If you are not familiar with Derby, it is a small city in Derbyshire, known for its beautiful English countryside surroundings, friendly atmosphere and plenty of shops and bars to choose from. It also has some less well-known and hidden facts. In this article, we reveal 5 surprising facts about the city of Derby that you may not know. Whether you have never visited Derby before, or you are local to the area, who knows what you might learn after reading this article!
1) The World’s First Factory
This may be no surprise to anyone from the area, but Derby is known as the home of the world’s first factory. Lombe’s Mill, a silk throwing mill, was built by Thomas Lombe in 1721 on an island located on the River Derwent. It was built after his brother, John Lombe visited Piedmont and returned to England with information on Italian silk-throwing machines and Italian craftsmanship. To celebrate its 300th anniversary, the factory was restored and reopened to the public in 2021 as the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill.
2) England’s First Public Park
If you have ever strolled through Derby Arboretum, or Arboretum Park, you might be surprised to learn it’s England’s first public park. Following the donation of the land by businessman and philanthropist, Joseph Strutt, the park was designed by John Claudius Loudon, a Scottish botanist and garden designer, the park was then opened to the public in 1840.
According to sources, Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, visited numerous parks and gardens around England in 1850. Some of the places he visited were Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Chatsworth, Birkenhead Park, Chirk Castle and of course, Derby Arboretum. It is believed that Olmsted incorporated elements of the English countryside and fragments of Loudon’s work into his design for Central Park.
3) Royal Crown Derby Was A Supplier For The Titanic
One of the oldest remaining porcelain manufacturers in England, Royal Crown Derby (as the name suggests) is based in Derby. Known for producing high-quality and elegant fine bone China pieces of tableware and ornamental ware since 1750, Royal Crown Derby is a household name in the UK. In 1911, Royal Crown Derby supplied tableware for the first-class dining suite of the famous Titanic. The order included 600 dinner plates, 150 breakfast plates, 150 soup plates, 100 salad plates, 150 breakfast cups and saucers, 100 teacups and saucers, 36 creams and 25 slop bowls. Unfortunately, most of the tableware was lost or destroyed when the ship sank.
4) World’s Largest Collection of John Wright’s Paintings
Joseph Wright was a famous 18th century painter born and raised in Derby. He was best known for his paintings of portraits, scientific instruments and industrial subjects during the Industrial Revolution. He was known as one of the best European painters of artificial light. The world’s largest collection of his work can be seen today in the Derby Museum & Art Gallery.
5) Derby Has Own It’s Walk Of Fame
We’ve all heard of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, but did you know Derby has its own Walk Of Fame too? Made in Derby is a trail of mosaic plaques to celebrate the individuals who made a huge impact on the city and who helped Derby gain its illustrious recognition across the world. The line-up of stars include Joseph Wright, Rolls-Royce, Bess of Hardwick, Adam Peaty (Olympic swimming medalist), Jack O’Connell (Derby-born actor), the Birds Brothers (founders of Derby bakery chain, Birds Bakery) and many more. The cast iron plaques can be found along Albion Street, Exchange Street, Market Place and Iron Gate in the city centre.
Book Your Stay In Derby With Us
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and even learned a new fact or two about Derby. Next time you find yourself exploring the city of Derby, make sure to visit the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill or the Derby Museum & Art Gallery. Alternatively, follow the footsteps of Olmsted around the Derby Arboretum or pass through the streets to find the Made In Derby plagues.
During your visit, make sure to book a table or book your stay at one of Derby’s finest hotels and restaurants in The Littleover Lodge Hotel. To arrange your booking, please get in touch today by making an enquiry online or calling us on 01332 510161. We look forward to having you stay with us!