Ockbrook - Part 01 - A Little Corner Of Church Street
w/e 28 December 2003

Much of the historical information you will read in this series will have been gleaned from a leaflet published in 1992 in the "Village Trails in Erewash" series by the Erewash Groundwork Trust with the support of the Countryside Commission. The Commission ceased its work in 1999 but its objectives and programmes have continued within the Countryside Agency. The leaflet invites us to "journey back in time along the jittys and alleyways of Ockbrook" and although it details almost two dozen sites of historical interest, it leaves the route to one's own making. What better place to start then than outside the White Swan in Church Street.
 The White Swan

Situated only four miles from Derby, Ockbrook despite being a small village, is well served by public houses. I can think of at least four - there may be more - but this one, the White Swan stands in Church Street and faces All Saint's Church.
All Saints' Church

I was unable to gain access to the Church when I visited and it was difficult to get a good view of it from the road due to the evergreen trees that obscure it. A dull and damp afternoon did not aid photography but from the churchyard I was able to obtain this view of the Church. All Saints' became the Parish Church about 1550 but the tower dates from the twelfth century. During the period between these two dates it had been a chapel under the jurisdiction of Elvaston. Elvaston lies about two miles to the south.
Church Farm

The churchyard is also a good vantage point for Church Farm. This timber-framed building with its steeply pitched, plain tile roof is a seventeenth century construction but was party rebuilt and extended in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Butter and cheese were still being made here in the 1930s.
Village Hall

Following one of Ockbrook's many jittys, I emerged onto Church Street against the Village Hall. According to the leaflet, the hall has had a chequered history. It goes on to say that the lower floor was once used as a stable and coach house and the upper part was a girls' school room until 1828 when Mr Pares of Hopwell Hall paid for a new building. I presume this is the "new" building as I could not detect any evidence of an upper floor.
The Old Forge

 Next to the hall is the site of Ockbrook's last blacksmith's shop. The name on the wall "The Old Forge" points to the building's former use although some eighty years have now passed since the shop closed its doors for business in the 1920s.
Plant's Shop

On the opposite side of Church Street at the corner of New Street, the large ground floor window is perhaps a pointer to the fact that this building was formerly a shop. I have a dim and distant memory of the shop when it was still trading in the 1970s. It opened as a shop in 1902 and it was the daughters of the founders, Mr and Mrs Henry Plant, who carried the business on until 1969. The sisters sold the business and until its closure in the late 70's it was known as "Kenderdine's" after the new owners. The shop was also one of five sites in Ockbrook that took on the duties of the Post Office over the years.

 Forward to Part 02

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