Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust newsletter october 2020

Chair's introduction

October 2020

Dear Friends and volunteers,

It is with great sadness that we report the death of my old colleague and friend Anthony Rossi. I hope that those older readers who knew him appreciate the Obituary below which recognises his invaluable contribution to the early years of the Trust

Our amazing Trustees, Friends, and volunteers have continued to push forward on all aspects of our mission during this difficult time. So much so, that there is not space in this Newsletter to include all our activities, such as progress on the Hippodrome and the Derbyshire Buildings At Risk (DB@R) Survey which will be reported on next time.

In this issue I hope you will be pleased to see that our ‘walks and talks’ continued and were well supported and we will soon be publishing our programme for next year – restrictions permitting; that the restoration of Wingfield Station is gathering momentum and our new initiative to create a Derbyshire Historic Buildings Academy is supported by the majority of Derbyshire’s Historic Building professionals – more anon.

May I endorse Lucy’s exhortation for more volunteers to come forward and help with our work. There is so much to do that there is room for all skills and all people. Finally, please can I encourage you to take five minutes to fill in the survey about Wingfield Station - the more feedback we get, the better! Thank you.

Yours ever,

Derek Latham (DHBT Chair)

(Banner image above from September tour of the grounds of Allestree Hall - with thanks to Andrew Rose and Maxwell Craven).

wingfield station - Project update

October 2020

Members of the Sinfin and Stenson Fields Asians Over 60 Social and Welfare Group following a tour of Wingfield Station, October 2020

September and October have been busy months for the project with various groups attending tours of Wingfield Station; each contributing excellent knowledge, skills, thoughts and insight that will help us to shape the project.

Visiting groups have included the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS), which was formed in 1878. The DAS may get involved further with our project as we are hoping for an archaeological study of the area of land between the track and the adjacent field. We know there once stood a building of some substance in this area; it first appears on the 1800-1889 OS 1:2500 sheet. We hope that our new archaeology contacts may be able to shed some light on this for us.

Members of the Midland Railway Society (MRS) visited on the 9th October. This is a group who have been watching the project with particular interest for some time! The MRS, along with its partner organisation, Derby Museums, has recently recommenced work at the temporary site of the Midland Railway Study Centre, following the long lay-off caused by 'lockdown'. As well as preparing for the impending move back to the newly refurbished Silk Mill they are also once again able to assist with research and questions. They have been an excellent source of information for Heritage Consultant, Mel Morris, for which we are very grateful.

On Sunday 25th October we welcomed members of the 'Sinfin and Stenson Fields Asians over 60 Social and Welfare Group' to Wingfield Station. Lucy and Peter were delighted to be presented with delicious homemade pakoras following the tour!

New barrier with signage at the entrance to the staton to help keep the site secure.

A number of small groups of volunteers and local residents have also visited and more tours are planned for late November. Many thanks to DHBT trustees Peter, Barry and Allan for leading the groups with so much enthusiasm.

Images from the recent visit from the Midlands Railway Trust Society (photo credits: DBA Consulting).

If you are part of a group who would like to come along and find out more - or even if you'd like to come on your own - please get in touch with Lucy (wingfieldstation@gmail.com) for more information about how you can get involved.

A selection of photos from recent tours of Wingfield Station - including a lovely group of smooth ink caps, which normally grow at the base of trees, but this lot chose a bag of cement mix instead.

Wingfield station - have your say

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the future of Wingfield Station.

The station will be converted into office accommodation, but we also want to make sure that we share the fascinating history of the building during the restoration and open it up for tours, talks and visits.

Please help us make plans for the station by filling in our short survey. It should take around 5-10 minutes.


Answers provided via this form will be anonymised and collated. Data will be processed by DHBT and DBA Consulting, who are supporting us to develop the project.

You can access the survey online via our website.

We've had a number of meetings with G+ Studio and DBA who are helping us to develop our interpretation framework. The South Wingfield Local History Group are a key part of the development of this aspect and have been instrumental in feeding in ideas for the key stories and themes.

Meeting with Graham from interpretive design consultancy, G+ Studio, to discuss ideas for communicating the history of the site to visitors.

If you would prefer to fill in a paper copy of the survey, please contact Lucy who will post one out to you.

Tour of Wingfield Station for members of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society.


A team of dedicated volunteers have already begun to make a real difference at Wingfield Station.

Clearance around the station building revealing the paving.

There has been some hard work taking place to clear and tidy the area outside the building. The clearance is revealing uneven surfaces, but it will allow for better assessments of the work that will need doing in coming months.

Volunteers also transformed our newly acquired site cabin in super quick time - from a rusty, white eye-sore to a freshly painted base for the team to meet in- it was a great team effort from all involved!

Volunteers prepping and painting the new (to us) site cabin.
The finished product!
Making the most of the fine weather to undertake ground clearance. (All above photo credits: John Stamp)

Many of you have already filled in a Volunteer Enquiry Form and expressed an interest in getting involved. If you have the time to spare during November/early December to help with the ground clearance tasks, please send an email to wingfieldstation@gmail.com.

allestree hall visit, 20th september 2020

Following on from the success of our Willersley Castle visit on Sunday 24th July, we went ahead with the tour of Allestree Hall in similar fashion; focusing on just the outdoor space and walking around the outside of the building following a detailed risk assessment.

The Georgian mansion, Allestree Hall, has lain empty and largely disused for some year. Since 1928 its park has been used as a golf course.

Allestree Hall (photo credit: Melissa Rundle-Gough).

DHBT has pressed the Hall's owners, Derby City Council, to put the Hall on the market to enble a new owner to come forward to restore it for a new sustainable use.

Parkland views at Allestree Hall (photo credit: Melissa Rundle-Gough).

This has now come about and the new owner, Andrew Rose, eloquently explained to those attending his plans for the restoration and conversion of the Georgian mansion. Meanwhile, DHBT's honorary historian, Maxwell Craven, enlightened the group about the architecture and the history of the building itself.

Andrew Rose and Maxwell Craven leading the tour (photo credit: Derek Latham).

visit to the mustard mill, toadhole furnace

Last month some of the DHBT team paid a visit to the 'Amber Mill Furniture Retail Enterprise Centre', at Amber House in Toadhole Furnace.

This Grade 2 Listed building built by Daniel Hopkinson in 1817, (his initials and date are inscribed over the arch windows), was used as a mustard mill in the mid 1800s. After the demise of the mustard mill, the building was subsequently purchased by 'The Amber Mill Furniture Manuf. Co .Ltd'., established in 1909 for the manufacture of traditional furniture. Prior to moving to Amber House, the company had manufactured furniture in Amber Mill, which is about 400m from the mustard mill.

The 'Amber Mill Furniture Manuf. Co. Ltd' continued manufacturing furniture until the late 1980s.

Since then it has remained empty until now, when it has been restored, retaining the charm of the original building with help of dedicated local artisans.

The fabric of the mustard mill has been sympathetically cleaned and pointed inside and out to enhance the coursed squared sandstone with sandstone dressings, which is quintessential of Derbyshire architecture.

The entire mill has undergone total renovation, including a new roof, a specially designed sweeping fabricated staircase inside, rewiring, plumbing, new hardwood windows in the original style, plus the installation of a klargester (no mains drainage within Toadhole Furnace), and super-fast broadband. The outside space has been landscaped to accommodate a generous carparking area.

The building will now provide light, flexible space to enable business start-ups and local entrepreneurs to promote their own businesses in convivial surroundings.

Many thanks to Ann for taking the time to show us around and talk to us about the development. Those involved include:

Architect - Tim Nutter

Building control - Peter Mandell

Overall building construction Clive Gibson

Joinery Alfreton – John Hunt

Drainage and landscaping - Graham Wright

Dry stone walling and stone work . – Shaun Graney. Peter Standley, Mick Goulty, Richard Bradbury and Des Watkinson

Fabrications – Universal Fabrications

Upton Electrical – Robert Upton

Central heating - J.J. Plumbing – Jonathan Bates

Broadband – w3z Broadband

The images below show before and after views of the property.


Anthony Paul Rossi CBE KSG Dip Arch Dip Con Studies (York) RIBA

Anthony Rossi - 7th October 1932 to 9th October 2020

Renowned Norfolk and Derbyshire architect, Anthony Rossi, died peacefully at home on the 9th October at the age of 88 after a protracted period of ill health. Awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to Heritage and Conservation he worked for more than 35 years to preserve and enhance the built heritage, mainly in Norfolk, Suffolk and Derbyshire.

Although born in Birmingham in 1932, Rossi came from a long line of Norwich silversmiths founded by an Italian immigrant, Giacinto Rossi, who arrived in England at the beginning of the 19th century after service in the Napleonic army during the Peninsula War.

Rossi’s parents moved back to Norfolk in 1938 and he was educated at Norwich School. He was then articled to the highly respected Norwich architectural practice of Cecil Upcher & James Fletcher Watson. After two years at the Polytechnic School of Architecture in London, followed by his National Service, he worked with several Norwich practices, including Wearing, Hastings and Rossi (1968-1972), before taking the newly established post graduate Diploma in Conservation at the University of York. He married Claire Statham in 1963 and had four children.

'He was from a Norfolk family of 13 generations, yet came to Derbyshire in 1974 to join the newly revitalised Derbyshire County Council Conservation Team as its Historic Buildings Adviser. Working with the team's young recruits to the world of building conservation, Anthony's willingness to freely share his knowledge and experience was exemplary, enabling his young colleagues to develop their professional skills by observing his. Anthony's meticulous examination of historic evidence, attention to detail, his ability to communicate his ideas by means of freehand sketches and his impartial and erudite advice - always offered in a calm and measured fashion - set an example and a standard which helped the team progress from strength to strength in the years to follow.'

In 1978 he was ‘head hunted’ to become Conservation Group leader with Norwich City Council, but became disillusioned with the council in control at that time, and returned in 1980 to work with former colleague Derek, when he formed his new practice Derek Latham and Associates

At Latham’s, Anthony’s skills were used to great effect by clients with historic buildings throughout Derbyshire, whether for meticulous repair, self-effacing extensions or empathetic new buildings within their curtilage, including several for the Derbyshire Historic Building’s Trust.

There is no better example of this than the rescue of the C17th Hopkinson’s House, 1-3 Greenhill, Wirksworth, the most significant derelict building in town. The roof and floors had fallen in, but carefully sifting the rubble he was able to resurrect many original features in the process of repair and re-use. Using trades under his direct control, rather than a building contractor he painstakingly pieced the property back together on an extremely limited budget for the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust. The completion of the project was a turning point for the Wirksworth project, established by the Civic Trust and Monument Trust to revitalise and regenerate this unique Derbyshire town. It inspired local residents, and others from outside, to believe in the future of the town and invest in other derelict buildings, bringing them, and the town back to life. This contribution was recognised by HRH the Prince of Wales personally when presenting it with the Civic Trust Award.

He was an extremely talented historic building specialist who always had time to give advice. Quiet and self-effacing but with a sharp sense of humour and wit. His hand drawn construction details were true works of art. His work to stabilise and make accessible the ruins of Hardwick Old Hall was ground-breaking and exemplary.

In March 1987 he returned to his beloved Norfolk where he established his own practice where his projects largely related to historic buildings or buildings in historic settings and consolidated his already established reputation. During the 22 years in his own practice, projects of note included the repair of the near derelict Thorpe Hall in Norwich and the severely damaged Waxham Barn for Norfolk County Council, both projects following public enquiries. He also advised over a number of years on the repair of the great barn at Paston, the care and maintenance of Blickling Hall and Flatford for the National Trust as well as working for several preservation trusts, local authorities and historic churches frequently in cooperation with English Heritage.

A devout Roman Catholic, he undertook work for the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia and the National Shrine including acting as architect to the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich for 11 years. He was awarded a Papal Knighthood in 1998 for his outstanding contribution to the Church.

Despite his personal allegiance to the Church of Rome, he generously gave his time to other denominations. He was a long serving member of Derby Diocesan Advisory Committee, not just whilst living and working in Derbyshire, but continuing after returning to his native Norfolk. Every month he would catch a train at a very early hour from Norwich to Derby to attend the DAC morning meetings and on occasions go on to join in site visits, giving his time freely, despite being a single practitioner.

His work was recognised through a number of conservation and craftsmanship awards as well as two Civic Trust commendations. A thought leader in environmentally responsible design, he was the winner of North Norfolk’s Graham Allen Award in 2007 for the design of the new Roman Catholic Church in Little Walsingham, a carbon neutral design using 90m ground probes to provide under floor heating and 138 photovoltaic cells on the roof for all additional energy requirements and in 2008 he was awarded the CBE for Heritage and to Conservation.

During his professional career he was Deputy Chairman of the Ancient Monuments Society and Chairman of the Society’s Technical Committee. He was a trustee and then consulting architect to the Historic Chapels Trust from its foundation in 1993. He served for 20 years on the Council of the Norfolk & Norwich Archaeological Society, was a member of the Diocesan Historic Churches Committee, Vice Chairman of the Norwich Council of Churches and architectural advisor to the Wolfson Foundation, a charitable trust committed to the advancement of science and medicine, health, education, the arts and humanities. He acted for a time as external examiner for the post graduate conservation course at Leicester School of Architecture and worked with a number of other educational establishments including the University of York.

Softly spoken and modest, Rossi adopted a low-key, even ascetic way of life with the air of a slightly eccentric Oxford don. With a bone dry, subversive sense of humour, he was profoundly pleased to have been once lampooned by the magazine, Private Eye, a publication of which he thoroughly approved. One of his closest associates cites Rossi’s “talent and integrity…always displayed with gentlemanly manners”. Apart from his devotion to his work, the Church and his family, his simple pleasures included his books, the Norfolk countryside and a lifelong passion for both Sherlock Holmes and Gilbert & Sullivan. His extravagant rendition of The Mikado’s aria “My Object All Sublime” remains a treasured memory for his family. He will be sorely missed by his wife, children and twelve grandchildren.

Footnote: a typical anecdote:

Anthony got a phone call from the redoubtable Billa Harrod (Lady Harrod widow of the economist Sir Roy) asking if he was free Saturday morning. Having confirmed he was he was asked if he could be at Waxham Barn at 10.00 that day. No further explanation was given. It wasn’t until he turned up it was revealed Prince Charles was coming and wanted to be talked through the repair project.

DHBT Academy - start up workshop

Attendees at the DHBT Academy workshop, September 2020.

On the 8th September, some of the DHBT team got together with a number of Derbyshire heritage professionals to discuss the spark of an idea - the creation of a ‘DHBT Academy’.

It was fantastic to hear the thoughts of others about how this initiative might develop. You can find out more about the development of the DHBT Academy here.

Many thanks to all those who attended and to The Cotton Shed Venue in Darley Abbey and Andrew Rose for hosting us. What a great location!

DHBT Academy discussions led by Mark Somerfield, James Boon and Derek Latham - September 2020.

derby railway cottages & the brunswick inn october 2020

Images taken during the tour (photo credits: Mark Somerfield).

Despite the relatively overcast weather, we held a successful autumnal heritage walk yesterday that explored Francis Thompson’s (1808-1895) scheme of railway workers' cottages and the Brunswick Inn in Derby, which Thompson designed in the 1840s and which the the Trust rescued from the threat of demolition and successfully renovated in the early 1980s.

Maxwell Craven gave an extremely rich account of the history of the site, including the 'rise and demise' of Thompson in his role as in-house architect for the Midland Railway company, whilst Derek Latham talked the group through the trials and tribulations of renovating and developing a scheme of this size and importance.

Despite it now being nearly forty years ago, it still stands as a shining example of what historic conservation can achieve!

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The dhbt strengthen links with the University of derby

Derek presenting to the 3rd Year University of Derby students.

DHBT trustees Derek Latham and Mark Somerfield spent an interesting morning this month speaking to the 3rd year Interior Design students at the University of Derby's Britannia Mill campus about the creative re-use of historic buildings.

Mark also spotted some really nice faience brickwork in the stairwell!

Good to see these old mills still being used and that some of their historic features have been preserved.

Faience brickwork in the stairwell.

meet the dhbt team

On the 14th September we held our AGM - with some of us spaced out at Hopkinson's House and others linking into the meeting via Zoom!

All seven of the existing trustees we re-appointed, including Derek Latham as Chair. The Board are also very happy to be welcoming Mark Somerfield, who has been volunteering with the organisation for the past 12 months.

Mark brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with him and is leading on the development of the DHBT Academy, amongst many other things! You can find out about more about all of the trustees here.

You can also read the Chairman's report.

Visit the DHBT website to find out more about the current Board of Trustees.