c1855 Map of All Saints Ward, Derby, Derbyshire

Derby is the county town of Derbyshire, a municipal and parliamentary borough and market town, comprising the parishes of St. Alkmund's, St. Peter's, St. Michael's, All Saints, and St. Werburgh's, in the county of Derby. It is pleasantly situated amid the beautiful scenery of the vale of the river Derwent, 132 miles NNW of London by railway, and 126 miles by road. It was a principal station on the Midland Counties railway, which connected it with Nottingham and Lincoln, Leicester and London, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Newcastle, and Edinburgh.

Greyhound Yard
Derby, c1855

Derby had considerable manufacturers, the most important being those of silk, cotton, calico, lace, porcelain, china, and Derbyshire or "fluor" spar. The black marble found in Derbyshire was extensively wrought into vases and chimney-pieces. The first silk-mill ever erected in England was built in Derby on a swampy island in the Derwent in 1718, successfully introducing the art of "silk throwing" into England from Italy. The manufacture of cotton was introduced at a later period, and was not as extensive as that of silk. The manufacture of porcelain, which was then equal to the best foreign porcelain, was originally established about 1750. In addition, there were manufacturers of paper, white and red lead and jewellery.

The streets of Derby in the old part were narrow. The town was lighted with gas, and supplied with water from the Derwent. The buildings were handsome; the town hall was built in 1828, and was destroyed by fire in 1841; the outer and centre walls were, however, preserved, and later formed a portion of the new building. The county-hall was a heavy freestone building, erected in 1660. The railway station was one of the most extensive in England, the length of buildings and covered platform being no less than 1,050 feet. In addition, there were the county gaol assembly room, theatre, Derby and Derbyshire Joint Stock bank, savings-bank, race-stand, and county lunatic asylum. The Arboretum, presented in 1840, was a piece of ground of about 15 acres, laid out in walks and planted with trees and shrubs. The general market was held on Friday, one for the sale of meat and provisions on Saturday evening and cattle markets were held on Tuesday and Friday. There were several fairs throughout the year.