Derby History

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History of derby.

Derby is an industrial city in the East Midlands area of the UK on the River Derwent and thirty two miles north east of Birmingham. The Queen granted city status to Derby during her silver jubilee year in 1977, until that time it was one of only a few towns that had a cathedral, but did not have city status. Derby recently celebrated two thousand years as a settlement.

Derby was first settled by the Romans who built a fort there on the east bank of the Derwent and called it Derventio. When the Saxons arrived later on they renamed the fort little Chester, which is where the area known as Chester Green is today. The Saxons also set up a settlement a mile to the south of the fort that they called Northworthy. When the Danes captured the settlement in 874 they renamed it Deoraby. The town grew rapidly and it had a population for two thousand by the time the Domesday Book was written in 1086. By that time the town had six parish churches, including All Saints Parish Church, which in 1927 became Derby Cathedral.

In 1154 Derby became a market town under a charter granted by Henry the second. The plague visited the town in 1349 and again in 1592 and decimated the population. In 1637, under a royal charter from King Charles the first, local government was set up in Derby. In 1745 under the rising of the Jacobites Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, advanced as far as Swarkestone Bridge in Derby before he and his men retreated.

During the seventeenth century Derby began its development as a manufacturing town and in 1717 the first silk mill in England was built in Derby. The town became a porcelain production centre during the eighteenth century and began making ‘Chelsea-Derby’ ware. In 1836 the Derby canal was opened, and when the town joined the railway network there was a rapid increase in its industrial development. Once the town was linked to the network, the Birmingham, Gloucester and Derby Junction railway was opened. Derby was further linked by rail to Leeds in 1841. In 1844 the separate railway companies were amalgamated and Derby became the headquarters for the Midland Railway Company. Derby’s industrial expansion was given a further boost by the founding of the Rolls Royce factory in 1908.

The oldest remaining church in Derby is the thirteenth century St. Mary’s on the bridge is one of the few bridge chapels left in England. Other churches include St. Peters built in 1042; St Alkmunds and St. Marys built in 1836. Derby’s Arboretum Park was the first public park in England. Derby suffered little damage during the two world wars and since that time the town has expanded rapidly, especially with the ribbon development that has occurred since the late nineteen seventies. Rolls Royce, along with International Combustion and the Railway, were the city’s biggest employers. The railway works are mostly closed now, International Combustion has gone and the number of employees at Rolls Royce is rapidly declining.

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