Derby consists of the following parishes:

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

DERBY, a town and a district in Derbyshire. The town stands in a valley on the banks of the Derwent, almost surrounded by gently sloping hills, at the centre of the Midland railway system, 29 miles NW of Leicester, 42 NNE of Birmingham, and 127 NW by N of London. Its position, in regard to railway conveyance, has contributed largely, during the last few years, to the extension of its trade and commerce; and has induced many tourists to make it the starting point for visits to the picturesque scenery, and interesting spots, with which the county abounds.

History.—An ancient British station is supposed to have stood here, on the line of Icknield-street; and a Roman settlement stood at Little Chester. Many Celtic remains, Roman coins, fragments of pottery and pavement, and other relics have been found. The place was known to the Saxons as Northworthigie, and to the Danes as Deoraby. It was a “royal ville” in the time of Bede; and was captured by the Danes in 918. One half of its male inhabitants, capable of bearing arms, fell on the fatal field of Hastings. It was given by William the Conqueror to William Peveril; and passed, in the time of Henry I., to the Earl of Chester. Edward II. was at it before the battle of Boroughbridge. A female martyr, poor and blind, was burned at it in 1556. Mary, Queen of Scots, was a night here, in 1585, on her way to Tutbury Castle. Charles I. was here in 1641; and again, with his army on the way to Shrewsbury, in 1642. The plague desolated the town in 1665; but is said never to have touched the premises of a tobacconist, a tanner, or a shoemaker. Prince Charles Edward was here, en route for London in 1754, and took up his quarters at Exeter House, an old mansion, which was taken down so recently as 1854. He proceeded southward with his troops as far as Swarkeston Bridge, when they were seized with panic, and returned to Scotland. The town was visited, in 1768, by Christian VII. of Denmark; had a great riot, in 1831, at the rejection of the reform bill; and was visited, in 1843, by the Royal Agricultural Society. It gave the title of Earl, in 1138, to Robert de Ferrars; in the time of Henry III., to a member of the Plantagenet family; and in the reign of Henry VII., to Sir Thomas Stanley, with whose descendants the title has since remained.

Streets and Public Buildings.—A main street runs through the town from north to south; and is, in some parts wide and open, – in others narrow, winding, and, from the amount of traffic flowing through it, frequently dangerous to passengers. A plan was recently adopted by the corporation, which, when carried out, will provide a noble central thoroughfare. A castle formerly stood at the south-east corner of the town; but at what precise period, or by whom, it was erected, is not known; and it has entirely disappeared. The town-hall, on the south side of the market-place, is a stone edifice, surmounted by a lofty clock tower, and pierced with arches leading to the municipal hall, and the new market. The latter was erected in 1865, at a cost of £20,000; and measures 200 feet by 110. The county-hall comprises a pilastered front of 1660, and new hall and courts of 1829. Government offices, in the Grecian style, at a cost of nearly £6,000, were built in 1869. The county jail was built in 1826, and has capacity for 337 male and 29 female prisoners. The assembly-rooms have a pedimented front, and are very commodious. The old theatre, in Bold-lane, recently was converted into a mission hall. A structure in Corn-market and Victoria-street, comprising the Athenæum, the post office, and the Royal hotel, was erected in 1839, at a cost of upwards of £20,000; and presents two imposing fronts, 185 and 134 feet long. The Mechanics’ institute, in Wardwick, is a large building, with a pedimented front. The town and county library, and the town and county museum also occupy a large house in Wardwick. A commodious corn exchange, in connection with which is a large and elegant public hall, was erected in 1860; and a convenient cattle market was constructed in 1861. Two excellent bridges cross the Derwent. A public park of 6 acres was presented to the town by M. Bass, Esq., in 1867.

Parishes.—St. Werburgh and All Saints parishes are wholly in the borough; and St. Alkmund, St. Michael, and St. Peter parishes are partly also in Shardlow district. St. Werburgh includes Christ-Church and St. John chapelries; St. Alkmund includes Little Chester township, and St. Paul, Darley-Abbey, and Little Eaton chapelries; St. Michael includes Alvaston township and chapelry; and St. Peter includes Litchurch township, and Trinity, St. Andrews, St. James’, and Boulton chapelries. Acres, within the borough, 2,970; within Shardlow district, 2,600. Real property of St. Werburgh, £53,349, of which £5,192 are in gas-works; of A-Saints, £25,022, of which £507 are in the canal; of St. Alkmund, £34,542; of St. Michael, £3,679; of St. Peter, £47,431, of which £2,202 are in the canal. Pop. of St. Werburgh, 13,222; of All Saints, 4,049; of St. Alkmund, 13,582; of St. Michael, 1,519; of St. Peter, 20,234. The livings of St. Werburgh, St. Alkmund, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Paul, Little Eaton, Boulton, St. John, and Alvaston are vicarages, and those of All Saints, Christ-Church, Darley-Abbey, and St. Andrew are p. curacies, in the dio. of Lichfield. St. Alkmund is united with St. Ann; St. Peter with Normanton. Value of St. Werburgh, £312; of St. Alkmund, £270; of St. Michael, £115; of St. Peter, £360; of All Saints, St. John, St. Paul, Darley-Abbey, and Little Eaton, each £300; of Christ-Church and Alvaston, each £300; of St. Andrew, £200; of Trinity, not reported: of Boulton, £120. Patron of St. Werburgh and St. Michael, the Lord Chancellor; of St. Alkmund, the Rev. E. H. Abney; of St. Peter, F. Wright, Esq.; of All Saints, Simeon’s Trustees; of Christ-Church, Trustees; of St. John, the Vicar of St. Werburgh; of Alvaston, Parishioners; of St Paul, altern. the Crown and the Bishop; of St. Andrew, the Bishop; of Darley-Abbey, T. W. Evans, Esq.; of Little Eaton, the Vicar of St. Alkmund; of Trinity, B. West, Esq.; of Boulton, Proprietors of Land.

Churches and Chapels.—The places of worship in 1865, were 11 of the Church of England, 3 of Independents, 4 of Baptists, 4 of Wesleyan Methodists, 1 of New Connexion Methodists, 3 of Primitive Methodists, 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, 1 of Unitarians, 1 of Quakers, 1 of Sweden-borgians, 1 of Plymouth Brethren, and 1 of Roman Catholics. St. Werburgh’s church, at the foot of Friar-gate, is a modern structure, incorporating some earlier portions; consists of Tuscan nave, aisles, and chancel, with a Gothic tower; and contains a fine monument by Chantrey to the wife of Col. Wingate. All Saints church is a Doric edifice of 1725, after designs by Gibbs; has a rich late perpendicular English tower, of three stages, 174 feet high, surmounted by pinnacles; was restored in 1850, at a cost of £1,200; and contains an iron screen, a fine altar-piece, splendid monuments of the Cavendish family, and memorials to Richard Crowshaw, Major Jordan, Dr. Hutchinson, Sir William Wheeler, and others. St. Alkmund’s church, in Queen-street, was built in 1846, on the site of a previous picturesque ancient church, at a cost of about £9,000; is in the decorated English style; consists of nave, aisles, spacious chancel, and south porch, with parvise; has a western tower and spire, 205 feet high; and contains a fine altar-screen, a carved eagle-lectern, and a rich alabaster tomb of John Bullock of Darley-Abbey. St. Michael’s church is a new edifice, in room of a small late perpendicular one, which partly fell in 1856; and has a square embattled tower. St. Peter’s church, in St. Peter-street, is chiefly perpendicular English, partly late decorated; has a square, embattled, pinnacled tower; and was recently restored and beautified in the interior, under the direction of Mr. Street. Christ-Church, in Normanton-road, was built in 1840 as a memorial of Bishop Ryder; occupies one of the most elevated spots in the town; was recently much improved by the addition of a chancel; and has a tower and spire. St. John’s church, in Bridge-street, was built in 1827; and is in bad mixed style, chiefly Tudor. St. Paul’s church, in Little Chester, was built in 1850, as a memorial of Bishop Shirley; and is a cruciform edifice, in the decorated style, with a north-eastern tower. Trinity church, in London-road, is a commodious building, in the worst possible Gothic. St. Andrew’s church, in the vicinity of the railway, was built in 1865, at a cost of £12,000, and is in the early English style. The Independent chapel in Victoria-street, and the Baptist chapel in Osmaston-road, were erected in 1862, at a cost of between £7,000 and £8,000 each; and they have each a nave and transepts, with tower and fine spire. A United Presbyterian chapel and an Independent chapel, both in the style of the 13th century, were built in 1869. The Congregational chapel, in the London-road, is a handsome building in the classical style. The Wesleyan chapels, in King-street and London-road, are well-built and commodious. Two temporary Episcopal churches were erected, St. James’ in 1865, St. Luke’s in 1868. The Roman Catholic church, in Bridge-gate, was built in 1839, after designs by Pugin, at a cost of £8,400; and is in the perpendicular English style. There were anciently several religions foundations, -chiefly the priory of St. James, the abbey. of St. Helen, an hospital for lepers, and a Dominican convent in Friar-gate; but every trace of them has disappeared.

Schools and Institutions.—There are numerous schools in Derby; but the chief is the grammar-school. This was founded, in 1160, by Durant, Bishop of Lichfield; was, for centuries, well endowed and in very high repute; underwent change at the Reformation; has recently re-acquired much celebrity; was removed, in 1862, from St. Peter’s churchyard to St. Helen’s House, formerly the residence of Lord Belper; has an exhibition of £50 a year, at Emmanuel college, Cambridge; and numbers among its pupils Archbisbop Saville, Bishop Juxon, Thomas Linacre, Flamsteed, the astronomer, Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Lord St. Helens, Blackwall, author of “Sacred Classics,” and Dr. Darwin. The Diocesan Institution, for training schoolmistresses, is a fine edifice in the Tudor style, on the Uttoxeter-road; contains accommodation for 42 students, and is well supported. The arboretum, on the Osmaston-road, includes about 16 acres of ground, splendidly laid out; was mainly a public gift of Joseph Strutt, Esq., and partly a purchased addition; was opened in 1840, and estimated to be then worth £10,000; comprises walks, flower-plots, shrubberies, arbours, a fountain, and Gothic entrance-lodges; and serves as a public pleasure-ground, and place of picnic parties. A “Crystal Palace” was recently added at a cost of £2,000; and is used for flower-shows, bazaars, and other exhibitions. The race-course, on the Nottingham-road, has a spacious grand stand; and races are run twice a year. The Infirmary, in London-road, was erected at a cost of £17,870, and is mainly a large three-story edifice of 1810, with Doric portico and projecting wings, and partly a recent addition for fever and lock wards. The county lunatic asylum, at Mickleover, is a Tudor edifice, after designs by Duesbury. The Devonshire alms-house, founded, in the time of Elizabeth, by the Countess of Shrewsbury, has £180 from endowment; Nun’s-Green, or Large’s alms-house, for the widows of clergymen, has £200; Wilmot’s alms-house has £46; and other charities, inclusive of the grammar-school, have £127.

Trade and Manufactures.—Derby has a head post-office, a central railway station, a telegraph office, four banking offices, and seven chief hotels; and publishes six weekly newspapers. The railway station is a fine though irregular pile of building; has a frontage of 1,050 feet, and a handsome iron-roofed passenger shed 450 feet long, and 140 wide; and includes a large building for the holding of shareholders’ meetings, the delivery of lectures to the railway institute, and other purposes. Cattle markets are held on Tuesdays; other markets on Fridays; and fairs on the first Friday of Jan., 25 Jan., 21 and 22 March, the Friday in Easter-week, the Friday after May-day, the Friday in Whit-week, 25 July, and 27, 28, and 29 Sept. Manufactures are carried on in silks, cottons, porcelain, spar and marble ornaments, chemicals, iron-work, colours, stockings, lace, watches, leather, soap, and other departments. Large quantities of cheese are made in the neighbourhood, and find here, at the annual fairs, ready sale. The first silk mill erected in England was built here in 1718, and is still standing. The silk trade has been somewhat depressed during the last few years; but still employs several thousand hands. The spar, marble, and porcelain works are highly interesting, and will repay a visit of inspection.

The Borough.—Derby is a borough by prescription; has sent two members to parliament since 1294; and is governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors. Its borough limits are the same parliamentarily as municipally; and were not altered by the reform bill. It is the head-quarters of the county militia, and the seat of assizes and quarter sessions; and has daily small courts. Direct taxes in 1857, £21,514. Electors in 1868, 2,532. Pop. in 1841, 32,741; in 1861, 43,081; including Lit-church and Little Chester, 50,064. Flamsteed, the astronomer, Richardson, the novelist, Wright, the painter, Mawe, the mineralogist, Hutton, the historian, Joseph Strutt, Lord Belper, Jones, Bourne, and the two Dethicks, were natives; and Pilkington, the historian, Simpson, the topographist, Whithurst, the cosmogonist, Degge, the antiquary, Fox, the Quaker, Dr. Darwin, and the first Earl of Macclesfield were residents.

The District.—The poor-law district includes all the borough; includes also Darley-Abbey chapelry and Little Chester township in St. Alkmund parish, and Litchurch township in St. Peter parish; but excludes Little Eaton chapelry in St. Alkmund, Alvaston township in St. Michael, and Boulton township in St. Peter. Poor-rates in 1863, £8,278. Pop. in 1841, 35,019; in 1861, 51,049. Houses, 10,630. Marriages in 1860, 597; births, 1,949, of which 145 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,092, of which 421 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 5,951; births, 17,734; deaths, 11,407. The places of worship in 1851 were 12 of the Church of England, with 9,064 sittings, and 22 of other denominations, with 11,083 s.; and the schools were 26 public day schools, with 3,976 scholars; 72 private day schools, with 1,524 s.; 32 Sunday schools, with 7,872 s., and 4 evening schools for adults, with 110 s. The workhouse is in Litchurch township, and adjoins the arboretum.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


In 1845 the main employment in the town for the working classes were:

  • Silk mills
  • Cotton mills
  • Net Lacemakers
  • Stockingers (Silk)
  • Silk Weavers
  • China Workers
  • Foundry-men
  • Lead mills
  • Paper mills


1832 – outbreak of cholera in Derby.

In 1842 Small-pox was reported as to “seldom exist to any great extent in Derby. And of measles and scarlet-fever, numberless cases go unrecorded ; because medical assistance is not sought for unless the disease takes an unfavourable turn. This is more especially the case as regards measles, and leads to many a death that might have been averted by more timely help.

The following, extracted from the 1842 Sanitary Enquiry, provides an interesting insight into the living conditions and health of the residents.


Of these the following are perhaps the most numerous, and the most injurious to health. Privies placed near to, and not unfrequently forming part of dwelling-houses also their cesspools, badly drained ; or not at all. There are instances of the wall of a cesspool forming part of the wall of a lodging-room. Pigsties, often, as already mentioned (Sect. XIII.), in confined courts. Butchers’ slaughter-houses with deposits of offal. This last is often boiled twice a-week, in order to extract thereby any remaining fat ; this process, of course, causes a most offensive smell to be diffused throughout the neighbourhood ; to say nothing of the state of such filthy accumulations, between the times of boiling the offal, which is subsequently given to pigs ; and this disposal of it entails the additional evil of pigsties near the same spot. Cows kept in stalls in the heart of the town ; streams which run through the town, being polluted by filth from slaughter-houses; privies of private houses, and factories ; also by the water from gas-works.

Litchurch Street

In the latter end of the year 1837 and beginning of 1838, Litchurch-street afforded a striking instance of a situation which promised exemption from malaria and disease, being heavily visited by typhus fever, caused, as I shall show, by the most wilful inattention to drainage.

Litchurch-street is situated in the southern suburb of Derby, from which indeed, although forming a part of the Derby union, it is separated by intervening fields and nursery-grounds belonging to the General Infirmary. Its course is nearly east and west, running down the side of a gentle declivity. The houses in Litchurch-street have not been built many years; are rather small, but are double houses, having a front and back room on the ground-floor, and over these a front and back bed-room.

At the back of the whole row (on the north side of the street) there runs a series of little gardens, each house possessing one, in width equal to the frontage of the house it belongs to, and in length 56 feet. To every five houses there is a pump ; and at the bottom of each garden a double privy, answering for two houses, the cesspool shallow, and open to the air ; and to this nuisance many have added a pigsty, and dung, or rubbish heap. The inhabitants of this street are poor people, chiefly silk-weavers, and what are here called frame-work-knitters or stockingers.

There are on this (the north) side of the street 54 houses, and between October, 1837, and the latter part of March, 1838, the families inhabiting six adjoining houses in the middle of the row were grievously afflicted with typhus fever, whilst those who dwelt in the remaining 48 houses were comparatively healthy.

The following list will give at one view the details of this visitation.

The houses are numbered from the bottom of the hill towards the top.

No. 25, Langton family, 3 persons ill with fever. Children, all of whom recovered

No. 26, Dearn family, 4 persons ill with fever. Man and wife, the former died.

No. 27, Bailey family, 1 persons ill with fever. Man, who recovered.

No. 28, Nettleship family, 4 persons ill with fever. Three children, and subsequently their mother. The children, after many weeks, recovered, but the poor mother (who was pregnant) being much weakened by the fever, and long attendance upon her children, died soon afterwards in child-bed.

No. 29, Curzon family, 5 persons ill with fever. First a lodger, named Elizabeth Sherwin, (recently confined,) and her infant, both died. Then three of Curzon’s children, who recovered.

No. 30, Hatfield family, 1 persons ill with fever. A girl, who recovered.

In all, sixteen persons attacked with typhus fever, of whom five died.

Here then we have a very interesting subject for investigation ; namely, how was it, that in a row of 54 houses, uniform in situation, size, and construction, tenanted by the same description of persons, the inhabitants of the six centre houses should have been attacked by a malignant fever, from which those who lived in the 24 houses above and 24 below them, altogether escaped ?

By a careful inspection of the whole row, I obtained the following information and facts:—that before this street was built, the natural moisture of the land, and any sudden rush of water caused by rain, was carried away by a ditch running down the whole length of the hill, where the present gardens terminate. Also, that in the gardens of the upper twenty-one or twenty-two houses this ditch had been filled up : and sinks and drains, communicating with the main sewer, that passes down the middle of the street, had been placed between each garden and the dwelling-house. At this point too there is a brick wall, carried down to the bottom of the garden, and dividing this property from the adjoining, and it is very probable that this wall assisted in checking the spread of the fever from the six infected houses, at which part of the row we have now arrived.

The state of the premises belonging to these ill-fated houses was as follows : —The ditch already alluded to as passing at the bottom of the gardens was here not filled up; there were not any sinks and drains, and the cesspools were overflowing into the ditch, which, here and there obstructed, formed a succession of foul and stinking pools, from four to six feet wide ; whilst the earth of the gardens was perpetually saturated with the offensive moisture exuding from them.

Descending the hill to the remaining twenty-four houses (below those infected) and which, from their standing upon lower ground, might reasonably be expected to have fared worse, I soon discovered from whence their protection came. The land adjoining the Litchurch-street gardens belongs, as I have already stated, to the General Infirmary, and the governors of that institution had eight years before built a wall in the former course of the ditch, before spoken of, which wall extended from the foot of the hill as far up as the house No. 24 ; at the same time they had filled up the ditch, carrying its contents by a drain, away from the gardens below, and into the nearest public sewer : now reference to the list detailing the amount and progress of the fever on this occasion will show that No. 25 was the first house affected. The connexion, therefore, between the facts here furnished, and the tregedy of the six houses, is too obvious to require further comment.

I shall conclude this part of my subject by adding, that, from motives of both humanity and economy, the Board of Guardians and the governors of the Infirmary jointly exerted themselves to get rid of so serious a nuisance, that the latter, at an expense of more than 50/., extended the wall of separation between Litchurch-street and their own lands, but that, in all other respects, the evil remains now (two years since) as it was then ; nor was there found any law that would compel its removal, the place complained of being private property.

Canal Street and Others

In Canal-street, five sisters in one family were successively attacked with typhus fever, caused by the escape of foul air from a drain.

It appears that a drain, coming from some neighbouring privies, had been carried so near to the house in which they resided as to form part of the boundary wall of the cellar, which had for some time previous become too offensive to be used.

Four months elapsed before this family became free from disease ; no return of which, however, has taken place since the removal of the drain, which now passes at a greater distance.

Abbey Barns and Kensington are on low ground, and insufficiently drained. At the back of the former there is a shallow brook that receives all the slops and waste water from the houses. Curzon-street is also low; has a court with single houses; and there is likewise a nuisance in this street.

Burton-road – thirty-four cases of fever. The whole district, although on the summit of a hill, is very unhealthy. The chief causes of which are, faulty construction of some of the houses, together with their premises and drains; the last-named being the most prominent evil.

Devonshire-street, Albion-street, Albion-place, Eagle-street, Bloom-street, Bag-lane. Not so unhealthy from situation as from some ill-constructed houses, with privies and cesspools close adjoining them: also from the narrowness of some of the streets; two of which, Eagle-street and Bloom-street, are nearly closed at one end: in addition to which there are, in the former street, seven courts; in the latter, three.

Bag-lane.—Low, and abounding in unhealthy courts.

Thorn-tree-lane. Low. The houses, which are all on one side, are backed by the filthy brook. It is also narrow, badly paved; and, in short, little has been done in any way to remedy as far as might be the evils of an unfavourable situation.

Cross-lane. The court here has a great share in producing the disease found in this lane.

St. James’s-lane is in the centre of the town: it is narrow, crowded, dirty, and made worse by courts and by nuisances.

Sadler-gate. Also in the heart of the town. It is one of the principal streets of business; but, with its neighbour Bold-lane, abounds in courts (eleven in the former, seven in the latter) that, for dirt and disease, may vie with the next district. Its lower part is near to the brook, from which proceeds much offensive exhalation.

Willow-row and Walker-lane consist for the most part of wretched houses, and still worse courts; the latter 22 in number. Willow-row also faces the dirty brook so often mentioned. Walker-lane is the St. Giles’s of Derby; a principal haunt of our own poor and of vagrants coming into the town, who too often import disease also. The sickness in the remaining four streets of this district is to be found chiefly in the courts they contain; this is remarkably the case in St. Helen’s-street, a wide open, and short street, of good houses, with the exception of those in the courts.

Bridge-street is wide, and consists of a respectable class of houses, but it has in it 12 courts, the entrances to all of which, except one, are very narrow. The interior of most of them is confined, and they contain numerous single houses, together with their share of nuisances. The amount of Disease is in proportion to these evils.

Lodge-lane has dirty and crowded courts, and nuisances in the main street.

Parker’s Flats, although so named, are on high ground. This spot, as has been previously noticed, is unhealthy, which is mainly attributable to the houses here being all single. They stand in three rows, two of which are placed back to back, and the third has its back built against larger houses.

Green-street. Several of the houses in this street also are single, and more are to be found in an unhealthy court on the south side of the street, in which I have lately witnessed severe fever and other sickness.

Brook-walk runs close alongside the dirty brook so often mentioned as passing through so much of the town. There are also here confined courts containing single houses. Of the remaining three streets in this district, Mundy-street appears to be the most unhealthy. It is nearer to the brook and to the meadow lands that flank the whole district towards the west, which lands are frequently irrigated from two adjacent mill-dams. Mundy-street, William-street, and Leaper-street, are also new streets; and, from their lying under the disadvantage attaching to new streets, they have hitherto been insufficiently drained.

St. Michael’s-lane has in it eight courts. The houses in it are also many of them of an inferior sort: there is a slaughter-house likewise. The pavement is bad, together with a general want of cleanliness.

Bridge-gate there are nine courts, most of them confined and dirty, containing houses of the most inferior sort and very old. The area of some of these courts is much below the level of the street. River-street, Bath-street, and Duke-street, are all built upon marshy land near to the river Derwent. They are without any cellars, and incapable of being thoroughly drained, the river here being artificially kept up bank full, in consequence of which this neighbourhood is occasionally flooded.

All that, has been said of River-street, Bath-street, and Duke-street, is applicable to Chester-place and City-road, they being on opposite sides of the same portion of the Derwent. Nottingham-road is situated on the same tract of meadow-land as the two places just mentioned, but adjoins a canal instead of the river. The whole of this district is not unfrequently under water in wet seasons.

Osmaston-street, St. Peter’s-street, Full-street, St. Mary’s-gate. Friar-gate, Queen-street, King-street, – seven of the principal streets of Derby, containing the best and most expensive description of houses, whether of business or private residences. They are however infested with courts, there being 34 in the seven streets, and in these was found nearly every case of sickness registered in this division.

St. Mary’s-gate, in this division, is a handsome and airy street, but contains (unknown perhaps by nearly all the respectable inhabitants of this street) one of the most inferior courts in all Derby, consisting of single houses only; and in one corner of the court as miserable a shed, for a house it is not, as was ever the abode of a human being. One family alone in this court has recently furnished three or four cases of typhus fever to our General Infirmary.

Recently witnessed in a street, called Short-street, a very similar visitation of fever, which lasted about four months, namely, from the commencement of October, 1840, to the end of January 1841: indeed, several persons who were the subjects of it continue at this time (February) patients in the General Infirmary. Short-street crosses and connects Leonard-street and Grove-street at the distance of about one-third from their lower end, and consists of 16 houses only; whilst in Leonard and Grove-streets, together, there are 116 houses. These three streets are inhabited by persons of the same class, viz., factory hands, silk-weavers, artisans, and labourers. Such being the case, they are all much upon a par as to their pecuniary circumstances and condition; notwithstanding which, during the four months already mentioned, (October, November, December, and January,) whilst there was only now and then a solitary case of fever existing in the 116 houses of Leonard and Grove-streets, there were 22 cases in the 16 houses of Short-street, as shown below :-

House No. 2, East side of street, Name of family: Clarke, Number of inmates: 4; Cases of fever: 1; Remarks: The fever began on this side.

House No. 7, East side of street, Name of family: Knifton, Number of inmates: 7; Cases of fever: 1; Remarks: The fever began on this side.

House No. 11, West side of street, Name of family: Haywood, Number of inmates: 6; Cases of fever: 2.

House No. 12, West side of street, Name of family: Slater, Number of inmates: 11; Cases of fever: 2; Number of Deaths: 1.

House No. 13, West side of street, Name of family: Taylor, Number of inmates: 10; Cases of fever: 7; Number of Deaths: 2.

House No. 14, West side of street, Name of family: Sowter, Number of inmates: 8; Cases of fever: 6.

House No. 15, West side of street, Name of family: Briggs, Number of inmates: 5; Cases of fever: 3; Remarks: All three young children, and Remittent Fever.

The prevalence of fever in this street may be thus accounted for :—The course of the street has not any fall either way, but is horizontal, and therefore unfavourable for carrying off moisture. Moreover, it has not any sewer of its own; but the drains on each side of the northern half are laid into the Leonard-street sewer, whilst the southern terminate in the sewer of Grove-street. The whole of the drains on each side of Short-street, were, however, choked up and obstructed, and they had been in this state for a long time past. One result of this stoppage of drains was, that the water yielded by a pump standing at the back of the houses Nos. 11 and 12, from having been excellent, had become so offensive as to oblige the neighbours to desist from using it. Then again, in addition to this accidental cause (the obstructed drains), there are others always existing which are prejudicial to the health of the inhabitants of Short-street as compared with those of Leonard and Grove-streets ; for, whilst these last have attached to their houses gardens of a considerable length, at, the extremity of which are the privies, those in Short-street are without gardens, and have only a small yard about 20 feet deep, with the privies about, 17 feet from the dwelling-houses, to the inmates of which they prove a great annoyance in hot weather.

It will be observed that, although the fever commenced on the east side of the street, the cases occurring on the west were the more numerous, as 20 to 2 which I believe lo have been partly caused by the adjacent ground being higher than the west side, and lower than the east side of Short- street, thereby causing the earth’s moisture to drain towards the houses of the former and from those of the latter side.

The houses in this street are not faulty in construction, but cannot afford accommodation for the large families that often tenant them; for instance, at No. 12, the Slaters are 11 in family, and of these, eight members of it sleep in one room measuring 14 feet by 11, that being the larger of two bed-rooms with which each house is provided. Much the same state of things exists at the next house, No. 13; and in each there is a great want of bedding, and, indeed, of every domestic comfort. The earnings of four members of the Slater family were as follows:

The father, 14s 0d per week at gardening &c.
The eldest son, aged 20, 12s 0d per week at a brewery
Daughter, twin aged 18, 6s 0d per week at a factory
Son, twin aged 18, 9s 0d per week at the same factory

The mother of this family, it appears, is left disengaged from all but her household duties and the care of the younger children; the house, nevertheless, is nearly destitute of furniture, and presents a picture of disorder and want. On the other hand, at No. 15 (Briggs), although the husband has for some years past been a weak and ailing man, the family is well ordered and cleanly and to this fact I mainly attribute the milder and modified form of fever which affected the children.

Crime and Punishment

The County Gaol

The County Gaol occupies a pleasant situation in the vicinity of the town near the old Uttoxeter road. It having been determined at the county sessions in 1821 to erect a new gaol and house of correction for the use of the county to admit of the arrangement and classification required by act of parliament. For this purpose six acres of land were obtained from the trustees of Larges’ Hospital valued at £2,400. The plans of Mr Francis Goodwin architect were approved of at the sessions of January 1823 who estimated the expenses of the proposed erections at £37,403 exclusive of the money paid for the land. These plans were afterwards submitted to the society for the improvement of prison discipline who suggested various alterations and additions which increased the cells to the number of 185 some of which will hold three persons each. This amended plan was approved of by the court and another estimate of the cost was given by the architect which amounted to £40,208 5s 4d. The gaol is capable of holding 333 prisoners and the total cost of the structure including furniture &c. was £65,227 4s 6d. The entrance displays a bold and commanding appearance exhibiting the strength of character of which the Doric order is capable. The boundary walls enclose an area of three acres they are built of brick 25ft high and defended with towers which are furnished with firearms. The Governor’s house and chapel stand in the centre from which radiate seven wings of two stories high. Two small buildings apart from the rest are appropriated to the females and another detached building is assigned to the refractory and those sentenced to solitary confinement. The sleeping cells measure 6ft by 8ft and 12ft high; the solitary cells are 11ft by 7ft and 12ft high and there are 21 yards for the classification of prisoners. The general arrangements of the building are of the most complete and satisfactory order and was pronounced by the Government Inspector as one of the most complete prisons in England. Mr John Sims, as keeper of the prison has a salary of £500 a-year; Mrs Sims as matron £40 a-year; Mr James Sims as deputy keeper £200 a-year and Mr Douglas Fox surgeon £100 a year for attending the prison daily and £20 for medicine. The chaplain receives £150 a year and performs divine service twice on the Sunday and afterwards attends the prisoners who are catechised and instructed. Prayers are also read every morning at 9 o’clock in the week days after which the chaplain devotes a short time to the moral and religious instruction of those convicted. There are fourteen turnkeys who each receive 20s a week two females 14s each and two watchmen 14s each.

The borough gaol before 1730 was under the Town Hall but when it was taken down a small addition was made to the county gaol at the foot of St Peter’s street to serve for that purpose. In 1756 however they were both removed a county prison having been erected in Nun’s Green and the borough gaol was removed to Willow Row.

The prison in Friargate was used as the county gaol till 1825, when the new one having been erected, it was bought by the corporation for £3,000, as a borough gaol, the one one in Willow row being very inconvenient. It continued the borough gaol till 1840, when an  arrangement was made for the reception of the borough prisoners in the county gaol; it was sold and taken down and some good houses erected on its site.


Police Office is in the Town Hall; the force was established in 1886, and consists of Mr John Abraham Thompson, the superintendent and 24 constables


Two gallows were erected in 1534, for hanging prisoners upon.

In 1599 one Okey was hanged in the Town Hall but not known how

In 1601 a woman was burnt to death in Windmill pit for poisoning her husband

In 1607 the witches of Bakewell were executed

1609 in this year Roger Moore was slain by Henry Bennett for which he was executed shortly after

1645 Richard Cockrum was executed on the gallows on Nun’s green for killing — Mills a servant at the Angel

1705 John Crossland and son for horse stealing; he and his two sons were convicted of this offence after sentence was passed the bench offered to pardon one if he would hang the other two; the offer was first made to the father who declined then the eldest son who also declined and then to John the youngest who accepted it without remorse; he was afterwards hangman for this and two or three of the neighbouring counties, till he was incapacitated through old age

1732 March 23rd John Hewitt and Rosamond Olerenshaw were executed for poisoning Hannah Hewitt the wife of John Hewitt; they were executed in their shrouds

1735 Aug 16th John Smith of Norbury for burglary

1738 March 30th Richard Woodward for highway robbery; he dressed himself in his shroud and walked to the place of execution

1740 April 9th Wm Dolphin aged 33 for highway robbery near Chesterfield

1740 August 28th George Ashmore for coining; the day after execution he was interred at Sutton on the hill but his body was stolen by the resurrectionists

1741 Aug Robert Bowler for shooting and wounding Edward Rivington butcher between Belper and Pentrich

1754 March 29th Mary Dilks for murdering her illegitimate child; a new gallows was erected for this occasion

1776 Matthew Cockayne was hanged and afterwards gibbetted for murdering Mrs Mary Vickars

1800 Sep 5th Thomas Knowles for forgery

1801 Aug 14th Lacy Powell aged 26 and Jonn Drummond aged 23 two Irishmen for highway robbery; James Gratian of Heage aged 28 for housebreaking; John Evans of Duffield aged 22; and John Dent of Coleorton aged 47 for sheep stealing

1812 April 10th, on the new drop in front of the county jail, James Tomlinson aged 27 and Percival Cook aged 26 for robbing Mr Hunt’s house at Ockbrook

1817 Aug 15th John Brown of Nottingham aged 38; Thos Jackson of Woolley moor aged 20; Geo Booth of Chesterfield aged 21; and John King of Matlock aged 24 for arson at Col Halton’s South Wingfield

1817 Nov 7th Jeremiah Brandreth alias the Nottingham Captain a native of Exeter aged 27; Wm Turner aged 46; and Isaac Ludlam aged 52, both of South Wingfield for high treason they were afterwards beheaded

1819 March 22nd Hannah Booking of Litton aged 16 for poisoning Jane Grant a young woman of the same village; she gave the poison in a sweet cake to her companion as they were going to fetch some cattle out of a field near to which stood the gibbet post of Anthony Lingard who was executed at Derby for murder,

1819 April 2nd Thomas Hopkinson aged 20 a native of Ashover for highway robbery he was of the party who committed arson at South Wingfield in 1817 but was admitted king’s evidence

1825 April 8th George Batty aged 40 from Norton Woodseats for ravishing Miss Martha Hawksley aged 16 in the parish of Beanchief

1833 April John Leadham for bestiality he was the first criminal executed at the new county prison

1843 March Samuel Bonsall aged 20 Wm Bland aged 39 and John Hulme aged 24 for murdering Miss Goddard at Stanley in October 1842.

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