From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Darley Dale

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Urban
Derbyshire
53° 9′ 57.6″ N 1° 35′ 45.6″ W
SK2700563317
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Darley Dale is a large village, and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, a gateway to the Peak District. It lies north of Matlock, on the River Derwent and the A6.

It was thought that a Benedictine abbey was built in Darley Dale under the reign of Henry I in the 12th century although sadly it is not supported by the evidence now available.

The ancient Parish Church of St Helens is dominated by an even more ancient and famous yew tree, one of the thickest in England, having a girth of around 33 feet, 4 feet from the ground. It is believed to be well over a 1000 years old. The church dates from the 12th century and contains monuments to Sir John de Darley who was Lord of the Manor over 600 years ago, and in the chancel, a Kneeling John Milward, his wife and their 11 children. John was a colonel in the Kings Army during the Civil War, and they lived at Smitherton Hall. a stone gabled Elizabethan house situated 2 miles from the church. The Church was restored in 1877

Darley Bridge survives from the late medieval period, having being built in the 15th century.

It was the home of Sir Joseph Whitworth, he 19th-century machine toolmaker and engineer and inventer of the Whitworth screw. He was responsible for much of the development in the village and founded the Whitworth Institute with his wife, it is a community Centre for the people of Darley Dale, the Whitworth Park with its many sports facilities and the Whitworth hospital. Despite all this, it is believed that he was unpopular with the local residents because of the high walls he built around his estate, Stancliffe Hall, to protect his privacy. He died at Monte Carlo in 1887, aged 83, and is buried at St. Helen's Church.

Lady Louisa Whitworth built Whitworth Cottage Hospital, the first of two major building projects in Darley Dale, following the death of her husband and it was opened in 1889. It is still in use as an NHS hospital, providing a minor injuries unit, two urgent care wards and some community health services

The opening to the public of the Whitworth Institute in September 1890 marked the beginning of Lady Louisa's second major project in Darley Dale. The institute comprised an indoor swimming pool, an assembly hall, various reading and committee rooms and eventually a library, a billiard room, a museum of natural history, a convenient hotel once called the Whitworth Hotel, but now 'Barrington's' and a landscaped park. The Whitworth Institute was given to the people of Darley Dale and in 2009/10 underwent a £1.7M renovation to ensure its continued use for future generations.

The park provides a variety of sporting activities with soccer and cricket pitches, a bowling green and a skateboard arena. Whitworth Park also provides over ten acres of landscaped grounds with pathways along tree-lined avenues. There is also a shallow lake. The centrepiece of the park is an obelisk commemorating Sir Joseph Whitworth. In 2003 the park was the subject of a £750,000 refurbishment.