Iconic Buildings in Derby chosen by Innes England


Commercial property agency Innes England has selected its top 25 memorable buildings across the East Midlands to mark the close of its 25th anniversary celebrations - and eight are located within Derbyshire.

The firm challenged its expert staff to pick a building across the region that inspires them to help mark the milestone.

Eight of the buildings selected are located within Derbyshire with many holding personal significance for members of the firm’s team. 

1.    Marble Hall, Nightingale Lane, Derby

·         Former Rolls Royce factory

·         Accommodated production of Silver Ghost car in 1908 following its relocation from Manchester

·         Attacked by a lone Dornier 217 in World War Two – the factory was making Merlin Engines

·         £4m refurbishment into modern workspaces

·         Grade II listed

Marble HallAssociate director Jude Weston lived opposite the building throughout her childhood after the grandfather moved the family to Derby on gaining a role on the engine teste beds. She said the building represented the incredible contribution Rolls Royce has made to Derby.

“Rolls Royce is a huge brand with very humble beginnings – they grew from producing beautiful, high end specification cars into the aeronautical juggernaut they are today and effectively put Derby on the international stage.

“The Art Deco frontage with its grand, sweeping staircase and bold, strong lines evoked the prestige and quality of the brand Rolls Royce was showcasing to the world.

“This building will always hold a special place in my heart and I have very fond memories of the community spirit of the area – the security guard letting us play on the front on a weekend when the workers weren’t there, looking out from our school to see the workers hurrying out at the end of their shift and people giving blood in the dance hall opposite.” 

2.    Royal Devonshire campus, Buxton

·         Built in 1780-89 by John Carr of York for the 5th Duke of Devonshire

·         Two thirds of the building converted into a charity hospital in 1859, before being given over completely in 1881

·         Extended by architect Robert Rippon Duke

·         Former stable block

·         £23m restoration by University of Derby before opening in 2003

·         Grade II listed

Devonshire campusManaging director Tim Garratt said: “I acquired this beautiful Grade II listed building for Derby University in 2001 which then spent £23m restoring it. It was originally designed as a stable block, and built by the Duke of Devonshire before it was turned into a hospital to treat to ‘sick poor’ coming over from Lancashire and Yorkshire.

“The dome, which was added by Robert Rippon Duke in 1881, was, at the time it was built, it was the largest unsupported dome ever constructed – bigger than St Paul’s Basilica in Rome and St Paul’s Cathedral in London!”


3.    Derby Arena

 ·         £27m project

·         Opened in 2015

·         Home to Britain’s fifth 250m indoor cycling track

·         Features café, gym and spinning studio as well as cycling facilities

Derby VelodromeLiz Hurst from the Innes England accounts team said the new Arena at Pride Park was a building that the city could be proud of.

“Derby Arena was a really significant development for the city and one that will not only bring world class cycling events to the city, but has also created a host of community facilities for people locally to use.

“The Velodrome looks really lovely in the sunshine when its colours all show up – it’s a striking addition to Pride Park as well as a new community hub for those of us who like to use the gym and other facilities before and after work,” she said.


4.    Derby Gaol

·         Completed in 1756

·         Designed by architect William Hiorns

·         Initially house a maximum of 29 prisoners 

Derby GaolChristine Davison, associate surveyor, said that Derby Gaol and the associated building were among her favourite in the city. 

She said: “Our offices used to be located at 84 Friar Gate, opposite the old Derby Gaol, which was notorious for the hanging of its prisoners and is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the city. 

“During an office move, we temporarily needed to store all our paper files off site and a client at the time owned the Howard Hotel that is part of the block of terraced properties that housed the Gaol, so we moved everything over into its basement – where the bar used to be. 

“When you went down into the basement, you had to go all the way in and behind the bar before you could turn the lights on so it was quite spooky – especially with all the creaks of an old building. A couple of our graduates at the time were really scared to go down there, so of course we always used to send them over to collect our files!” 

5.    Cromford Mills

·         Developed in 1771 by Richard Arkwright

·         First water powered cotton spinning mill

·         Grade I listed

·         Cotton mill ceased operation in 19th Century

·         Richard Arkwright Society purchased in 1979 to undetake restoration works

Cromford MillsSurveyor Kate Richardson descends from Sir Richard Arkwright, a British inventor and entrepreneur who is considered the father of the factory system that started the Industrial Revolution in England – so there was no better choice in Derbyshire.

 She said: “This is a building with an incredibly right heritage and one that was hugely significant in terms of the Industrial Revolution in this country and it lies right on our doorstep. 

“Cromford Mill was the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill, which was revolutionary at the time and had a huge impact on this country’s manufacturing industry. 

“The building was taken over by the Richard Arkwright Society nearly 40 years ago, who have been busy working to restore it to its former glory.” 

 6.    Ashbourne Tunnel

·         Ashbourne became part of the railway network in 1852

·         Passenger service cancelled in 1954

·         Freight services continued until 1963

·         Tunnel is part of the Tissington Trail and intermittently plays the sounds of an approaching train

Ashbourne TunnelBorn and bred in Ashbourne, surveyor Matt Howson said the tunnel was the perfect choice.

 He said: “While it isn’t technically a building, the Ashbourne tunnel is representative of the decline in rail transport across Britain and is an important part of the county’s history and is a place I have visited numerous times.

 “As an Ashbourne lad, with grandparents in living in Tissington, I used to go through this tunnel on a regular basis when I was younger – there are some really great memories there for me.”


7.    Chatsworth House

·         Bess of Hardwick began building in 1553 with her husband Sir William Cavendish

·         Completed in 1560’s following William’s death in 1557

·         Rebuilt between 1686 and 1707 by the first Duke

·         Library and North Wing added by sixth Duke from 1790 and 1858

Sales and lettings support manager, Debbie Thompson, said: “Chatsworth has a really interesting history and has undergone so many changes over the years under the ownership of various different Dukes. 

“I am absolutely fascinated by old buildings and how the families would have adapted them from theoriginalover the years and how they would have used and lived in them, so Chatsworth is a real favourite of mine. 

“Not only that, but I have also had many happy memories of various family outings to Chatsworth over the last 20 years.”

 8.    Church of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield

·         14th Century church

·         Largest church in Derbyshire

·         Often known as the Crooked Spire

·         Grade I listed

Surveyor John Hartshorne went to secondary school in Chesterfield and said the crooked spire was one of the most iconic sights in Derbyshire – and one that often raised questions as to its twisted nature.

 He said: “I went to school in Chesterfield and as you might expect the crooked spire is a familiar yet curious sight. It was initially thought that it came down to a lack of skilled craftsmen when the church was built as well as some structural issues, but nowadays it is believed that the twisting was caused by the lead covering it.

“Regardless of the cause, you have to wonder why they decided not to rectify the mistake and that remains a mystery!”

Celebrating 25 years

 Innes England celebrated 25 years in business in 2016 and undertook a number of events and fundraising activities to mark the occasion and to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society – its chosen charity for the year.

 Managing director, Tim Garratt said: “As commercial property consultants, we know a thing or two about buildings, so we thought this was a really fun way to get our team thinking about the region we work in and those buildings that mean something to us..

 “We had a great year celebrating our 25th anniversary and would like to thank everyone who has supported our events and helped us to raise money for our chosen charity.”