Derby's Heritage Part 08 - Little Chester
w/e 29 August 2010
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
I had planned to start this part with a walk across
Chester Green but as we were in Derby on Sunday afternoon it
was the opportune time to visit the Heritage Centre and as a
consequence we didn't get as far around the route as intended.
So we'll begin with a few images from within the Heritage Centre
which is housed in St Paul's Church.
Upon entering the Centre, we were immediately confronted by a
number of boards that resembled well dressings (top right). The
gentleman that had created them who was on hand to share his
extensive knowledge about the history and heritage of Derby,
was in fact an experienced well dresser but these particular
boards were actually referred to as wool dressings as many of
the pictures had been made with strands of wool. Several of them
depicted Roman soldiers and harked back to the area's Roman roots
when there was a small town here with the Latin name of Derventio
meaning "a valley thick with oaks". Over the years
the name has been Anglicised to Derwent, the name of several
rivers in the country, one of which as we know flows through
We spent about an hour in the Centre viewing the models, information
boards and artifacts on display as well as talking to the group
of volunteers who made us feel very welcome. Some of the exhibits
are permanent and others are changed at intervals but up to date
information about events at the Centre can be gleaned from the
Little Chester Heritage Centre website.
On leaving the Centre, Chester Green Recreation Ground stretches
out directly in front but to the left we are advised to pause
and admire the architecture of the buildings along St Paul's
Road. These houses were built by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam for
his workforce about 1890. Haslam's foundry stands the far end
of the road and we shall get a closer view as the walk progresses.
We are also advised to admire the setting of the houses and this
is the view from in front of them across the recreation ground
which was one of the earliest public spaces created in Derby
dating from between 1882 and 1886. It is still well used for
sporting activities especially cricket and football.
We continued along the path between the recreation
ground on the left and Mansfield Road to the right to Chester
Green Road. A stone pillar at the junction (left) bears a plaque
saying "These trees being a gift to the city of Derby by
John Davis & Son (Derby) Ltd. commemorate the company's bicentenary
1779 - 1979". Walking along Chester Green Road, the route
is to turn right into Marcus Street (right).
At the end of Marcus Street, an illustrated information board
recounts the history of the site telling how Ryknield Street,
a Roman road that ran from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire, was
diverted in the second century around the defensive position
that we know as Little Chester.
The information board also refers to two more historic features
that can still be seen nearby. The first is a Roman well that
stood at the edge of Ryknield Street and it affirms that all
the masonry below the grating is original and dates from the
late third century.
The second feature is adjacent to the well and can be seen in
the gardens of the houses that have been built on the site. Here
we see the foundation stones of a timber framed Roman building.
Many artifacts from Roman times have been found all around the
Little Chester area and a recent survey has identified another
site not far away that could soon be the subject of another archeological