Derby Town and Village Descriptions


Pigot's 1828-29 Commercial Directory


Derby Darley
Allestrey Quarndon
Ockbrook Spondon


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DERBY, the county and principal town in Derbyshire, in the hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, is 126 miles from London, 59 from Manchester, 33 from Buxton, 34 from Chapel-en-le-Frith, 24 from Chesterfield, 16 from Nottingham, 13 from Ashbourn, and 11 from Burton-upon-Trent.  It is a very ancient town occupying a flat tract of land, on the banks of the river Derwent, and is situated peculiarly favourable for the process of manufactures which require the aid of water; and various mills have been established in the town, or its immediate vicinity, for the manufacture of silk and cotton; but the most celebrated are those of porcelain, and ornaments of Derbyshire spar and marble.  The manufacture of silk is carried on to a considerable extent, and the number of men, women, and children employed in it is upwards of 1000.  The articles produced from silk are various, embracing hose, handkerchiefs, shawls, ferrets, laces, and sewing silk.  The original mill erected by Mr. Crochett, called the 'Silk Mill,' by way of pre-eminence, being the first and largest of the kind ever erected in England, stands on an island on the river Derwent.  Its history is remarkable, and serves to show the great influence which the enterprizes of an individual have on the commerce of a country.  The manufacture of porcelain was originally established here about the year 1750, by the ingenious Mr. Duesbury, but the most considerable improvements have been effected since his decease, by the judicious method of preparing the paste and increasing the beauty of the decorations.  The ware itself is not of equal fineness with the French and Saxon, but its worksmanship and ornaments are far superior.  The manufacturing of spar and polishing of marble, carried on here, is very curious.  Various other branches of business, besides the manufactures already mentioned, are also carried on to a considerable extent, and several works of magnitude have lately been established; a mill for the slitting and rolling of iron; a large furnace for smelting copper ore, with a machine for flattening and rolling the copper into sheets; a red lead manufactory; a mill for making tinned plates; large malting concerns, corn mills, tanneries, soaperies; and there have been lately introduced large establishments for printing books.  On Nun's Green a bleaching ground has been opened, in which the processes are preformed by chymistry.  The town is governed by a mayor, 9 aldermen, 14 brothers, and 14 capital burgesses, who elect their successors; the mayor, ex-mayor and four senior aldermen being always justices of the peace.  The assizes for the county are held here, as are also the sessions, except those at midsummer, which are held at Chesterfield:  the mayor holds a quarterly court of session, and a court leet twice in the year, the corporation being lords of the manor.  There is also a court of requests for the recovery of small debts, held at the Guildhall every third Tuesday.  Derby returns two members to parliament; the present representatives are H.F.C. Cavendish and Saml. Crompton, Esqrs.; the elective franchise is in the free burgesses, and the mayor is the returning officer.  The principal public buildings are a very beautiful infirmary, built by subscription, replete with every convenience; county-hall, a townhall, a county gaol, an elegant assembly-room, and a theatre.  Among the modern improvements of the place are the lighting and paving of the streets; and removing those obstructions that prevented a free passage; the removal of several bridges that were built across the Markeaton brook, and erecting three new ones of stone, as well as an elegant bridge of three arches over the Derwent; which, together with the silk mills, the weirs, and the broad expanse of the river, forms a very pleasing prospect on entering the town from the Nottingham road.  The vicinity furnishes a variety of agreeable walks, where the inhabitants may enjoy a salutary exercise, and a succession of prospects distinguished by the softer features that attend cultivation.  Numerous bequests for the relief of the poor have been made at different times by benevolent persons; one of the most considerable is the Devonshire alms-house for the support of poor men and women; Wilmot's hospital for four poor men and women; Large's hospital for five clergymen's widows; national and Lancasterian schools; numerous Sunday schools; two infant schools; and a free school, founded by Walter Durdant, bishop of Lichfield, and William de Barba Aprilis, in the reign of Henry II.  Science and literature meet with encouragement; this may in some degree be ascribed to the philosophical society established here abut the year 1772.  Several book societies have also been instituted; and to the credit of the individuals composing them, the works purchased are chiefly of a scientific and philosophical tendency.  Here is a mechanics' institute, and a permanent library, established in 1811.  Two newspapers are published weekly, viz. the 'Derby Mercury' on Wednesday, and the 'Derby Reporter' on Thursday.  Five parish churches are in the borough, viz. All Saints', a perpetual curacy, of which the Rev. Chas. Stead Hope is the minister; St. Alkmund's, Rev. Charles Robert Hope, curate; St. Michael's, Rev. Charles Robert Hope, curate; St. Michael's, Rev. john Garton Howard, vicar; St. Peter's, Rev. Richd. Rowland Ward, vicar; and St. Werburgh's, Rev. Edw. Unwin, vicar:  there is a chapel of ease to St. Werburgh's building, to be called St. John's.  The family vault of the Duke of Devonshire is in the church of All Saints.  Here are chapels for the methodists, independents, particular and general baptists, unitarians, primitive methodists, a catholic chapel, a friends' meeting house, &c.  In the vicinity of the town are many seats and mansions of consequence; and the country round is exceedingly fertile, well wooded, and plentifully supplied with water.  The surface of the country is flat to the south of the town, and only gently waved on the other sides.  Market days are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Fairs are January 25th, Friday in Easter week, first Friday after May 1st, Friday in Whitsun-week, July 25th, for horses, cattle, and sheep; March 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and September 27th, 28th, and 29th, for cheese.  A cheese market, or fair, is also held on the last Tuesday in August; markets for cattle every Friday in May, and for fat cattle every other Tuesday throughout the year.  The population of the borough, it is stated, has considerably augmented since the census of 1821:  it then contained 19,648 inhabitants; the separate parishes contain as follows:  St. Alkmund's, 3,462; All Saints', 3,745; St. Michael's, 925; St. Peter's, 3,974; St. Werburgh's 5,317; to which must be added, to the parishes extending into Morleston and Litchurch hundred, for St. Alkmund's, 1,565; St. Michael's, 399; and St. Peter's, 261.


ALLESTREY, a parish, in the hundred of Marleston, about two miles from Derby, contains a handsome church, with a square tower; the living is in the gift of Francis Mundy, Esq. of Mark Heaton.  The parish contains about 360 inhabitants.


DARLEY, or Darley Abbey, a small village and township, in the parish of St. Alkmund, is one mile from Derby, in the same hundred as Allestrey, seated on the Derwent, upon which are a cotton mill and a paper mill, affording employment to many of the inhabitants.  The church, which has been lately erected, on the top of a hill, is a beautiful structure,  and from this situation the prospect is extensive.  A large school room has been built, and is supported entirely by Walter Evans, Esq. in which the boys are taught reading, writing and arithmetic, and the girls sewing.  The number of inhabitants is about 850.


OCKBROOK, a village, in a parish of the same name, is about six miles south-east from Derby, and contains one church under the establishment; the Rev. Samuel Hayes is the minister.  The moraviaus have a school, and also a chapel, the minister of which is the Rev. Samuel O'Connor, a man of exemplary habits and character, deservedly respected by those under his ministry.  The population of the parish, in 1821, was about 1,200.


QUARNDON, a village, in the parish of the same name, about three miles and a half from Derby, has a small church, but possesses no manufactures.  Kedleston hall, the seat of Lord Scarsdale is in the vicinity, in the park of which is a mineral spring, possessing properties the same as those at Harrowgate.  The parish contains about 450 inhabitants.


SPONDON, or Spoondon, a small village, in a parish so named, in the ward of Appletree, is about three miles E.S.E. from Derby.  The land in this parish is fertile, and the inhabitants are for the most part in agricultural employment; the number, in 1821, was 1,543, including 357 in the chapelry of STANLEY.


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