Doing Up Derbyshire

Ann Hills looks at the impact of the Derbyshire Historic Building Trust

Wirksworth, a Derbyshire market town known for lead mining and for the manufacture of red tape, presented an extraordinarily Dickensian air of neglect a few years ago. During the 1980s the Derbyshire Historic Building Trust (DHBT), which inhabits one of the refurbished town centre houses, has had a substantial impact by investing in the repair of more than a dozen properties. A fascinating Heritage Centre in a former silk and velvet mill, recounts the Wirksworth story with tableaux, artefacts and documents.
A sense of purpose has replaced inertia; the National Stone Museum, to be opened beside quarries and old lime kilns on the northern edge of town, is at the planning stage; shops are colourful – selling goods from modern furniture to high fashion.
Next year festivities will centre around the 700th anniversary of the first recorded mention of the Barmote Court in 1288, which dealt with lead mining matters. The Court still sits each April and October, and is open to the public.

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