Up North part 2: Derby

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

The plan was to visit Derby to research my ancestors. My great-great-grandfather Samuel had owned a saw mill there, but after he died my great-grandfather George moved to Liverpool, via Salford, thence to Bury. On Sunday I visited my niece in Little Lever ('C'mon baby, do the Locomotion'), who coincidentally would be spending the next few days in Battle, down here! I got a lift to Bury and spent some time on the station watching the steam trains and drinking beer. Monday morning, it was a bus and a tram and then a train to Broadbottom (past a station called Flowery Field!) where Lois's son Joe was doing gymnastics. Then a fantastic drive through Glossop, along the Snake Pass, to Castleton, there to ascend Peveril Castle. Tea and parkin, then back to New Mills.

On Tuesday I got the scenic TransPeak bus across the Peak District. Couldn't get on at The Swan cos of road works so Lois dashed to Furness Vale (Soldier Dick) and I jumped on. The driver however had printed the Wayfarer ticket before I could utter 'concession' so I paid full price of £8.30, still a bargain. The bus/coach went through Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock, with autumnal scenery all around. At Derby I trundled off to find the B&B. I was bursting for the loo, so popped into the Soul Deli for a coffee. The owner asked me if I was an artist and gave me loads of info on where to go. After checking in at the Chambers House, opposite a gothic ex-art school (For Sale), I walked up Macklin Street, where George had lived (oddly there was a Gerard Street just around the corner), then caught a bus to Uttoxeter New Road to check out Sycamore Villa. But where it should have been (no 131) was no 155! What was going on? Towards Derby, past the old cemetery, the houses were 101, 103 etc. Where had the house gone? I bussed back to Derby and to the Local Studies Library to try find out. I looked at newspapers on microfilm, directories and maps and deduced the road had been renumbered! Why didn't I take a photo when I could have? I'd have to go back tomorrow. I popped into the Silk Mill industrial museum briefly thence to Ye Olde Dolphin Inn for a pint of Spooky, a veg moussaka, and a pint of Aleoween. Phoned Paul (friend of Avy) back at the B&B and he suggested a pint at... the Dolphin. So another Spooky then a walk to the Flowerpot and a pint of something or other. I'd asked Phil Dobson to recommend some pubs in Derby and I'd done two of them already.

Wednesday, I had my unimaginative veggie brekky (beans, tinned tomatoes, egg and hash browns) then set off for the art gallery to check out the Joseph Wrights. Then back to the Local Studies Library to finish off a few checks. I'd discovered that Sam's steam saw mill was between City and Mansfield Roads. No loo at the library so I popped into the Cathedral coffee shop for a coffee and soup, then across to the cathedral proper for a quick look. Over the bridge was where the saw mill should have been, but it was a housing estate. Back over the bridge to North Parade where Sam had just bought a house before he'd died in St Alkmund's churchyard (demolished in the 1960s to build the ring road). I didn't know the number but took a snap of those fine Georgian buildings anyway. Final task was to locate Whitecross Street - I traipsed for miles to find it was now a modern housing estate. I should have checked these out on Google Earth first! Bus back to Derby, then bus back to Sycamore Villa to take a snap, then to M&S in the massive brand new Westfield mall. Supper at Paul and Jane's (who live near the bus stop I ended up at when tracing Whitecross Street), taxi home.

Thursday, checked out at 10am, walked to station via Westfield again. The whole south of Derby seems to be new, so there was no point checking out Siddals and Copeland Streets. At the station, discovered that there was an ASLEF strike so no 12.04 to London (I had hours to wait anyway) so popped along to the Brunswick Inn (another Phil recommendation, and the best) the other side of some lovely railway cottages - a pub and a brewery! I had a lovely pint of Father Mike's 5.8% at £2.60 and a bowl of soup. This and the cottages were to be demolished but were thankfully saved. Full train back to the new hi-tech St Pancras ( a student next to me very kindly let me watch a Bruce Willis film 'Hostage' on his iPod), and another full Thameslink home.

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