Derby was elevated to city status by Queen Elizabeth II during a silver jubilee visit in 1977.

Derby City Centre

Derby City Centre © TAB

Rolls-Royce cars, aero-engines, railway locomotives and Royal Crown Derby Porcelain are just some of the products for which this modern city is renowned. However, its history goes way back to the occupation of the Romans, who built a fort there in the 2nd century AD that remained for over 300 years. In Norman times Derby became a busy market town and developed as a major manufacturing centre, producing woolen cloth, beer and soap. In 1717, England's first silk-mill was established by the river Derwent. This restored mill building is now home to the Museum of Industry and History.

The prosperous years of the 18th century were interrupted on December 4, 1745 by Bonnie Prince Charlie and his highland army, who stayed in the town just two days before retreating north to their eventual defeat at Culloden. Just a few years later, in 1756, William Duesbury set out to create china porcelain of unrivalled beauty. George III became a patron granting Duesbury the right to put a crown on his wares. Then in 1890 Queen Victoria commanded that they be marked "Royal Crown Derby".

During the 19th century, massive railway workshops were developed to the rear of Derby station. The Midland Railway Locomotive Works, as they later became known, have produced a wide range of diesel and electric locomotives, and railway rolling stock, over the years. Rolls-Royce Limited setup their British car and aero-engine works in Derby in 1907. A statue of Sir Henry Royce, founder of the firm, stands in the Arboretum, which was opened in 1840 as Britain's first public park.

Derby city centre is a popular shopping destination. The Cathedral Quarter is packed with specialist shops and Boutiques and is a great place to dine and relax with restaurants, bars and other entertainment. The main (Intu) shopping centre it's packed with a mix of branded stores and small independent shops. The city also has two undercover markets, providing fresh local produce and a plethora of bargain stalls.

The city centre also has a Showcase cinema and a number of theatres and art galleries to visit.

Tourist Information Centre:

Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH - Tel: 01332 255802

Content by Steve B

Places of Interest in Derby

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Viking Longboat in Derby Museum

The Art Gallery includes work by the Derby-born painter Joseph Wright (1734-97), a master of candlelight and firelight scenes. Museum exhibits include archaeology and history from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages, local regiments, geology and a large collection of Crown Derby porcelain. The museum also has a room dedicated to the relics of Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose army took the town in 1745.

Opening times: Mon ~ Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun & B.H. 1pm to 4pm - Admission Free
Location: The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BS - Tel: 01332 641901

Pickford's House Museum

Houses the Museum of Georgian Life and Costume, with rooms decorated and furnished as they would have appeared in Georgian times, including 'below stairs' servants rooms and quarters. The museum also has an excellent collection of historic costumes and textiles.

Opening times: Mon ~ Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun & B.H. 1pm to 4pm - Admission Free
Location: 41 Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1DA - Tel: 01332 715181

The Silk Mill

Silk Mill DerbyHouses the Museum of Industry and History, located on the site of some of the world's oldest industrial factories, by the river Derwent. The mills were built by George Sorocold between 1702 and 1717, with the original foundations and mill tower still forming part of the current structure. Its gates (made in 1725) are some of the finest examples of wrought-iron work in Britain. The museum tells the story of the industrial heritage and achievements of Derby including the development of Rolls-Royce aero-engine and the local railway industry.

Opening times: Mon ~ Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun & B.H. 1pm to 4pm - Admission Free
Location: Silk Mill Lane, off Full Street, Derby, DE1 3AF - Tel: 01332 255308


Churches and Cathedral

Derby CathedralDerby Cathedral was originally the parish church of All Saints until 1927. The earliest part (circa 1525) is its soaring 178 ft high pinnacled tower. The 14th century St Mary's Chapel, located on St Mary's Bridge over the River Derwent, is one of the few surviving bridge chapels in Britain.


Map of Derby

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Towns and Villages in Derbyshire

Ashbourne, Belper, Bakewell, Buxton, Chesterfield, Derby, Glossop, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Swadlincote, Matlock, Matlock Bath

Attractions in Derby

Black Rock | Bolsover Castle | Caverns | Critch Tramway Village | Chatsworth House | Creswell Crags | Derwent Mills | Denby Pottery | Dales | Ecclesbourne Railway | Haddon Hall | Hardwick Hall | Kedleston Hall | Lea Gardens | Melbourne Hall | Peak District | Red House Stables | Riddings Pottery

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