This first event in our Derby Parks Series 2023 has inspired a new urban orienteering map! Each park has been previously mapped at the very detailed scale of 1:2000, with a Permanent Course at Normanton Park since 2005. For this event, we have mapped the two parks and streets in-between at 1:5000. As a result, the parks (A4 on the old maps) occupy an area the size of an SI box (6 x 10cm), in the NE and SW corners of the new A3 map. Some detail, such as lamp-posts, has had to be sacrificed in the process!
The Short course stays within Arboretum Park, Medium ventures out into low-traffic surrounding streets, and Long is an urban course that takes you all the way to Normanton Park and back.
History of the area
The new map covers 2 square kilometres of New Normanton and Rose Hill. In the 1850s and 60s, the population of Derby boomed along with the growing railway and mill industries. New suburban districts were needed, and land at what is now Rose Hill was owned by mill-owner philanthropist and antiquarian Joseph Strutt 1765–1844. Strutt was a radical reformer, Mayor of Derby 1836/7, and it is he we must thank for the wonderful Egyptian mummies in Derby Museum. He believed that ordinary people should enjoy the opportunities for culture and self-improvement that were so readily available to the upper classes.
His biggest ‘levelling-up’ project was the creation of Derby Arboretum – Britain’s first public park – in 1840 at a cost of £10000. Admission to the park was 6 or 3 shillings, but on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays (workers’ and servants’ time-off), it was made free of charge. A thousand species of tree were brought in and planted atop the man-made snake-like banks that give the park a secluded feel. Some 25000 people were at the park opening on September 16th 1840, and Joseph’s Strutt’s statue stands at the ceremonial entrance to the park on Arboretum Street. All courses will visit this. You can download a tree-trail leaflet here.
Arboretum Park was designed by John Claudius Loudon and was one of the inspirations for New York’s Central Park. More information and a video about the history of the park here. We have hired the beautifully restored Loudon Lodge for Registration and Download from the Friends of Arboretum Park.
The first of the red-brick terraces so characteristic of the area were erected in the 1860s along the south side of what is now Rose Hill Street. This includes the lovely but dilapidated Rose Hill House. The Historic England website has some views you won’t see from the street ; architecture and occupant details quoted below available here.
No post about Arboretum Park would be complete without an account of a rather unusual bronze statue in the park. The Florentine Boar was originally an 1806 ceramic copy of a boar statue in Florence’s Mercato Nuevo, created by Crown Derby modeller William John Coffee. It was destroyed in an air raid in 1941, but the present statue was recast in bronze in 2005.
The Blue Plaque commemorating anti-war activist and suffragette Alice Wheeldon 1866–1919 is at Mirpur Jewellers at 12 Pear Tree Road, opposite Shahensha deli and take-away, where the best samosas in Derby cost just 50p!
All over the map are mosques, Sikh gurdwaras, Hindu temples and Christian churches of many denominations. We hope you enjoy your run – more details here!