Darley Abbey - Heritage Walk No. 5 - Down Darley
w/e 16 March 2014
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Brick RowOur fifth and final walk at Darley Abbey once again starts at interpretation board B near the gates to Darley Park. At a little under half a mile in length it is again a short walk and if time is not a constraint could easily be tacked onto the end of the fourth walk to St Matthew's Church. In fact instead of retracing the route along Abbey Lane to the park gates it is just as easy to turn into Old Lane from Church Lane and then immediately right to Brick Row (right) which features early in the Down Darley walk. For the purposes of this walk though the images below relate to the route as described in the Heritage Walk leaflet and begins on New Road.

White House & Hollies

So turning right from the park gates, the leaflet advises proceeding downhill along New Road and pausing at the end of Brick Row to view two detached houses set in their own grounds. At first glance The White House (c1820) on the left and The Hollies (1803/06) on the right appear to be one building or at least semi-detached properties but a closer look shows that they are two individual houses built flush to each other. The two were known as the Managers' Houses which suggests not unreasonably that they were originally built for the senior personnel at the Evans' mills.
St Matthew's School

On the corner of New Road and Brick Row stands the old St Matthew's School of 1826. The two wings of the school provided accommodation on the left for the Schoolmaster and, at the right hand end, for the Schoolmistress.
Brick Row

Next to the school and running along the rest of Brick Row is a terrace of fourteen three-storey houses that were part of the Evans' dynasty. There is some debate over the age of the terrace as some believe it dates from the same time as the school despite its earlier appearance whilst another source suggests it was built in two phases from 1797 to 98 and 1798 to 1800 using bricks from a local brickyard - hence the name of the street. Much more modern houses have been built opposite the terrace but originally allotment gardens were provided here for each of the houses. Another interesting fact is that the internal walls on the top storey varied to allow different sized families to be accommodated.
2-storey Clusters

Returning to New Road and continuing downhill, the next homes after The White House are contained in two blocks of cluster houses. These white two-storey blocks of four were visible from Darley House and, like the school, are thought to date from 1826.
Methodist Church

On some of the land opposite these cluster houses the Darley Abbey Methodist Church has been built on the former allotments where the mill workers grew vegetables.
3-storey Clusters

Two more blocks of cluster houses this time three-storeys high stand further down the hill and again are of the 1826 vintage.
The Hill

Our route however is to the left along a short street called The Hill which on one side is lined with more cottages built for the mill workers. Opposite is the site of the Methodist Church on the former allotments again and at the lamp post at the end of the cottages the road turns sharply to the right and becomes North Row.
West Row

North Row is another very short street and again turns at a sharp corner into West Row (above). Both North and West Rows are lined on one side by old mill workers' cottages.

There has been some significant infilling in previously open spaces in Darley Abbey over the years, some more sympathetic to the existing buildings than others and more recent structures can be seen in this image. One feature that has survived from that earlier period as well as the many mill workers' dwellings we have seen throughout our walks, is the line of single-storey buildings near the end on West Row. These were originally toilets or "privies" as they were called associated with the cottages on the right which are actually the rear of those pictured in Flat Square at the start of Walk No. 2.
The Mills

Turning right from the end of West Row onto Old Lane leads in just a few steps back to the river bank, interpretation board A and the view across the River Derwent to the Boar's Head Mill complex established all those years ago by the Evans family. It also brings to a conclusion this series of Heritage Walks around the village of Darley Abbey. For much more about the village however it is worth searching the Derwent Valley Mills website where there are several sections devoted to Darley Abbey - click here to view one of them.
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