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The large residential suburb of Mickleover is located on the western outskirts of Derby. Most of the development there took place during the 20th century. But in an area close to the Uttoxeter Road are a number of interesting old buildings of such historical importance that in 1975 Conservation Area status was awarded.
Mickleover was settled by the Saxons, and probably by the Romans before then. The discovery of a large amount of Roman coins in 1988, when a school extension was being built, added weight to that theory. In addition, Ryknield Street, constructed by the Romans, ran though Littleover only a short distance away, on the other side of Mickleover Moor.
Prior to the Norman invasion, Mickleover was a royal manor, but William the Conqueror gave it, together with Littleover, Findern and Potlock, a now deserted medieval village, to the Abbots of Burton Abbey. Life was difficult under the Abbots with several serious disputes about taxes. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the manor of Mickleover was granted to Sir William Paget, by Henry VIII, and over the next few centuries changed hands several times.
The rapid expansion of industrialisation in Derby during the 18th and 19th centuries led to over-crowding in the centre of the town. This resulted in the better off starting to look further afield to build their mansions and Mickleover seemed ideal for their requirements.
Despite the rapid expansion of Mickleover in the 20th century, Derby did not absorb the village until 1968. This meant that, rather inconveniently for those who lived on the western side of the village, the Uttoxeter Trolley bus service and, for a short time, the motorbus service that took its place, only ran as far as the Borough boundary. The boundary extension solved this problem and Corporation buses no longer stopped short of the village centre.
The Great Northern Railway built a station, on their Ilkeston to Egginton line, in the late 1870s about one and a quarter miles from the centre of the village. It did not have a particularly long life, closing for regular passenger service in 1939 and 25 years later for goods traffic, although the line itself remained open for a further four years. The Great Northern Inn remains as a reminder.
In 1851, the Derbyshire Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later known as Pastures Hospital, opened; patients came from Union Workhouses all over the county. Many of them had been kept in atrocious conditions. Once freed of chains and restraints they found that not only were they given proper care and attention, but also that there were opportunities for recreation and relaxation amidst beautiful countryside. Many of the men worked on the hospital farm and the women attended to domestic jobs. The hospital closed in the late 20th century and the land is now taken up by housing.
Mickleover Board School (mixed) was erected on the Uttoxeter Road in 1880; it accommodated 250 pupils of all ages and adequately met the educational requirements of all the children in the village. It has now been converted into a successful Community Centre and received several awards as the best in Derby. There is an excellent tearoom, staffed by volunteers, that serves morning coffee and light lunches for both local people and visitors alike.
An unusual event occurred at the school on Wednesday 7 February 1900, when the first childrenís matinee in British cinema took place on the premises. The matinee preceded a film for adults. Exactly why the show took place at Mickleover, which never had a cinema, is not known and there is no record of any further shows being held. In fact, it was more than ten years later before Derby had its first purpose-built cinema and sometime after that before regular childrenís matinees were shown.
The Old Hall is a delightful timber-framed house in Orchard Street, where legend has it that Oliver Cromwell stayed, when he stormed Tutbury Castle. John Drewry III, who was the owner of the Derby Mercury, built Mickleover House. The residence had pleasure grounds attached and extensive views of Leicestershire and Staffordshire. The Green that leads off Orchard Street contains a number of early 19th century cottages, on the corner of which is Ivy House, a private residential home. The Old Hollow Cottage in The Hollow is a fine old timber-framed cottage that once had a thatched-roof. The Limes, built in 1836, a large white 19th century villa stands in its own grounds over-looking fields.
Next to All Saints Church on the Uttoxeter Road, is the Old Manor House, built for Major Newtonís personal use in 1849. It has also seen service as a school and hospital. Further to the west, stands Mickleover Court Hotel, a few feet outside the City boundary, which opened in 1994, shortly after the arrival of the Toyota Works. At the rear of the main shopping centre is a large Tesco Store and to the front, the Vine Inn, where a vine once grew in the garden and across the front of the building.
The Square, previously called the Market Place, with its Georgian cottages, provides an interesting point to start your exploration of what was once a small village.
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A city of considerable character, surrounded by attractive countryside. With the Peak District National Park, the second most visited National Park in the world, only a few miles to the north and the National Forest only a short distance away to the south.
Located near the centre of the country, Derby has excellent communications and is well served by road, rail and air.
PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Sudbury Hall: (Tel. 01283 585305) a National Trust property famed for its superb plasterwork ceilings and Grinling Gibbons carvings. Contact for opening details.
Tutbury Castle: (Tel. 01283 812129) dominates the surrounding landscape, with excellent views over Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Mary, Queen of Scots, was a prisoner in the castle. Normally open April to the end of September, Mondays and Tuesdays reserved for coaches and booked parties.
Pickfordís House Museum (01332 255363) housed in a handsome Grade I listed building, built in 1769 by Derby architect, Joseph Pickford for his own occupation. It was opened as a museum in 1988 and delightfully recreates a scene of Georgian domestic life with splendidly furnished rooms and fine costume displays. Open daily apart from during the Christmas and New Year break.
Butlerís Pantry: (Tel. 01332 519007) an attractive little cafť, situated in the heart of the old village. A take away and telephone ordering service are available. Outside catering is a speciality. Open Monday to Saturday from 8.30-4.30pm.
Masonís Arms: (Tel. 01332 513156) situated on the western side of The Square, it is open lunchtimes and evenings from Monday to Thursday and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Meals served at lunchtimes only, seven days a week.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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Discover Derby is a sub-section of the Discover Derbyshire and Peak District website and is based on the supplement published by the Derby Evening Telegraph, during March 2005. The contents include six walks and features covering the suburbs of:
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