Coordinates: 53°01′44″N 1°28′30″W / 53.029°N 1.475°W

Belper kingst

King Street
Derbyshire UK parish map highlighting Belper

Belper parish highlighted within Derbyshire
Population21,822 (civil parish, 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSK351476
Civil parish
  • Belper
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBELPER
Postcode districtDE56
Dialling code01773
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament

Belper is a town and civil parish in the local government district of Amber Valley in Derbyshire, England, located about 7 miles (11 km) north of Derby on the River Derwent. As well as Belper itself, the parish also includes the village of Milford and the hamlets of Bargate, Blackbrook and Makeney. As of the 2011 Census, the parish had a population of 21,823. Originally a centre for the nail-making industry since Medieval times, Belper expanded during the early Industrial Revolution to become one of the first mill towns with the establishment of several textile mills; as such, it forms part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


At the time of the Norman occupation, Belper was part of the land centred on Duffield held by the family of Henry de Ferrers. The Domesday Survey records a manor of "Bradley" which is thought to have stood in an area of town now known as the Coppice. At that time it was probably within the Forest of East Derbyshire which covered the whole of the county east of the Derwent. It was possibly appropriated by William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby at some time after it was disafforested in 1225 and became part of Duffield Frith.[2]

The town's name is thought to be a corruption of Beaurepaire – meaning beautiful retreat – the name given to a hunting lodge, the first record of which being in a charter of 1231. This would have been the property of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster who died in 1296, the record of his estate mentioning "a capital mansion". The chapel built at that time still exists. Originally consecrated in 1250 as the Chapel of St Thomas, it was rededicated to St John during the reign of King Henry VIII. St John's Chapel is still in use today and is thought to be the oldest building still standing in Belper.

Belper chapel
St John's Chapel (originally St. Thomas)
Belper workshop
Nailer's workshop in Joseph Street
Belper mill
Strutt's North Mill built in 1803, to replace the original one destroyed by fire
Derwent Valley Mills East Mill Belper
Belper's East mill, built 1912

The coal deposits of Derbyshire are frequently associated with ironstone within the clay substrate. Initially obtained from surface workings, it would later have been mined in shallow bell pits. It is thought that this was important for the de Ferrers family, who were ironmasters in Normandy.[3] By the reign of Henry VIII Belper had grown to a substantial size. It is recorded that in 1609 fifty-one people died of plague.[4] However, in a Parliamentary Commissioners' report of 1650 regarding Duffield and its chapelries, Belper is described as "a hamlet appertaining to Duffield".[5]

From at least the 13th century there were forges in the Belper and Duffield areas and iron-working became a major source of income, particularly nail making. By the end of the 18th century there were around 500 workshops in the town supplying nails to the newly built textile mills. The workshops were eventually superseded by machinery during the 19th century. Some of the nail-makers' houses are still in existence and form part of local tours of the town.

The industrialist Jedediah Strutt, a partner of Richard Arkwright, built a water-powered cotton mill in Belper in the late 18th century: the second in the world at the time. With the expansion of the textile industry Belper became one of the first mill towns. In 1784 Strutt built the North Mill and, across the road, the West Mill. In 1803 the North Mill was burnt down and replaced by a new structure designed to be fireproof. Further extensions followed, culminating in the East Mill in 1913 – a present-day Belper landmark. Although no longer used to manufacture textiles the mill still derives electricity from the river, using turbine-driven generators.

Strutt had previously patented his "Derby Rib" for stockings, and the plentiful supply of cotton encouraged the trade of framework knitting which had been carried on in the town and surrounding villages since the middle of the previous century. Mechanisation arrived about 1850, but by that time the fashion for stockings for men was disappearing. However elaborately patterned stockings, for ladies especially, were coming into vogue, and the output of the Belper "cheveners" was much in demand.

The construction of the North Midland Railway in 1840 brought further prosperity. Belper was the first place in the UK to get gas lighting, at a works erected by the Strutts at Milford. Demand was such that in 1850, the Belper Gas and Coke Company was formed, with a works in the present Goods Road. Electricity followed in 1922 from the Derby and Nottingham Electrical Power Company's works at Spondon. The first telephones came in 1895 from the National Telephone Company. The end of the century also brought the motor car, CH218, owned by Mr. James Bakewell of the Elms being possibly the first.

Belper remained a textile and hosiery centre into the 20th century. Meanwhile, other companies were developing: iron founding led to Park Foundry becoming a leader in the solid-fuel central-heating market; Adshead and Ratcliffe had developed Arbolite putty for iron-framed windows; Dalton and Company, which had been producing lubricating oils, developed ways of recovering used engine oil proving useful during the Second World War. In 1938, A. B. Williamson had developed a substance for conditioning silk stockings; the introduction of nylon stockings after the Second World War seemed to make it redundant, but mechanics and fitters had discovered its usefulness in cleaning hands and it is still marketed by Deb Group as Swarfega.


Before 1983 the town gave its name to the Belper constituency, which from 1945 to 1970 was the seat of George Brown, the deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Administratively, Belper town council manages first tier local government services, Amber Valley Borough and Derbyshire County councils providing successively higher level services.


Crossroads Farm at Blackbrook, Derbyshire (geograph 265210)
Crossroads Farm, Blackbrook

Belper is 8 miles (13 km) north of Derby and is in the valley of the River Derwent. The town had a population of 20,548 living in 8,790 households according to the 2001 census.[6]

As well as Belper itself, the civil parish also includes the village of Milford, along with the communities and hamlets of:

Belper Lane End
Farnah Green
Mount Pleasant


The hamlet of Blackbrook is located 2 miles (3 km) west of Belper on the A517 Ashbourne road.


The adjoining community of Openwoodgate lies to the east, 1 mile from the centre of Belper. A small eastern portion, centred around Openwood Road and the Kilburn Lane section of the A609 road, containing the historic Ireton Houses cottages, and bordered by the A38, is contained within Denby parish.


Belper's economy was traditionally reliant on manufacturing industry and numerous goods were made in the town. Cotton spinning and textile production were major employers virtually for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The large East Mill and the smaller North Mill are now all that remain of the industry and are preserved as part of the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site. After the Second World War, J. W. Thornton, the chocolate maker, moved into the town from Sheffield, which helped to alleviate the employment problems arising from the contraction of the earlier industries. In recent years, the company completed a move to a new site a few miles away in Swanwick. Today, the main employment sectors are retail and services although some manufacturing industry remains. The main shopping area is centred on King Street. The town has three supermarkets, the Co-operative, Morrisons, and Aldi. There are two discount shops, Poundland, and B&M Bargains. There are smaller Tesco and Co-op supermarkets on Whitemoor estate. The A6 road runs past the large redbrick Strutts Mill and on through the town's main through road, Bridge Street. On this street are several retail and service businesses and the local library.



The A6 is the major through-road of the town and runs parallel to the River Derwent to the west.


Belper railway station is situated on the Midland Main Line. Regular trains between Derby and Matlock on the Derwent Valley Line are almost the only services to stop there, although one main line service to and from Sheffield stops on weekdays at times designed to assist Belper residents working in Sheffield. The group 'Friends of the Derwent Valley Line' are campaigning for more such services.


The town is served by regular bus services to Derby and surrounding towns and villages as well as longer routes to Manchester and London. The major operator is Trent Barton who operate the bus garage on Bridge Street.


The oldest church still used for its original purpose is the Belper Unitarian Church, built in 1788. The present Methodist church was opened on 28 June 1807 and was originally built to hold 1,400 worshippers.

St Peter's Church, a prominent landmark in the town, was built in 1824 to replace the smaller 13th century St John's Chapel which is now used as a town council and heritage chamber. A second Anglican church, Christ Church, was built in 1850. A local saying calls St Peter's "the low church in the high place" and Christ Church "the high church in the low place" based on their different liturgical traditions.

The town is also home to Belper Baptist Church, a spiritualist, a Roman Catholic, Belper Congregational Church and a further Methodist church at Openwoodgate, as well as Belper Community Church which meets at Whitemoor Day Centre three times a month.



Belper Town F.C. play their home games at Christchurch Meadow[7] and are currently in the Northern Premier League Division One South. They are nicknamed the Nailers as a reference to the historical nail manufacturing industry in the town. Belper Rugby Club play their home games at Strutt's Playing Field and are currently competing in RFU Midlands 3 East (North).[8] The club was founded in 1975.

Poetry Trail

In 2009, members from two of the town's poetry groups completed a poetry trail in memory of local poet Beth Fender, who died in 2002.[9] Beth's Poetry Trail consists of 20 poems situated in a variety of locations in the town, such as outside Belper Library. Poems by Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin and Spike Milligan are included on the trail, as well as Beth's own poetry.


In 2014, Belper was presented with the High Street of the Year award for the Market Town category, as well as winning the award overall. The judges stated "Belper is blessed with a wonderful history as a World Heritage Site but has much to offer as a thriving market town as well. The judges felt that this outstanding application demonstrates how much more can be done to transform an outwardly successful town centre into a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike." Belper won against towns and high streets such as Brighton, Colwyn Bay and many other places.[10]


Belper Singers are an experienced chamber choir of some 25 voices, who sing both sacred and secular works. They give about five performances a year, including singing in various cathedrals.

Belper is also home to a weekly folk club welcoming singers, instrumentalists, poets, readers and audience members. Two traditional dance teams make their home in the town: Heage Windmillers (rapper) and Makeney Morris (Cotswold morris).

Andy Sneap (born in Belper) is a Grammy-winning music producer, songwriter and guitarist with British heavy metal band Hell.[11] He is one of the most active and successful music producers in the metal music genre, with over 100 albums produced at his Backstage Recording studios in the rural outskirts of the town.


Primary schools

There are eight primary schools which feed the single secondary school:

  • Holbrook Primary School;
  • St Elizabeth's Primary School;
  • St John's Church of England Primary School;[12]
  • Herbert Strutt Primary School;
  • Pottery Primary School;
  • Long Row Primary School;
  • Ambergate Primary School;
  • Milford Primary School.

Secondary schools

Belper School and Sixth Form Centre[13] has approximately 1,400 pupils aged 11–18. It was originally named "Belper High School" when it was built in 1973, and is adjacent to Belper Leisure Centre. Famous people to have attended the school include Ross Davenport – winner of two swimming gold medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games – and Alison Hargreaves, holder of a number of mountaineering records.

Belper - Herbert Strutt School - Front
Herbert Strutt Grammar School buildings (in November 2008)

Herbert Strutt Grammar School was among the Strutt family's bequests to the town. It became a middle school in 1973, with the opening of the new Belper High School, and latterly a primary school, in use as such until spring 2008 when it was replaced by a new building on a different site. Notable among its pupils were the actors Alan Bates and Timothy Dalton.

For a number of years from 1979, the innovative Rowen House School provided education on democratic principles. Also, during the 1970s and 1980s, Belper was the site of an experimental three-tier education system, comprising a number of primary schools (age 5–9 years, referred to as "first" schools), feeding into two main secondary schools (age 9–13 years, referred to as "middle schools"), pupils from both then usually attended a single American-style high school (age 13–18 years). In the mid-1980s, this scheme was abandoned, and the current two-tier system adopted. At the same time, one of the two secondary schools, Parks Secondary School, was closed down and the buildings, which were in a poor state of repair, demolished. In recent years, the site of the former Parks Secondary School has been used for a new school.

International links

Belper is twinned with Pawtucket, Rhode Island after Samuel Slater – an apprentice of Jedediah Strutt – went there and founded the American cotton spinning industry.

Belper made international news in 2001 after rejecting a gift of a large fibreglass Mr. Potato Head model from Pawtucket, as some residents considered it "hideous".[14] The statue was refurbished and returned in 2015, though opinion is still divided.[15]

Notable residents


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  2. ^ Turbutt, G., (1999) A History of Derbyshire. Volume 2: Medieval Derbyshire, Cardiff: Merton Priory Press
  3. ^ jeam2. "Archaeology and Ancient History — University of Leicester".
  4. ^ 'Parishes: Doveridge – Duffield', Magna Britannia: volume 5: Derbyshire (1817), pp. 129–142. URL: Date Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  5. ^ Bland, J., (1921) Old Duffield Village, Church, and Castle, With some Personal Reminiscences, Derby:Harpur and Son
  6. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Belper CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Belper Town Football Club". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  8. ^ "RFU Midlands 3 East (North)". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Poetry trail celebrates ex-nurse's passion for words and love of life". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Great British High Street Awards 2014 Category Winners". The Great British High Street. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Interview with ANDY, SNEAP". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  12. ^ "St John's CofE Primary School". St John's CofE Primary School. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Belper School and Sixth Form Centre". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  14. ^ Walker, Bob (3 October 2014). "Mr Potato Head". BBC Today programme. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Mr Potato Head statue to return to Belper". BBC News. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  16. ^ Timothy Dalton biography Retrieved June 2007
  17. ^ "Monica Edwards Website".
  18. ^ Everett et al. (Slater Study Group) (2006) "Samuel Slater – Hero or Traitor?" Milford, Derbyshire: Maypole Promotions
  19. ^ Samuel Slater at Retrieved June 2007
  20. ^ Derbyshire at Archived 17 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 2007
  21. ^ "Jedediah Strutt Biography". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.
  22. ^ Frank Swettenham at Retrieved June 2007
  • Naylor, P. (Ed) (2000) An Illustrated History of Belper and its Environs Belper: M.G.Morris

External links

2014 Amber Valley Borough Council election

The 2014 Amber Valley Borough Council election took place on 22 May 2014 to elect members of Amber Valley Borough Council in England. This was on the same day as other local elections.

2018 Amber Valley Borough Council election

Elections to Amber Valley Borough Council in Derbyshire, England took place on Thursday 3 May 2018. One third of the council seats were up for election.The Conservatives gained seats to strengthen their position controlling the council. After the election, the composition of the council was:-

Conservative 25

Labour 20

2019 Amber Valley Borough Council election

Elections to Amber Valley Borough Council in Derbyshire, England took place on Thursday 2 May 2019. One third of the council seats were up for election. The Labour Party gained overall control of the council, taking a total of 5 seats from the Conservatives. Meanwhile, the Green Party also gained representation for the first time. After the election, the composition of the council was:-

Labour 25

Conservative 18

Green 1

Andrew Jarrett

Andrew Jarrett (born 9 January 1958), is a former professional tennis player from the United Kingdom.

Jarrett enjoyed most of his tennis success while playing doubles. During his career he won 1 doubles title. He achieved a career-high doubles ranking of World No. 85 in 1983.

Jarrett is now a referee, and was made Tournament Referee at Wimbledon in 2006, after the retirement of Alan Mills.

Baron Belper

Baron Belper, of Belper in the County of Derbyshire, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1856 for the Liberal politician Edward Strutt, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1853 to 1854. He was son of William Strutt and the grandson of the inventor Jedediah Strutt. Lord Belper's son, the second Baron, represented Derbyshire East and Berwick in the House of Commons as a Liberal. As of 2017 the title is held by the latter's great-grandson, the fifth Baron, who succeeded his father in 1999.

The mountaineer Edward Lisle Strutt was the son of the Honourable Arthur Strutt, younger son of the first Baron.

The family seat was Kingston Hall, near Nottingham, Nottinghamshire.

Belper (UK Parliament constituency)

Belper is a former constituency in the UK Parliament. It was created at the 1918 general election as a county division of Derbyshire, comprising the area in the centre of the county and surrounding Derby, and named after the market town of Belper although this was in the north of the constituency. In 1950 it was expanded to include the far south of the county. It was a marginal constituency for most of its existence.

The area had an ever-expanding population after 1945 as prosperous suburbs of Derby were built outside the city boundaries. Lord George-Brown, who represented the seat at the time, wrote in 1971 after his defeat in the 1970 general election that "The electorate had increased by over 10,000 since 1966, mainly from the growth of middle-class housing estates, so that most of the new electors could be expected to vote Tory. Since my majority in 1966 was 4,274, an influx of 10,000 new voters, mainly Tory, obviously imperilled the seat." A Boundary Commission report issued in 1969 had recommended changes which would have removed the extra voters, but the Labour government of the time had delayed implementation of the report.

Belper School

Belper School and Sixth Form Centre is a foundation secondary school located in the north-east of Belper, Derbyshire, England. In October 2014, Ofsted reported that its overall effectiveness is 'Good'.It has received Healthy Schools status and the Artsmark Gold award. The current headteacher is Mr. Martyn Cooper.

Belper Town F.C.

Belper Town Football Club is a football club based in Belper, Derbyshire, England. They are currently members of the Northern Premier League Division One South East and play at Christchurch Meadow. The club are nicknamed the "Nailers" due to the town's nail-making industry.

Belper United F.C.

Belper United Football Club is a football club based in Belper, Derbyshire, England. They are currently members of the East Midlands Counties League and play at Christchurch Meadow, the home of Belper Town.

Belper railway station

Belper railway station serves the town of Belper in Derbyshire, England. The station is located on the Midland Main Line from Derby to Leeds, 135 miles 55 chains (218.4 km) north of London St Pancras.

DE postcode area

The DE postcode area, also known as the Derby postcode area, is a group of 23 postcode districts in England, which are subdivisions of 11 post towns. These postcode districts cover south and central Derbyshire (including Derby, Alfreton, Ashbourne, Bakewell, Belper, Heanor, Ilkeston, Matlock, Ripley and Swadlincote), parts of east Staffordshire (including Burton upon Trent) and north-west Leicestershire, and very small parts of Nottinghamshire.

Edward Strutt, 1st Baron Belper

Edward Strutt, 1st Baron Belper PC FRS (26 October 1801 – 30 June 1880), was a British Liberal Party politician. He served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1852 to 1854 under Lord Aberdeen.

Grade II* listed buildings in Amber Valley

There are over 20,000 Grade II* listed buildings in England. This page is a list of these buildings in the district of Amber Valley in Derbyshire.

Jedediah Strutt

Jedediah Strutt (1726 – 7 May 1797) or Jedidiah Strutt – as he spelled it – was a hosier and cotton spinner from Belper, England.

Strutt and his brother-in-law William Woollat developed an attachment to the stocking frame that allowed the production of ribbed stockings. Their machine became known as the Derby Rib machine, and the stockings it produced quickly became popular.

John Sims (footballer)

John Sims (born 14 August 1952 in Belper, Derbyshire) is an English former professional footballer, he played predominantly as a forward for Plymouth Argyle, and briefly managed Torquay United.

Midlands 3 East (North)

Midlands 3 East (North) is a level 8 English Rugby Union league and level 3 of the Midlands League, made up of teams from the northern part of the East Midlands region including clubs from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and the occasional team from Leicestershire, with home and away matches played throughout the season. Each year all clubs in the division also take part in the RFU Senior Vase - a level 8 national competition.

The division was formed for the 2000-01 when the old Midlands 4 East was split into two regional divisions called Midlands 4 East (North) and Midlands 4 East (South) and gained its current title for the 2009-10 season due to further restructuring to the Midlands League. Promoted teams tend to move up to Midlands 2 East (North) while demoted teams typically drop to Midlands 4 East (North).

Ross Davenport

Ross Paul Davenport (born 23 May 1984) is an English competitive swimmer who has represented Great Britain in the Olympics, world and European championships, and swam for England in the Commonwealth Games. He won two gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne for the 200-metre freestyle and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay.

On Monday, 27 November 2006 he was recognized as the BBC East Midlands Sports Personality of the Year. He was a member of the University of Bath swimming club, coached by Ian Turner and trains at Loughborough University. Born in Belper, Derbyshire, he now lives and trains in Loughborough.

Ross qualified for Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in two events, the 200-metre freestyle and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay. He achieved this by winning the 200-metre freestyle, ahead of Robert Renwick, in the 2008 Long Course British Championships (incorporating the Olympic trials) on 3 April. His time in the final was 1:47.66.

He was part of the British 4x200-metre freestyle relay team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.He started at Belper School in 1995.

Rowen House School

Rowen House was an independent British boarding school founded in 1979 in Belper, Derbyshire. The name was not a misspelling, but a reference to the Utopian thinker and eutopian practitioner, Robert Owen. This "educational experiment" used the power of the childhood group like Summerhill School.

Tommy Taylor (footballer, born 1951)

Thomas Frederick Taylor (born 26 September 1951 in Hornchurch, Essex) is an English football manager and former footballer. As a footballer, he played as a defender. He is the director of football for Histon.

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