What is Belper like today?

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What is Belper like today?
What is Belper like today?
A village trail focusing on historic buildings and
landmarks in the town.
Follow the trail described in this booklet to discover a variety of landmark buildings and
interesting facts about Belper. Use the map to navigate and start on Belper Bridge with
picture Number 1. Use the photographs to ensure you are in the correct place and the
information to help interpret the area.
The points on the map are shown in two ways:
is the actual building
tells you where to stand and which
direction to look in.
What is Belper like today?
Location Map
1
A weir is a step built in the river to control the water so it could be used to power the mills.
This weir was built in 1797. How would you describe its shape?
2
Look above the doorway. What do you think these letters stand for?
Every Saturday Camping Company
Elephants Should Cook Company
English Sewing Cotton Company
Escape School Carefully Company
The bridge above your heads is called The Gangway and was built to join the mills on either
side of the road. Can you see some holes in the bridge? These were used by soldiers to
shoot through when they were defending the mill against mill wreckers.
(To find out more about mill wreckers; do an internet search for ‘Luddites’)
3
This building is known as ‘the Old Nick’. It was built in 1847 and used to be the police
station. Can you see a clue to this former use?
4
This is Christ Church, built in 1850. The vicarage next door was built in 1857 and has this
Hebrew inscription high up on the wall:
Can you see it? It means ‘I am the word’
Look for a green bell painted on the wall, with an arrow pointing towards the church. This
was to tell people the way to the nearest bells in case they had to ring them in an emergency.
What might have been thought of as an emergency in those days?
5
These houses are called Long Row. They were built around 1790, by the Strutt family, for
the people who worked in the mills.
They were built using a local stone called gritstone.
They were built at the same time as those across the road, but look very different.
What differences can you see?
The gutters are adjustable so that there is always a slope for the water to drain down.
What other building materials were used in these houses?
Walk down Cluster Road. Can you spot another green bell painted on the wall? Can you
remember what this was for?
Turn left into Joseph Street.
6
This is a Cluster Building. It is made up of four houses built semi-detached and back to back.
The Clusters were built in 1818-1820 to house mill workers. Each house had a pig sty in the
back garden.
This cluster is on Joseph Street. The two other long streets are called William Street and
George Street. Who were William, George and Joseph?
7
This is a Nailer’s Workshop. As long ago as 1260 – long before the mills came to Belper, the
town rang with the sound of the nailers’ hammers. This workshop was built in the early
1800s. At this time most of the workers in the mills were women and children. These
workshops were built to provide work for men – making nails.
What sort of things do you think the nails would be used for?
8
These houses are modern but have been built using traditional building materials. Compare
them with those in picture number 5.
How are they similar?
How are they different?
Why do you think they have been built to look like this?
9
These cottages on Short Row were the first workers’ dwellings to be built by Jedidiah Strutt –
about 1780.
From here, take the opportunity to walk up Field Row and look at the Unitarian Chapel. A
plaque on the gate will give you lots of information about it.
10
Before the Unitarian Chapel was built, this building was the town’s first Unitarian Meeting
House. After the chapel was built, this became the Sunday School.
What special subjects do you think children learned about at a ‘Sunday School’?
11
The public Hall was built in 1882. It later became a cinema called the Ritz.
12
The front of this florist’s shop has changed little since Victorian times. Look carefully at some
of the carved shapes in the wooden surround.
13
What sort of stone is the RBS built from?
granite
limestone
marble
sandstone
gritstone

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