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History of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust

The aim of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust is to identify neglected or abandoned historic buildings in or around the county in danger of decay or demolition, and to work for their preservation and modernisation without damage to their essential character.

From the beginning one of the Trust's main activities has been co-operating with Derbyshire County Council in the compilation and maintenance of a list of historic buildings judged to be at risk from neglect or misuse. Central Government now recognises such lists as vital data bases for the identification of buildings, the future of which is of particular concern to the country.

In 1974 it was decided that the Trust should operate a rolling fund to acquire, restore and resell only those buildings for which no other restorer or purchaser can be found. Where possible it persuades others to tackle the work, to sell or to find an appropriate other use, usually by giving advice or sometimes through a feasibility study.

The Trust was formally incorporated as a limited company in November 1974. Registration as a charity followed.

Although the Trust does not regard itself as an Amenity body, over the past 30 years it has seen as an important part of its role the widening of peoples' perspective of historic buildings. It has achieved this through talks, exhibitions, a video, guidance notes and demonstrations but principally by example through the acquisition, restoration and resale of historic buildings at risk. The Trust provides independent guidance and advice to the public at large as well as providing representatives to various local authority and other committees concerned with matters relating to the preservation of Derbyshire's built heritage.

Toll Bar Cottage, Kedleston Road, Derby
Toll Bar Cottage, Kedleston Road, Derby

The first two buildings

During 1976 the Trust acquired Toll Bar Cottage, Kedleston Road, Derby, a very dilapidated early 19th century building and Stud Farm Cottages, Boythorpe, , originally an 18th century farmhouse with a rare surviving bee-bowl wall flanking the garden. Both buildings were restored and successfully sold at auction in 1977.

Stud Farm Cottages, Boythorpe,

Golden Valley cottages

Golden Valley, an Industrial Hamlet

Also in 1977 attention was drawn to a terrace of twenty stone-built iron workers' cottages in a rural setting at Golden Valley, Riddings, built by the Butterley Company about 1795. Renovation would probably cost £100,000 and would involve the restoration of the whole industrial hamlet of Golden Valley, including sixteen Victorian brick cottages. All had long gardens running down to a silted up canal full of rubbish.

The stone cottages were restored by converting pairs of cottages into single dwellings. The same experiment was tried with the brick cottages which were sold as eight dwellings restored as shells with services together with a set of plans for renovation and modernisation. Extensive environmental works, improved access, parking, and garden and canal clearance was also carried out and completed in 1979.

The Old School House, Twyford

The Old School House, Twyford

Also completed in 1979 was the restoration of the dilapidated but potentially charming Victorian School House at Twyford. New access and services had to be provided from a side road across a stream with a new bridge which involved much negotiation with the water authority.

42-46 Market Place

42-46 Market Place,

Late in 1979 the Trust heard of the proposed demolition of a row of neglected small shops, listed buildings, in , which defined one side of the medieval market place. By 1981 the attractive row of 18th and 19th century shops was again safe.

The project received a Civic Trust Commendation.

The Railway Cottages, Derby

In 1979 Derby Civic Society was campaigning strongly against the proposed demolition for road works of a large block of terraced housing near Derby Station, forming a triangle bordered by a main road and factories, with the listed Brunswick Inn at its apex.

Though unlisted, the terraces were fine examples of early domestic railway architecture, and still basically sound. Together with the Inn they were built by the North Midland Railway Company between 1841 and 1843, at the same time as the Station and the Midland Hotel, to designs of the architect Francis Thompson. The Trust was approached by the Civic Society and together after eight months effort Derby City Council was persuaded to abandon its proposed road scheme, sell the buildings to the Trust, set up Conservation and General Improvement Areas, and list the cottages.

Over the next three years seventeen different house types varying from two bedroom cottages to substantial four bedroom houses were restored and modernised. Not only were all the perimeter houses given front gardens with iron railings, but landscaped areas were introduced, some garages, well designed car parking, and gardens at the rear of the houses. New street lamps were of the original pattern, and all the front doors painted maroon, the livery colour of the North Midland Railway. The project received a Civic Trust Award.

The Railway Terrace houses were sold in small batches as they were completed, so although the scheme was costly, cash flow never became too difficult. Eventually the Brunswick Inn was also restored and sold.

1 The Dale

The Project, 1-3 Greenhill and other buildings

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s the Trust was involved in a project by the Civic Trust, to demonstrate what could be done to regenerate a decayed urban centre by pump-priming individual conservation projects and sympathetic modernisation within that centre. It was interested in the possibilities offered by town centre.

Though heavily involved with the Railway Cottages, in spring 1979 the Trust had begun the restoration of The Old Shop, 31-33 The Dale, as a single dwelling with attached parking, when the Civic Trust announced its commitment to and sent Gordon Michell to set up an office there. The two Trusts entered into partnership: the Derbyshire Trust was to provide the expertise to start renovation and encourage local residents to co-operate. It was also to purchase properties of importance in the town as a holding operation pending rehabilitation and sale.

The first building restored under this scheme was 1 The Dale in 1981.

1 - 3 Greenhill,

Across the way from 1 The Dale lay in ruins a fine stone house, built about 1631 by a wealthy local lead merchant, William Hopkinson.

The building restoration was funded jointly by the County Council and the Development Commission to provide more office space in the town, with the Derbyshire Trust as agent for the restoration and later the management of the property. One set of the offices has become its headquarters. The restoration was completed in 1983, along with that of the Old Blacksmith's Shop lying opposite, just in time for the presentation of a Europa Nostra Silver Medal to for a broad programme of self help with innovative features.

Old Blacksmith's Shop

The buildings in included the restoration of Ryde's Garage at Dale End as a dwelling house, and major specialist work on 15A The Market Place, built as a lawyer's office about 1810. The stonework of this charming Palladian building was in such a bad condition that the stonework facade had to be completely restored. Both buildings were completed in 1985.

Two years later, in 1987, the Methodist Church in the Dale was sold as a restored shell to the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

Methodist Church,

Barlborough Old Hall

Barlborough Old Hall

In 1981 the Trust took on Barlborough Old Hall, built in soft local stone in conservative style for a rising lawyer, John Savile, in the 1580s and subsequently divided into small cottages. Much of the stone was in bad condition but some fine plasterwork survived. Only a small front garden survived. Work began in 1982 and was completed in 1984. After appointments the Old Hall was sold in 1987 for use as a private dwelling

17 Long Row, Belper

17 Long Row, Belper - An exemplary restoration

The Trust began to realise that one of its objectives was indeed being realised - the rousing of public interest in smaller older buildings - yet the lack of knowledge about and lack of sympathy for older building styles was resulting in alterations, which, though well meant destroyed the essential character of the buildings being 'conserved'. In this exemplary restoration, the Trust's aim was to show what could be done on a low budget to modernise an older building whilst still preserving its original appeal.

17 Long Row, Belper was bought in 1983 and with the active co-operation of the architect, the County Council's Design and Conservation team the project was successfully completed. The completed house attracted much attention. Information packs on how to tackle conservation in low cost housing were made available to the public.

Market Street, Eckington

Market Street, Eckington

In 1983 a line of small shops and flats above them came to the Trust's attention. They were in very poor condition and thought to be of 17th century origin, but in the course of restoration some medieval structures were found. Work began in 1984 and particular attention was paid to the provision of good parking, for experience had shown this to be a major factor when properties came to be sold. The well restored smart looking properties sold quickly in 1985.

Thermal Baths, Buxton

The Thermal Baths, Buxton - and the Clarke Window

The Thermal Baths at Buxton first attracted serious attention late in 1982 when High Peak Borough Council commissioned a feasibility study into how the building might be restored and brought back into economic use, the preferred use recommending restoration as a group of small shops with one larger unit. The Trust, on behalf of the Borough Council, was to carry out the basic restoration whilst agents were briefed to search out a developer. A particular attraction of the finished building was to be a large half- barrel stained glass window by Brian Clarke, the largest piece of this artist's work in Europe, an outstanding work of art. By 1985, the restored building was occupied by a variety of retail business and a restaurant and now forms a vital part of the Buxton shopping scene.

19 Midland Terrace, New Mills

19 Midland Terrace, New Mills - Another exemplary restoration

In July 1991, 19 Midland Terrace, a terraced cottage, was chosen for exemplary restoration, part of a Town Scheme for which The Borough of High Peak had set aside money to reinstate roads and pavements. English Heritage grant was available. The architect prepared the fact sheets for public distribution whilst Granada TV covered the restoration and gave welcome publicity.

Arboretum Lodge, Derby

The Arboretum Lodge, Derby

Once the dignified entrance to the first public park in England, The Arboretum Lodge had fallen into disrepair, just as the park had lost many of its fine specimen trees. Both had been vandalised. Now through the determined efforts of Derby City Council and people living in the neighbourhood this Grade II* listed park was being restored. The City Council first asked the Trust to carry out a feasibility study on the Lodge building which, after restoration was opened in the summer of 1994 as a photographer's co-operative providing nine dark rooms and an Exhibition Gallery.



This cottage which was thought to be medieval had been the subject of the Trust's interest for twenty years. Problems of ownership delayed restoration but work finally began in 1994.

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