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Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust newsletter - february 2021

Chair's introduction

February 2021

Dear Friends and Volunteers,

As we look forward to emerging from lockdown, the Trust invites you to participate in more of our fascinating walks and talks. Presenting Oliver Gerrish’s informative talk, ‘The Country House in Derbyshire’, via Zoom enabled a much wider audience to participate; with over 100 people attending. We anticipate a similar response to our next online talk ‘The Iron Giant that Survived’ .

Whilst we plan to conduct the rest of this year’s events on site, in person, we will be exploring ways in which we can also present material on-line to reach a wider audience. Learn of our progress towards achieving this in a future newsletter.

Wingfield Station continues to bring delightful surprises as the clearing operation continues and we progress toward commencement of the urgent works of emergency repair. See the importance of the Station in the context of ‘The Architecture the Railways Built’ which is on television in March.

Our work at Wingfield, however, does not prevent us from responding to other causes, as you will see from our quick response to the potential demolition of the former Stanton and Staveley exhibition and training centres. Watch this space. More Anon!

Yours ever,

Derek Latham (DHBT Chair)

wingfield station - Project update

February 2021

James Boon, Peter Milner and John Lewis discussing our plans with Network Rail, who have been carrying out tree cutting around the site.

We submitted our Planning and Listed Building Consent applications just before Christmas. Since then, the Wingfield Station Project Architect and wider team have been primarily focusing on detailed plans for the urgent works and discussing them with both Historic England (the key funders for this work) and Network Rail. These plans will form the basis of the tender documentation that will be sent to potential contractors.

We currently expect to issue the tender for the urgent works towards the end of March, with a view to appointing a contractor by the middle of June. Based on this timetable, we anticipate the urgent works (roof repairs and trackside works) to be completed by the end of 2021. We will be applying to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the remainder of the construction costs in August '21. If this application is successful we hope to commence the final capital works in Spring 2022.

During January and February, Network Rail have been undertaking vegetation management work around the station; removing trees that are close to the track. This work has actually helped us in our understanding of the site. When we were doing various surveys and inspections last year, the area north of the parcel shed was overgrown and so it appeared as if the stone edge to the goods platform had been removed when the platforms were taken out. However, now the further vegetation has been cut back, a standalone section of the platform further north has been revealed.

Goods platform as revealed following vegetation clearance and an historic photograph showing the platform with the crane still in situ.

As a result of this, we have commissioned a further topographical study of the area north of the parcel shed.

As you can see from the black and white photo above (credit: Historic England), the stone edge to the goods platform used to come all the way back to the sidings. It is quite likely that a section of this platform was removed to give a ramp down to the track for when the main platforms were removed. It was this missing section that made it look like it had all been removed, when it was in fact obscured by vegetation. The historic photo also shows how the stone edge came all the way to the buffers at the end of the sidings.

Makita Tools have also done a great job continuing to support DHBT with improving the site (thanks to Roy Hobson of Makita Tools). We remain hopeful that the dedicated volunteer team can resume their external clearance tasks when restrictions have eased.

John Lewis from Marpal Ltd (health and safety specialists) has also been involved , discussing with us some of the many risk implications of the project as we head towards starting urgent works. This is important with any capital project, but even more so when work will be taking place so close to a live railway line.

It is also lovely to see the first signs of Spring peeping through amongst the mud!

Date for the diary

'The Architecture the Railways Built' is a Yesterday channel TV series.

Wingfield station to appear on TV, 23rd March, 8pm

Back in October 2020 a TV crew spent a cold and wet Monday filming at Wingfield Station. At the time, we were only allowed to tell a handful of people - many thanks to the volunteers who braved the elements to help us get the site ready for the crew.

Wingfield Station is set to be the main feature of the last show in the Yesterday channel TV series, 'The Architecture the Railways Built', which is due to air at 8pm on the 23rd March. Make sure to put the date in your diary!

Filming at Wingfield Station, October 2020.

stanton & staveley ironworks

Application objection success

A DHBT supporter had recently contacted us in relation to the Stanton and Staveley site and the planning application to demolish the former Exhibition Centre and Training Centre located here.

Whilst the Trust is pleased that the new owners, Verdant Regeneration Ltd, intend to bring development to the site, and applauds the efforts of Erewash Borough Council (EBC) to find a development solution for the whole complex, the potential demolition of these buildings is of great concern.

Stanton and Staveley exported its goods all over the world. Their workforce gave tirelessly; working long and dangerous hours to produce munitions and supplies. It is a site that has been the epicentre of iron and steel production for almost 2000 years.

The key cluster of remaining buildings are of both architectural and historic significance and merit addition to the Borough Council's Local List.

The DHBT lodged an objection to EBC and notified the owners. As a consequence of our intervention, the application to demolish the buildings on the grounds of permitted development has been REFUSED and EBC have confirmed that following the detailed objection lodged by ourselves, the site developers do not have permitted development rights.

It is now hoped that if and when the developers make a formal planning application, a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment will be required to enable the planning authority to best understand the historic significance of the buildings.

B&W photo credit: Robert Lee.

The training centre building on the Stanton & Staveley site as it appears today.

DHBT Events 2021

Back in January, we kicked off our first (ever) online event of 2021 with a fantastically well attended talk by DHBT Trustee, Oliver Gerrish, on the country houses of Derbyshire. If you missed Oliver's talk, which explored some of the architectural treasures of Derbyshire from the Medieval period onwards, you can view the recording:

'The Iron Giant that Survived' - online talk - 21st February 2021, 2pm

Our next free online talk, 'The Iron Giant that Survived' will be on Sunday 21st February at 2pm. Kieren Lee, from the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, will be telling the fascinating story of Bennerley Viaduct; a wrought iron wonder that was entirely fabricated in Derby.

The story includes the reasons for building the viaduct, the ingenuity of its engineering, the working life of the viaduct and the Zepplin bombings. Future plans will also be explained.

This is a free talk that is available to all who an internet connection via Zoom. Please register via Eventbrite to be sent your e-ticket with joining details. For more information and to book please take a look here.

For more information about the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, please visit their website.

Bennerley viaduct is being transformed from a neglected, abandoned structure into an inspirational community asset.

Provisional Programme of Visits 2021

Planning a programme of visits at the moment is challenging. Our hope is that we can run the majority of the visits listed below, but we know that we will have to be flexible and adapt at times.

Our aim is to release tickets for the visits around two weeks before the event, when we can be more sure about guidelines at that time, and Friends and supporters will be given the first chance to book on before being advertised more widely. Tickets for all events will need to be booked via our Eventbrite page.

We are also looking at which visits could be transferred to an online format if required. We will keep everyone updated on this as and when we know more about any restrictions etc. Many thanks for your patience.

21st March at 2pm, Georgian Ashbourne

Ashbourne is arguably the finest Georgian town in Derbyshire. Sir Nikolous Pevsner pronounced “Church Street is one of the finest streets in Derbyshire. It has a large variety of excellent houses and whole stretches without anything that could jar.”

But behind those elegant brick and rendered Georgian facades are often much older structures, some medieval.

The town plan is itself a classic medieval layout, with the church at one end and the market place at the other. They are linked by the principal street onto which houses face. Behind the houses stretch long gardens within what in medieval times were ‘burgage plots’ . In diagrammatic terms it’s rather like the skeleton of a fish.

The visit will reveal a rich story of 18th century genteel ‘one-upmanship’ and commercial competition.

Not only have nearly all the Georgian buildings survived intact but they are remarkably well documented. The tour will reveal a number of mis-attributions for the architects of the finest buildings.

18th April at 2pm, Sudbury Parish

Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood
Sudbury Gasworks, one of DHBT's 12 buildings at risk, which is being rescued and restored by Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust.

Members of the Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust will be introducing the relatively small and compact village of Sudbury, where the majority of the cottages are constructed in red brick with red tiled roofs. Many original architectural features still remain throughout the village, such as chimney-stacks and pots, traditional windows and doors and decorative features.

The majority of land and buildings are in Estate ownership and have been since the 17th century. This has led to a uniformity of appearance and a unique sense of that visual unity which now defines the special character and appearance of the village. In 1967 Sudbury Hall and some estate buildings were given to the National Trust.

The visit will include All Saints' Church (a church has existed on this site since the early Middle Ages), Sudbury Courtyard (which was once the wood yard and later know as the Estate yard) and now accommodates retail units, and the Primary School (which was built in 1832 to house a school for girls). You'll also find out exactly what the beautiful, castle-like structure is, that can be seen in the fields opposite Sudbury Hall.

The tour will conclude with a chance to find out more about the project to rescue and restore the 1874 old gasworks building. This unusual building was designed by George Devey and displays the extraordinary attention to detail seen in Victorian service buildings. Coal was once brought from Poynton, another Vernon Estate just outside Manchester, to create gas, which was then piped to the Hall and areas of the village.

16th May at 2pm, Bonsall Village

This is a rearranged visit from 2020 and we'll be in touch with those that had booked tickets previously.

20th June at 2pm, Bennerley Viaduct

Following the online talk in February, this will be a chance to see the viaduct in person.

The viaduct is a spectacular engineering structure built to carry rail traffic across the Erewash Valley. Completed in 1877 it links Awsworth in Nottinghamshire with Ilkeston in Derbyshire.

It’s designer used wrought - ( not cast) iron lattice girders and wrought iron lattice piers in order to reduce the loading on brick foundations which were set in heavily undermined ground.

It is one of only two surviving wrought-iron viaducts in England and is listed grade II*

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct are dedicated to giving this “Iron Giant” a new lease of life after 50 years of closure. They are working in partnership with the owners to restore the viaduct and bring it back into use as a walking and cycling trail.

18th July at 2pm, Codnor Castle

How many people realise, when they drive from Ripley to Eastwood on the A610, that just behind the east side of the road lies a medieval deer park, within which stands the ruinous and romantic remains of a medieval fortified Manor House.

Eighteen foot high stone walls remains of a former rectangular three storey tower with a connecting wall to a later outer court.

Originally it was defended by a moat and curtain walls and records describe it as Codnor Castle back to the 12th century.

It was the home and power base to one of medieval England’s most powerful families for 300 years; the De Grey family, otherwise known as the Barons Grey of Codnor.

In 2006, The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust was established to prevent the Castle from falling into further disrepair and to promote the Castle as a major site of historical importance.

15th August at 2pm, Barrow on Trent

The Parish of Barrow used to be a farming community with approximately 19 farms and smallholdings. In the early and mid-20th Century, several of the larger estates were sold, but old Barrow is still there showing many signs of influences through the ages. Members of the Friends of St Wilfrid's Church will be leading this visit.

Walking through Barrow today mirrors the progress through time of many rural villages. There is the Grade 1 listed Anglo-Saxon Church, developed by the Knights Hospitallers from 1165 (one of only two still left as it was in 1540) with its effigy (possibly the oldest effigy of a priest in alabaster in the country). There is also ‘The Methodist Chapel’ built in 1837 which still shows the mark of the bullet, shot by a religious opponent.

There’s the old farm building, now a home, but still showing a brick infill, suggesting former storage entrances; the cottages built with their gable-ends to the road, providing passages to the rear of narrow smallholdings, and the strange brick outline suggesting an old Cruck frame. Then we see the two-room Village School built in Jacobean style for the village children and ‘The ‘Row’; cottages built in 1789 immediately after ‘The Enclosures’ as workers cottages, and still owned by the Parish. Proudly standing opposite is the War Memorial, given in 1916 by Mr. F C Arkwright to our village that sent more volunteers to the Great War in proportion to its population than anywhere else.

Barrow has several other secrets, all hidden in this very small South Derbyshire village, ready to welcome you.

The recently refurbished Church of St Wilfrid's in Barrow upon Trent. The Grade I Church has received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, amongst others.

19th September at 2pm, Milford

Four years after Jedediah Strutt began his campaign of cotton mill building in Belper he extended his activities along the Derwent Valley to Milford where, in 1781, he began building a complex of cotton mills and bleach works. Sadly most of these were demolished in the 1960s but what survives, pretty much intact, are the cottages he built for his workers and the chapels, school and other community buildings of this little mill town.

The walk will take in the prime industrial sites in Milford, including the few structural remains of the mill buildings and the pre-Strutt era mill. You will be invited to look at some of the remains of inventive genius, William Strutt's designs for fire-proofing the mill and his improvements in the design of the weirs that provide power to the mills, and still provide power to the village today.

The tour will include some of the 18th and early 19th century housing, from Jedediah Strutt's own house to the housing built for the workers and maintained by the Strutt family for nearly 200 years. Along the way you will hear about the lives of the mill workers and some of the incidents that occurred in the village, from the savage murder of a small child to the Milford's night watchman employed by the Strutts to keep order at night.

There are tantalising remains of other local industries to be seen, such as framework knitting, nailmaking, quarrying and farming, as well as many small remnants of the paternalistic care that the Strutts took of their employees, such as the pavements, allotments, gas lighting and water pumps.

Time permitting, the tour will also include the elegant Stephenson railway tunnel entrance and bridge and you can hear about the problems of putting a railway through the narrowest part of the Derwent Valley.

17th October at 2pm, Belper

Adrian Farmer and Ian Jackson will lead this visit, which will start at the new River Gardens Cafe. The water power system for the Mills will be described by Ian, who leases the water turbine and produces electricity from water power.

The tour will include the Strutt houses at Long Row, Short Row and the Cluster Houses and will culminate at the Unitarian Chapel and Strutt Mausoleum, where tea will be provided.

21st November at 2pm, Buxton Crescent

This is a rearranged visit from 2020 and we'll be in touch with those that had booked tickets previously.

19th December at 2pm, Matlock Bath

Doreen Buxton will lead a visit to Matlock Bath, which will include a tour of the historic village, hot punch and an optional tour of the Christmas Windows.

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