2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

City of Derby
Status: Unitary, City (1977)
Region: East Midlands
Ceremonial County: Derbyshire
- Total
Ranked 271st
78.03 km²
Admin. HQ: Derby
Grid reference: SK354363
ONS code: 00FK
- Total (2005 est.)
- Density
Ranked 47th
2,995 / km²
Ethnicity: 87.4% White
8.4% S.Asian
1.8% Afro-Carib.

Derby City Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Labour (council NOC)
MPs: Margaret Beckett, Bob Laxton, Mark Todd

Derby (pronounced "dar-bee" /dɑːbɪ/) is a city in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent and is surrounded by the shire county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census the population of the borough was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407. Measured by Urban Area, Derby is the 18th largest settlement in England.


Traditionally, Derby is the county town of Derbyshire, although Derbyshire's administrative centre has in recent years been Matlock. On 1 April 1997 Derby City Council became again a unitary authority (a status it had held, as a County Borough, up until 1974), with the rest of Derbyshire administered from Matlock.



The City has Roman, Saxon and Viking connections. The Roman camp of 'Derventio' was probably at Little Chester/Chester Green ( grid reference SK353375); later the town was one of the ' Five Boroughs' (fortified towns) of the Danelaw.

The popular belief is that the name 'Derby' is a corruption of the Danish Deor-a-by (Village of the Deer), however some assert that it is a corruption of the original Roman name 'Derventio'. The town was also named 'Darby' or 'Darbye' on some of the oldest maps, eg. Speed's 1610 map. The city is one of the few cities that have retained a name with a Viking origin, like York, which had the Viking name of Jorvik. The city recently celebrated its 2,000th year as a settlement.

New research (throughout 2004) into the history and archaeology of Derby has provided evidence that the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons probably co-existed, occupying two areas of land surrounded by water. The Saxon Chronicles (c. 900) state that "Derby is divided by Water". These areas of land were known as "Northworthy" and Deoraby, and were located at the "Irongate" (North) side of the city. (Ron Mackeown of Derby Heritage Development Trust has produced a recent paper on this subject.)

The Middle Ages to the 18th century

During the Civil War of 1642-1646 the town was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops commanded by Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet, who was appointed Governor of Derby in 1643. These troops took part in the defence of Nottingham, the siege of Lichfield, the battle of Hopton Heath and many other engagements in Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as successfully defending Derbyshire against royalist armies.

Bonnie Prince Charlie made camp at Derby on 4 December 1745, whilst on his way south to seize the English crown. The Prince called at The George Inn on Irongate, where the Duke of Devonshire had set up his headquarters, and demanded billets for his 9000 troops.

Statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie located on Cathedral Green
Statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie located on Cathedral Green

He stayed at Exeter House, Exeter Street where he held his "Council of War". He had received misleading information about an army coming to meet him south of Derby. Although he wished to continue with his quest, he was overruled by his fellow officers. He abandoned his invasion at Swarkestone Bridge, on the River Trent, just a few miles south of Derby.

The Industrial Revolution

Derby and Derbyshire were centres of Britain's industrial revolution. In 1717 Derby was the site of the first water powered silk mill in Britain, built by John Lombe and George Sorocold after Lombe had reputedly stolen the secrets of silk-throwing from Piedmont in what is now Italy (he is alleged to have been poisoned by Piedmontese in revenge in 1722).

In 1759 Jedediah Strutt patented and built a machine called the Derby Rib attachment that revolutionised the manufacture of Hose. This attachment was used on the Rev. Lee's Framework knitting machine; it was placed in front of and worked in unison with Lee's Frame, to produce ribbed hose (stockings). The partners were Jedediah Strutt, William Woollatt had been joined in 1758 by John Bloodworth & Thomas Stafford, leading hosiers in Derby. The Patent was obtained in January 1759, after three years Bloodworth & Stafford were paid off and Samuel Need, hosier of Nottingham joined the partnership the firm was known as Need, Strutt & Woollatt. The Patent expired in 1773, though the partnership continued until 1781 when Need died.

Messrs Wright, the bankers of Nottingham, recommended that Richard Arkwright apply to Strutt & Need for finance for his Cotton Spinning Mill. The first Mill opened in Nottingham in 1770 this was driven by horses.

In 1771 Richard Arkwright, Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt built the world's first water-powered Cotton Spinning mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, developing a form of power that was the catalyst for the industrial revolution.

This was followed in Derbyshire by Jedediah Strutt's Cotton Spinning Mills at Belper. They were: South Mill, the first, 1775; North Mill, 1784, destroyed by fire on 12 January 1803, then rebuilt and started work again at the end of 1804; West Mill, 1792, commenced working 1796; Reeling Mill, 1897; Round Mill, which took 10 years to build, from 1803 to 1813, and commenced working in 1816; and Milford Mills, 1778. The Belper and Milford Mills were not built in partnership with Arkwright. These mills were all Strutt owned and financed.

The Belper North Mill of 1804 built by William Strutt, Jedediah's son, is the only original Strutt Mill still standing today. It is an iron-framed fire-proof Building. (Now a Visitor Centre, open Wed-Sun 1pm to 5pm).

Thomas Evans' mill at Darley Abbey (1783). Other famous 18th century figures with connections to Derby include Dr Johnson, the creator of the English dictionary, who married Elizabeth Porter at St. Werburgh's Church, Derby in 1735; the painter Joseph Wright, known as Wright of Derby, who was famous for his revolutionary use of light in his paintings and was an associate of the Royal Academy; and John Whitehurst, a famous clockmaker and philosopher. Erasmus Darwin, doctor, scientist, philosopher and grandfather of Charles Darwin was also to be found in Derby and Derbyshire at much the same time, though his practice was based in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

The beginning of the next century saw Derby emerging as an engineering centre, with manufacturers such as James Fox, who exported machine tools to Russia.

In 1840, the North Midland Railway set up its works in Derby and, when it merged with the Midland Counties Railway and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway, to form the Midland Railway, Derby became its headquarters.

The connection with the railway encouraged others, notably Andrew Handyside, Charles Fox and his son Francis Fox. A list of the structures these three built reads like a "Who's Who" of famous buildings.

Derby was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and it became a county borough with the Local Government Act 1888. The borough expanded in 1877 to include Little Chester and Litchurch, and then in 1890 to include New Normanton and Rowditch. The borough did not increase substantially again until 1968, when under a recommendation of the Local Government Boundary Commission it was expanded into large parts of the rural district of Belper, Repton and South East Derbyshire. This vastly increased Derby's population from 132,408 in the 1961 census to 219,578 in the 1971 census.

Despite being one of the areas of Britain furthest from the sea, Derby holds a special place in the history of marine safety - it was as MP for Derby that Samuel Plimsoll introduced his bills for a ' Plimsoll line' (and other marine safety measures). This failed on first introduction, but was successful in 1876 and contributed to Plimsoll's re-election as a deservedly popular MP.

Recent history (post 1900)

Derby was awarded city status in 1977 by Queen Elizabeth II to mark the 25th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. The Queen presented the "charter scroll" in person on July 28, 1977. Prior to that, Derby was one of the few towns in England that were not cities, but boasted a cathedral.

On 17 February 2003, Derby was granted Fairtrade City status.

Derby holds a special place in the history of the Labour movement - it was one of two seats (the other being Keir Hardie's in Merthyr Tydfil) gained by the recently-formed Labour Representation Committee at the 1900 General Election. The MP was Richard Bell, general secretary of the Railway Servants Union. Bell was succeeded by Jimmy Thomas and he in turn by the distinguished polymath and Nobel Laureate Philip Noel-Baker.

Derby has also become a significant cultural centre for the Deaf Community in the UK. Many Deaf people relocate to Derby because of its strong Sign Language using community. It is estimated that the deaf population in Derby is at least three times higher than the national average, and that only London has a larger deaf population. The Royal School for the Deaf on Ashbourne Rd provides education in British Sign Language and English.


Derby Cathedral boasts the second-highest cathedral tower in the country.

Derby Heritage Centre, formerly the Tudor Grammar School, told the story of Derby from Roman times till today. Unfortunately the owner, Richard Felix, has closed it so that he can focus on his Television career. Derby Gaol is a visitor attraction based in the dungeons of the Derbyshire County Gaol which dates back to 1756. The Heritage Centre has now been converted into a hairdresser's salon. However the new owner has a great interest in local history and has preserved all of the building's original features.

Derby Industrial Museum is situated in Derby Silk Mill and shows the industrial heritage and technological achievement of Derby, including Rolls-Royce aero engine, railways, mining, quarrying, foundries etc.

Pickford's House Museum
Pickford's House Museum

Pickford's House Museum was built by architect Joseph Pickford in 1770. It was his home and business headquarters. Derby Museum and Art Gallery shows paintings by Joseph Wright, as well as fine Royal Crown Derby porcelain, local regiments and archaeology. Pickford also designed St Helen's House in King Street.

The Eagle Centre is the city's main indoor shopping centre and is currently being extended.

Much of the skyline of the inner city changed radically in 1968 when the inner ring road with its two new crossings of the River Derwent was built. The route of the ring road went through the magnificent St. Alkmund's church and its wonderful Georgian church yard, the only Georgian square in Derby. Both were demolished to make way for the road, a move still criticised today. Thus the editor (Elizabeth Williamson) of the 2nd edition of Pevsner for Derbyshire wrote:- '...the character and cohesion of the centre has been completely altered by the replacement of a large number of C18 houses in the centre by a multi-lane road. As a traffic scheme this road is said to be a triumph; as townscape it is a disaster.'


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Derby at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 2,509 2 1,130 1,377
2000 3,965 1 1,819 2,145
2003 4,421 1 1,806 2,614

  includes hunting and forestry

  includes energy and construction

  includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

  Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


Derby's two biggest employers, Rolls-Royce plc (known almost universally in the area as 'Royce's', not 'Rolls') and the Toyota Motor Corporation, are both in the manufacturing trade. Egg, the Internet and telephone bank, has its national base in Derby.

As already noted, Derby was for many years a significant railway centre, being the former headquarters of the Midland Railway, with both British Rail workshops and research facilities in the town. Although much less important than in years gone by, train manufacture continues in Derby and Derby station retains an important strategic role in the rail network. Moreover many major rail manufacturers retain a presence and, as reported in the Derby Evening Telegraph, the city is favoured as a possible national centre.



Derby's central location in England means it has extensive transport links with other areas of the country. The M1 motorway passes approximately ten miles to the east of the city, linking Derby southwards to the London area and northwards to Sheffield and Leeds. Other major roads passing through or near to Derby include the A6 (historically the main route from London to Carlisle, also linking to Leicester and Manchester), A38 ( Bodmin to Mansfield via Bristol and Birmingham), A50 ( Warrington to Leicester via Stoke on Trent), A52 ( Newcastle-under-Lyme to Mablethorpe, including Brian Clough Way linking Derby to Nottingham) and A61 (Derby to Thirsk via Sheffield and Leeds).


As already noted, the railway has served Derby since 1840 being the junction of what were then the two main lines from London to Yorkshire and the North East. The present day station is Derby Midland with frequent expresses to London, the North East and South West, provided by Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains and Central Trains.

Formerly the Great Northern Railway's "Derbyshire and North Staffordshire Extension", ran through Derby Friargate Station, from Nottingham to Eggington Junction. Today, there remain small local stations at Peartree and Spondon, although services are fairly limited.


Nottingham East Midlands Airport (previously known simply as "East Midlands Airport") is situated about fifteen miles from Derby city centre, making Derby the closest city to the airport. Its proximity to Derby, the fact that the airport is in Leicestershire, and the traditional rivalry between the three cities, meant that there was a great deal of controversy locally about the airport's decision to append Nottingham to its name in 2004. The airport is served by several budget airlines, including bmibaby (for which East Midlands is one of its main bases), Ryanair and easyJet, with services to a variety of internal and European destinations.

Bus and coach

Derby's former bus station was an innovative art deco design by borough architect C.H. Aslin. Originally built in 1933, it was closed in 2005 despite the protests of environmentalists and conservationists. The unique cafe building is planned to be rebuilt at Crich Tramway Museum. A new smaller, bus station is set to be built on the site as part of the controversial Riverlights development. As a result of this work, services are currently using a number of temporary stops on streets around the Morledge area.

Local bus services in and around Derby are run by a number of companies, but principally Trent Barton and Arriva Midlands. The city is not particularly well served by long distance coaches, although it is on National Express's London to Manchester and Yorkshire to the South West routes. Additionally, there is an important regional route between Manchester and Nottingham covered by Trent Barton's TransPeak service.

Culture, entertainment and sport

The annual open-air concert at Darley Park is one of the biggest free concerts of its kind. The Derby Jazz group caters for the jazz interest in the city and is regarded as one of the UK's leading live jazz organizations. There is also a summer rock music festival ' Ponce in the Park' which takes place in late July every year.

QUADis a new Visual Arts and Media Centre currently under construction in Derby. Work has commenced on the QUAD building and is due to be complete in 2008. The new building will house two digital cinema screens showing the best in independent and Hollywood cinema, two gallery spaces housing contemporary visual arts, a mac studio, participation spaces, digital editing suites, artists studio and a darkroom.

Derby Arboretum was the first public park in the country, and is thought to have been one of the inspirations for Central Park in New York. Although it suffered from neglect in the 1990s, it has recently undergone extensive improvement and renovation.

Pride Park Stadium
Pride Park Stadium

Famous Derby sporting institutions include Derby County Football Club, currently playing in the Football League Championship. Derby County won the First Division title (then the highest achievement in English football) in 1972 and 1975. "The Rams", as Derby County are known, also won the FA Cup in 1946. The have played at Pride Park Stadium since 1997.

Derbyshire County Cricket Club are based at the County Ground in Derby and play almost all home matches there, although matches at Chesterfield were re-introduced in 2006. One of the designated first class county sides, they have won the County Championship once, in 1936.

Derby also has clubs in both codes of rugby. In rugby union, Derby RFC play in Midlands Division Two East (the seventh level of English rugby) at their Haslams Lane ground. Rugby league team Derby City RLFC were formed in 1990. They play and train at the Asterdale Sports Centre, Spondon and compete in the Midlands Premier Division of the National Rugby League Conference.


Like most of the UK, Derby operates a non-selective primary and secondary education system with no middle schools. Students attend infant and junior school (often in a combined primary school) before moving onto a comprehensive secondary school. Many secondaries also have sixth forms, allowing students to optionally continue their education by taking A Levels after the end of compulsory education at age 16. For those who want to stay in education but leave school, the large Derby College provides a number of post-16 courses.

Outside the state sector, there are three fee-paying independent schools, Derby Grammar School, which caters for boys and considers itself, quite spuriously, a continuation of Derby School (which was one of the oldest schools in the country), Derby High School, which caters for girls (and also boys at primary level only),and Ockbrook School which is an independent school for girls aged 3-18 and boys aged 3-11.

There is also one secondary school, Landau Forte College, that is independent of the local authority but partially state-funded. It is one of 15 City Technology Colleges set up by the Conservative government in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The University of Derby is the city's university.

In 2003 the University of Nottingham opened a graduate entry medical school based in the Derby City hospital.


Has been named "Ghost capital of Britain" with over 1,000 paranormal sightings recorded in recent years

Districts of Derby

  • Allenton
  • Allestree
  • Alvaston
  • Arleston
  • Boulton
  • Breadsall Hilltop
  • Chaddesden
  • Chellaston
  • Crewton
  • Darley Abbey
  • Derwent Heights
  • Heatherton Village
  • Little Chester (aka Chester Green)
  • Littleover
  • Mackworth Estate
  • Markeaton
  • Mickleover
  • Normanton
  • Oakwood
  • Osmaston
  • Pear Tree
  • Rose Hill
  • Shelton Lock
  • Sinfin
  • Spondon
  • Strutt's Park
  • Sunny Hill
  • West End
  • Wilmorton

Places of interest

  • Alvaston Park
  • Darley Abbey
  • Derby Arboretum
  • Derby Canal
  • Derby Cathedral
  • Derby Industrial Museum (Silk Mill)
  • Elvaston Castle
  • Derby Friargate Station (of which all that remains is Handyside's bridge across Friargate).
  • Markeaton Park Light Railway, a heritage railway
  • Pride Park Stadium
  • River Derwent

Famous residents

  • Alan Bates (1934-2003), actor
  • Ronald Binge (1910-1979), composer
  • Steve Bloomer (1874-1938), footballer
  • Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), scientist
  • Brian Clough, OBE (1934-2004), football player and manager
  • William John Coffee (1774-1846), artist and sculptor
  • Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), physician
  • John Flamsteed (1646-1719), astronomer
  • Sir Charles Fox (1810-1874), engineer
  • Sir Francis Fox (1844-1927), engineer
  • James Fox (1780-1830) engineer
  • Andrew Handyside (1806-1887) iron founder
  • Geoff Hoon (1953- ), politician
  • Arthur Keily (1921- ) Marathon runner
  • William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1779-1848), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • John Lombe (1693-1722), industrial pioneer
  • Captain Godfrey Meynell, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Jyoti Mishra, musician with White Town
  • Sir Howard Newby (1941- ) educationalist and sociologist
  • Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), pioneer of modern nursing
  • Samuel Richardson (1689–1761), novellist
  • Sir Henry Royce (1863-1933), co-founder of Rolls-Royce
  • George Sorocold, engineer
  • Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), philosopher
  • Harry Stevens (1856-1934) one of the claimants to be inventor of the hotdog
  • Jedediah Strutt (1726-1797), industrial pioneer
  • Sir Frank Whittle (1907–1996), Engineer
  • Sir Henry Wilmot, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Joseph Wright (1734-1797), painter
  • Alastair Yates, BBC presenter
  • Lianna Fowler,model

Twin cities

  • Germany - Osnabrück, Germany
  • India - Kapurthala, India (friendship link)

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