it had been badly defaced. There is also supposed to be an artwork (one of three) near here at the side of the path (left)in the form of cast-iron columns made from recycled rails retrieved from near the Roundhouse but it was either very well hidden or has been removed.
Spoil Heaps

The gentle slope on which Chaddesden and neighbouring Spondon sit has now disappeared behind heaps of spoil but it was once one side of a broad valley created when the river was much wider than it is now. This was getting on for 20,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. Now if that's not "heritage" I don't know what is!
Second Paved Area

At a second paved area the piece of artwork is much easier to spot but the seating this time faces away from the river unlike the one we passed earlier. From here an old leaflet describing "Derby's Riverside Quarter Trail" says that by looking downstream the fourteenth century church of St Werburgh in Spondon can be seen on the skyline. However despite knowing where to look either the weather conditions or intervening trees and/or buildings obscured the church.
Gravel Excavation Works

Link BridgePride Park StadiumIn the opposite direction, the cause of the spoil heaps is obvious. As the river slowed after the Ice Age, it dropped gravels and sands onto much older rocks known as Mercia Mudstones. These gravels are being excavated for the construction industry. The riverside path continues under a bridge (left) linking Pride Park with The Wyvern Retail Park but here we leave the path to return to Pride Park (right).

Leaving the river at this point brings us out close to Pride Park Stadium the home ground of Derby County Football Club. Whilst the 34,000 seater stadium is new being officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 18 July 1997 the club has a long heritage of its own. It was established in 1884 and was based elsewhere in the city at the Baseball Ground from 1895 until its transfer to Pride Park.
Clough & Taylor

At one corner of the ground, pride of place is now occupied by a 9'0" (2.7m) high bronze statue of legendary manager Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor. The monument was unveiled to the public on August 28th 2010, a day after a private service with the families of both men. Clough and Taylor managed the club between 1967 and 1973 a significant period in the history and heritage of Derby County when the club won the League Championship in 1972. The monument designed by Andrew Edwards also includes the League Championship trophy and joins two more statues of Brian Clough, one in his home town of Middlesbrough (2007) and another in Nottingham (2008) where he also took Nottingham Forest to league and cup glory. Derby County are currently managed by Brian's son Nigel who will be hoping to emulate his father and add further to the history and heritage of the club and also the city and it is here that it seems fitting to bring this series to a close.

During the last three years I have explored parts of Derby I had never been to before even though I have lived in the county all my life. I have learned a lot about the city and I'm sure there is much more that I missed but it has been an interesting experience and one I hope you have enjoyed too. Now for pastures new - but as to where .... that's yet to be decided.
 Back to Part 35
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index

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