From 10-23 June, Chatsworth is hosting an exhibition organised by the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

The Trust was established in late 1973 by Alan Bemrose, then Chair of Finance at Derbyshire County Council, at the request of the late dowager Duchess Deborah Devonshire (1920-2014). The aim of the Trust is to save beautiful, humble or grand buildings across the county that would otherwise be demolished or left to complete ruin. Collectively, these structures commemorate Derbyshire’s rich agricultural, commercial and industrial heritage.

Duchess Deborah was first joint chair and then president of the Trust, and the exhibition also pays tribute to her involvement, which helped secure the restoration of many historic Derbyshire buildings.

Learn more about Duchess Deborah's involvement in the Trust here (opens PDF).

Run by unpaid Trustees and supported by volunteers, some professionally involved in conservation and design at Derbyshire County Council, the Trust was initially funded by available grants and low-interest loans and operated on a ‘renovate and resell’ model, focusing on buildings for which no easy restoration solution was available. 

The work of the Trust proved to be a catalyst for raising awareness of other buildings at risk across the county, and owners were often inspired to recognise the benefit of investing in their own repairs, with several demolition orders lifted. 

Since the late 1990s, the Trust has acted more in an advisory capacity, with buildings at risk identified and opportunities for their restoration and repurpose offered. 

Learn more about the work of the Derbyshire Heritage Buildings Trust in this short film.

In 2016, the Trust successfully secured a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore Wingfield Station.

The exhibition will be on display from 10 – 23 June in the conservatory off the Carriage House Restaurant at Chatsworth, which is set within the Grade I listed stable block created by architect James Paine in 1758-63 for the 4th Duke of Devonshire.

Culturally important buildings featured in the exhibition include; the Railway Cottages in Derby opposite the train station; Buxton Thermal Baths; many buildings in Wirksworth; and, more recently, the restoration of one of the world’s oldest surviving train stations at Wingfield. 

The much-loved Aqueduct Cottage on the Cromford Canal is also featured, and is the result of a collaboration with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and a dedicated volunteer team. Before and after photographs demonstrate the remarkable results that can achieved when individuals with great minds and shared goals work together.

Access to the exhibition is free. If you wish to park at Chatsworth you will need a car park ticket, or you can travel by public transport. 

For more information visit derbyshirehistoricbuildingstrust.org.uk

Image 1 - Duchess Deborah Devonshire at the opening of the 17 Long Row project with architect Peter Knowles (middle) and a representative of Halifax Building Society who sponsored the project (left)
2 - (L-R): Bob Hawkins, Trustee Barry Joyce MBE, Chair Derek Latham, and Trustee Allan Morrison, (image credit: Derbyshire Heritage Buildings Trust)

Main image - Buxton architecture, credit Canva

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