Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust newsletter - april 2021

Chair's introduction

Welcome to our April newsletter.

Like our seasonal weather, it has something for everyone.

Get your diaries out to book in one or more of this years visits. Places on the physical visits are in high demand so do book early to avoid disappointment. As Lucy explains, if you are not able to join our physical visit we hope to have a virtual visit to each location as well. Please keep in touch with our website for more information. Hopefully, we will be able to explain more in our next newsletter.

Read the update on Wingfield Station to learn of the beautiful wallpapers that have been revealed, and also of other buildings at risk, Codnor Castle, the Gasworks Sudbury, and Barrow Hill Church. Very different ages but each very significant in their own way. Perhaps these mini articles will encourage you to give your additional support to the trusts and organisations involved which the DHBT already partner or supports?

As you can see the work of the DHBT is expanding and we are still seeking volunteers with a wide range of skills – and none!

We look forward to hearing from you

Derek Latham, Chair of DHBT

wingfield station - Project update

April 2021

Hopefully many of you managed to catch Wingfield Station make an appearance on the final episode of the second series of 'The Architecture the Railways Built' on the 23rd March. It was fantastic to see this special building receive the recognition it deserves by Tim Dunn and the Yesterday Channel TV crew.

The show can be accessed again here: https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/the-architecture-the-railways-built/watch-online/6238100535001

We are currently working towards issuing the urgent works tender documentation to the conservation contractors that have been shortlisted following a pre-qualifying process. The design team have been busy liaising with scaffold designers to finalise the drawings and with suppliers of various materials, such as the secondary glazing that could be used for the trackside windows. We are also bringing together all the necessary documentation that will be required for our next funding application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later on this year.

We have now received back the fragments of wallpaper that had been carefully extracted from underneath the dado-rails in the former ladies waiting room. These have been conserved by a paper conservator and provide a fascinating insight into the decorative scheme (alongside the detailed paint analysis carried out last year).

Wallpaper fragments from Wingfield Station following conservation

We've also formed an exciting partnership with Smith of Derby (Clockmakers, est. 1856) to look at the possibility of reinstating a clock. The clock, around which local communities worked, was an important part of the life of the station. Setting the time by the station clock was commonplace by the mid 19th century.

Top: James Armishaw and Tony Davies from Smith of Derby visiting site to measure up for the clock in the Booking Hall and Bottom: The west elevation from 1971 when the clock was still in-situ (Amber Valley Borough Council)

The clock at Wingfield was dual-faced and was an important aspect of the principal elevation. Unfortunately, it is now missing, but with the help of Smith of Derby, we intend to have an internal working face in the Booking Hall and a fixed replica on the exterior. Experts from Smith believe that the original may have been made by Gent, who made a lot of railway clocks, including the one for St Pancras Station.

Follow our youtube channel

DHBT now have their own YouTube channel. So far this year we have delivered three online talks via Zoom - 'The Country House in Derbyshire', 'The Iron Giant that Survived - Bennerley Viaduct' and 'A Virtual Tour of Georgian Ashbourne' - all of which are now available to view. We are also creating a series of short films about our activity with local filmmaker, Gavin Repton. The first of these showcases our role as a 'not-for-profit developer' at Wingfield Station. Subscribe to our channel so you don't miss anything.

DHBT architecture awards 2021

DHBT Architecture Awards 2019 at Elvaston Castle - all photos courtesy of Derbyshire Life Magazine

Following the postponement of the 2020 Architecture Awards, we are pleased to be launching applications for 2021.

Application forms can be accessed via our website - please spread the word and help us celebrate the best of architecture in the county.

​The categories are:

​Restoration of a public building

Restoration of an historic interior

Restoration of an historic building in an urban setting

Reuse of an historic building

Restoration of an historic garden or landscape

New building in the historic tradition

New building in a historic context

Campaign to save historic architecture

Conservation champion

​To be eligible, schemes must be in Derbyshire and have reached practical completion by 31st August 2021. For the purpose of the Awards, the term 'historic' is defined as a building that is pre-World War II.

​The deadline for entries is 31st August 2021. All those previously entered in 2020 will carry forward.

​If you have any questions or would like further information please contact: awards@derbyshirehistoricbuildingstrust.org.uk

codnor castle vandalism

Those of you who follow Codnor Castle Heritage Trust on social media will have seen that of late there has been a disturbing series of instances of vandalism at the Codnor Castle site complex, such that the situation has been drawn to the attention of Historic England's Heritage At Risk division. They, in turn, have recently alerted the Planning Enforcement Department at Amber Valley Borough Council.

Recent activity on site, such as visitors climbing the surviving structures to take selfies, and the use of off-road bikes, has led to the fall of stones from the scheduled 13th-century walls. The Grade II listed farm buildings are also of concern, as so-called 'urban explorers' and 'paranormal investigators' have taken to breaking in and, on one recent occasion, committing arson.

Codnor Castle Heritage Trust is fully in support of any remedial action that can be taken by the official bodies concerned. It hopes this fascinating and complex historical site - a significant heritage asset to the county - can soon be restored to its rightful place as a haven for walkers, and its multilayered archaeology can be studied without the harassment of vandals.

The DHBT is supportive of the Trust’s heroic efforts and is extremely concerned to learn of the growing threat to this important part of the County’s heritage, not only the castle remains but also the historic farmhouse and farmyard.

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.

The ruinous remains of the C13 Codnor Castle are designated a scheduled monument. They were also listed, grade II, in 1963. At the same time the C17, C18 and C19 nearby Codnor Castle Farmhouse was listed grade II. Listed too, in its own right, at grade II, was the C18 adjacent stables and loft.

The Castle ruins and other listed buildings stand within the Codnor Park Conservation Area. The conservation area was designated in 1993, largely for its historic interest as it comprises, virtually intact, the whole area of the medieval deer park in which the Castle was built. Although much of the land within the former deer park was opencast-mined for coal, the ditch and bank boundary of the park survives to a remarkable extent.

We must not allow this remarkable historic place to descend into greater dereliction.

We are running a visit to Codnor Castle on the 18th July - see below for details - booking information and tickets to be released nearer the time.

DHBT Events 2021

Back in January, we kicked off our first (ever) online event with a fantastically well attended talk by DHBT Trustee, Oliver Gerrish, about the country houses of Derbyshire. This was followed in February with an equally popular talk by Kieran Lee, from the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct. Kieran told the fascinating story of the viaduct; a wrought iron wonder, which was entirely fabricated in Derby. In March DHBT Trustees, Barry Joyce and Mark Somerfield, presented a virtual tour of Georgian Ashbourne, revealing a story of 18th century genteel 'one-upmanship' and commercial competition.

For April, we are going to be reverting to our more traditional 'in person' visit (please see below for further information and booking details), however, we are mindful of how popular our online talks have been and the additional reach they enable. We are working with colleagues and volunteers on plans to enable these to continue alongside physical visits.

Provisional Programme of Visits 2021

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. Tickets for all events, whether virtual or other, will need to be booked via our Eventbrite page.

18th April at 2pm - A walk around the estate of Sudbury and a look at the village gasworks restoration and development project

Tickets (£5) are now available

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

Join Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust for an outdoor guided tour around the village of Sudbury.

Sitting at the most southern part of the Derbyshire Dales, Sudbury is a delightful former estate village to nearby Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood. The name, Sudbury, is of Saxon origins and means 'south fortification'. Even before the Norman conquest there was a village here.

The tour will be split into four key areas of interest, with each small group moving between the locations:

1. All Saints Church, Sudbury

This Norman church was apparently rebuilt in the 14th Century and was altered a century later when clerestory windows were inserted. Find out about the interesting windows and some of the memorials.

2. The Village Street

The general use of brick in the village gives unity to the the buildings even when there is a difference of up to 200 years in their construction. The guide for this part of the tour will highlight some of the most interesting parts, including the old rectory, the old village shop and The Vernon Arms, whilst almost talking about the social history of the Sudbury she remembers from the 1950s.

3. Sudbury Hall and view of the Deercote

In 1513 a younger son of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon came by marriage into the possession of Sudbury. In 1659 the great-grandson of Dame Mary Vernon, George, inherited the small manor house that she had built. Over a period of more than 40 years until his death in 1702, George Vernon built and decorated Sudbury Hall. Find out what the folly building is that can be seen from the Main Road.

4. Sudbury Gasworks

Sudbury Gasworks is a Grade II 'at risk' building of 1874 attributed to country house architect, George Devey. The original purpose of the gasworks was to manufacture gas from coal. Representatives from Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust will show attendees around the site and talk to them about the funding they have received to restore and develop the building for community use.

Each group will have the opportunity to have refreshments in the garden of 14 School Lane - coffee, soft drinks, sausage rolls and cakes - all donations will go towards the Sudbury Gasworks restoration project. If you do not want refreshments, please get in touch and we will start you in the group that doesn't include this.

Please be aware that each group will be limited to six people and social distancing should be adhered to at all times.

You will be contacted ahead of the tour with a plan of the village so you know which location to start at. Each group will start at 2pm - please arrive promptly as we will need to be strict with timings. Suitable footwear should be worn as some areas of ground on the walk are uneven.

All Saints Church, Sudbury

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.



One the most important icons of Britain’s working-class heritage is under threat.

Please help us save the most hopeful building in Britain!

The Church of St Andrews, Barrow Hill in Derbyshire will close this month and despite a groundswell of community interest in saving the building and its contents its future appears bleak. Despite three attempts spread over ten years and supported by Chesterfield Borough Council, Historic England have refused to recognise its historic importance because of its ‘modest’ design. It is true that this brick built working class church is modest because the community that paid for it were miners and steel workers.

But this was the design test for two giants of the Garden City movement; Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker. Their contribution to working class housing was even more monumental and it’s what they learned about the appalling conditions in Derbyshire mining villages that fuelled their commitment for a beautiful home for everyone regardless of their income. We believe that St Andrew’s marks a critical moment in both their partnership and evolution of Raymond Unwin from mining engineer to outstanding exponent of the Arts and Craft tradition. It was a building they both put their heart and soul into, even making the internal fixtures. It is vital that Historic England lists St Andrews and that we all support the local community in finding a fitting legacy to this extraordinary heritage asset.

The Historical Significance of Unwin and Parker

The English Heritage Publication ‘English Garden Cities’ (Miller 2010) sets out powerfully the shared and unique contribution of Unwin and Parker. They above all figures in the Garden City movement translated high ideals into practical action on a grand scale. This was not simply through individual design and master plans but in their contribution to founding the modern town planning system and to housing design standards. Miller points to the influence of the joint publication ‘The Art of building a Home’ (1901) and to Unwin's critical shaping of the Tudor Walters Report (1919) which transformed the design approach of the 1.8 million working class homes built in the interwar period.

Unwin and Parker’s work had an overtly political purpose to provide working class communities with high quality design and amenities inspired originally by Ruskin’s notion of the positive effect of good surroundings on the human well-being. They also advocated the Co-ownership housing model and Unwin’s 'Nothing Gained by overcrowding’ (1912) made an economic as well as social case for houses with decent gardens. The TCPA believes these two figures deserve to be recognised as the most influential planning and design partnership of the 20th century.

The heart of the case for listing hangs on the significance of St Andrew’s in the development of Unwin and his partnership with Parker. It is clear that St Andrew’s is ‘The earliest work of Parker and Unwin’ (Pevsner 1978). Unwin and Parker’s personal relationship was founded in family ties (they were half cousins) but St Andrew’s, which involved both design (Unwin) and manufacture of detailed internal features (Parker), marks the first practical design collaboration between them.

A real sign of the significance which they themselves ascribed to the building is the fact that they ‘meticulously preserved’ the plans for St Andrew’s throughout their professional lives.

St Andrew’s marks the transformation of Unwin from a mining engineer with no formal architectural training into one of England’s most renowned architect planners. Unwin worked as chief designer at Staveley Coal and Iron Company from 1887 until he established the architectural practice with Parker a decade later. His role as designer increased form 1890 when he began to design whole villages of bye law housing built with minimum cost. Each community was also provided with a range of community buildings from welfare to sports clubs and churches. Arkwright Town and Poolsbrook have now been demolished but some of Unwin’s terraces survive at Warsop Vale. While further research is ongoing it appears that St Andrew’s is the only surviving example of an Unwin and Parker designed community building from this early period (1878 to 1896). While Parker was the most immediate influence on Unwin he was also transformed through his meeting with Edward Carpenter whose house, just north of Chesterfield, was a crucible for idealists and architects.

The TCPA strongly urges Historic England to reconsider the decision not to list St Andrew’s. We continue to believe that there is an overwhelming case for such a designation not solely on the grounds of intrinsic architectural value but in relation to the iconic role this building plays in the formative development of two of the greatest figures in the British and international Garden City movement. If you have time to send an email please contact Historic England.

Please write to the CEO of Historic England Duncan Wilson:


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