Chellaston was once mainly a farming community, but is now a rapidly
expanding suburb, like so many more up and down the country, where
houses proliferate close to busy road networks. In Chellastonís case the
expansion of Derby and the recent opening of the A50, giving it rapid
access to fast roads and the M1 Motorway, have led to the growth of
massive housing developments.
The story of Chellaston though is not just one of a once quiet village
expanding rapidly because of its location. As from the Middle Ages, it
became internationally famous as the centre of the English alabaster
industry, a form of gypsum. It was at its peak between about 1360 and
1460, when a flourishing export trade developed. Great blocks of
alabaster were taken to the River Trent and then transported by boat to
Hull, for shipment across the North Sea.