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Dining Out In Derbyshire


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Dining at Marquis of Ormonde

Why have so many songs been written about Monday and not, for example, Wednesday? According to Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats they don’t like Mondays and on Monday the Easy Beats had Friday on their mind. I’d like to change their opinions of that much maligned day; because Monday Night* is Steak Night at […]

Dining at Viva Restaurant

There’s something about Viva, a family run, glamorous Italian restaurant, situated in the heart of Matlock, you really do feel so welcome when you arrive. Call me old fashioned, but I find it comforting to see families with young children, parents, grandparents, friends etc all sitting together enjoying excellent food while merrily chatting away. I […]

Dining at The Railway Inn

Trains have been running through Shottle on and off since 1867.  I say on and off because in 1947 the line was closed for passenger trains and used for goods trains only. However the recently opened Ecclesbourne Valley Railway now serves this delightful area of Derbyshire, which is rich in scenery and beautiful walks. The local […]

Kedleston Country House

From the beginning of the 18th century Derby has had a reputation for fine town houses. A slow walk along Friar Gate and on to Ashbourne Road will reveal many fine examples but if you continue that journey out of town along the Kedleston Road you will come across the grade II*-listed Kedleston Country House […]

The Brasserie at Horlsey Lodge

The pretty lights which lined the drive over the narrow bridge leading to Horsley Lodge gave us a lovely welcome as we arrived with anticipation to enjoy an evening at the newly opened Brasserie Restaurant. We are not strangers to Horsley Lodge and have spent many a happy hour in these lovely surroundings, either on […]

Dining Out – The Sanam

Possibly my biggest failing when having an Indian meal out is to skip the starter.  I enjoy the popadoms and then go straight into the main course but, one rainy night in November, we decided to let Iqbal, the owner of  The Sanam Restaurant on King Street in Alfreton, present us with the full works. […]

Dining at Santo’s Higham Farm

Dining out with your partner, family or friends should be a memorable experience for all the right reasons; beautifully cooked food, pleasant surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere. What a delight when all these things come together as they did recently for my wife Susan and I on a chilly Autumn evening at Santo’s Higham Farm, […]

Marquis_of_Ormonde_ONLINE_Mar16

Derbyshire Lost houses


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Babington House Derby

If you go into Waterstone’s in Derby, you will be entering a late 19th century edifice called Babington Buildings. High above your head, you will see a carved device – a visual pun called in heraldry a rebus – of two baboons either side of a barrel or tun: ‘baboon-tun’ thus Babington. The building, now […]

Lost Houses – Aldercar Hall

It was of brick with quoins and other dressings of coal measures sandstone, undoubtedly from a local quarry (or re-used from Codnor Castle, at this date, rapidly in decline). Aldercar, a portion of the parish of Heanor and in the Middle Ages being one of four parks attached to the Zouche family’s Codnor Castle estate, takes […]

Lost Houses – Snelston Hall

Snelston was the most ambitious Gothic house in Derbyshire, renowned for its splendour, but also one of the more short-lived Derbyshire seats. The history of Snelston prior to 1813, when the builder of this prodigy house came on the scene, is excessively convoluted. In essence, there had been three separate manorial estates at the time […]

Lost Houses – Exeter House, Derby

In the early 17th century, the West bank of the Derwent was becoming very sought after for gardens and suddenly Full Street and Cockpit Hill became fashionable places to live. Exeter House, No. 1, Full Street, was the house occupied for three days and two nights by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. Derby has had […]

Lost Houses – Castlefields

With heavy machinery at work and much building going up in the tract of land between the Railway Station and Traffic Street in Derby, the site of the most ambitious country house close to Derby will be developed for the second time since its demolition nearly 180 years ago. The area is now called Castleward […]

Lost Houses – Crich Manor House

Crich is really rather a confusing place, not least in respect to its country houses. The descent of the manorial estate since Hubert Fitz Ralph, the Domesday proprietor has been something of a saga, and many of the subsequent lords were non-resident. This phenomenon certainly would have put paid to the original manor house, built, […]

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Walking In Derbyshire


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Walk Around Froggatt Edge

This is a walk full of contrasts and interest.  Starting near the mouth of the longest and still used railway tunnel in the Peak District, it passes some of the most natural woodland in the region and also the one-time home of two priests martyred for their beliefs. Partly wooded valley strolling then follows, and […]

Up the Nottingham & Down the Erewash

There is industry, old and new along the Erewash Valley, but strange as it may seem, parts of the valley are so free of industrial overtones, that they have become a series of nature reserves. Safe from the noise and bustle of traffic along the cross-valley roads, water fowl and semi-rare plants have made their […]

Walk Around Chatsworth

I fancied a kipper the other day, but as my tastes run to something better than the dyed apologies on offer in supermarkets, I decided to combine my shopping trip with a walk, especially as the day in question was one of the sunniest we have had in this atrociously wet winter so far. There […]

Two Ducal Stations and a Trail

I hate mud.  There I have got it out of my system, but how was I to prepare my latest walk for Images? Normally I have to carry out my reconnoitring anything up to three months before publication date, but like Shakespeare says in Twelfth Night, it seemed as though ‘the rain it raineth every […]

A Walk around Riber & Dethick

The façade of Riber Castle stands proud, high above Matlock, despite the vicissitudes of weather that has been thrown at it for over 160 years.  Built of local stone, on a hillside 850 feet above sea level by John Smedley in the 1850s, who intended it to be the culminating feature of his hydropathic establishments […]

A Walk through Codnor and Ironville

In my recent winter warmer walk I mentioned about being puzzled by the strange tower-like pit head of Brittain Pit near Midland Railway’s Swanwick Junction.  As there is winding machinery apparently attached to the tower, it seemed an odd way to access the mine workings beneath.  I mentioned this to a friend who readily explained […]

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Featured Articles


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Cragside – Where Modern Living Began

William George Armstrong, Lord Armstrong of Cragside the Victorian scientist and engineer made his fortune from hydraulic engineering, ship building and armaments.  When he retired he made his home by developing what was once a hunting lodge into a house where comfort and innovation was far ahead of its time. Brian Spencer visited Cragside, high […]

The Battle of Chesterfield 1266

Town centre violence at weekends when the pubs close in Chesterfield and the drunks spill out, is no different to most other towns and cities up and down the land.  Usually it is put down easily by the police, but had they been around 750 years ago on May 15th 1266, the situation would have […]

Derbyshire Antiques – GOING FOR A CRUMP!

The recent death of a long-standing friend whose father was the last proprietor of Thomas Crump & Sons reminded me that people avidly collect sanitary equipment and allied goods, which were the stock-in-trade of Messrs. Crump.  Years ago, when I used to give lectures about Derby on behalf of the Museum, I used to talk […]

Tutbury Castle

The Roman legions in their conquest of the East Midlands used a natural mound a little to the south of the River Dove as a lookout.  Since then the hill as it developed into a fortification, has featured more than once in our island’s often turbulent history.  To indicate its strategic importance, through her northern […]

Alnwick Historic Border Town

Despite the passing of often turbulent centuries, Alnwick as Brian Spencer discovered, has managed to combine its historical past with modern living. Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2 begins with Rumour telling of Hotspur’s death and calling Warkworth Castle, which was then his home, ‘a worm-eaten hold of ragged stone’.  Southerners were clearly as inaccurate then […]

Derbyshire Antiques – PETER PEREZ BURDETT FRSA

PETER PEREZ BURDETT FRSA Maps and Memorabilia Peter Burdett was an important but much neglected figure of the Midlands Enlightenment and, like his friends Joseph Wright and the architect Joseph Pickford, was on the periphery of the Lunar Society. He was unmatched as a surveyor, cartographer and topographical illustrator, and was the inventor of a process […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested


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Paul Mitchell – Awapuhi

Luxury care for dry, damaged hair. Since 1983, we have harvested awapuhi on our sustainable, solar-powered Paul Mitchell® Awapuhi farm in Hawaii. In 2010, tradition met technology with the launch of the Awapuhi Wild Ginger® collection, which combines the moisturising benefits of awapuhi with our revolutionary KeraTriplex protein blend to transform dry, damaged hair. KERATIN […]

A Little Bit of TLC with Trilogy

We believe skincare doesn’t need to be complicated. Our products are created from simple and unique blends of the purest natural plant oils and botanical extracts working in perfect harmony to restore and maintain the natural vitality and radiance of skin. www.trilogyproducts.com Ultra Hydrating Body Cream  150ml £15.50 Intensive hydration and enhanced radiance Trilogy’s Ultra Hydrating Body […]

Tried & Tested – Pixi

Flawless Beauty with Pixi Flawless Vitamin Veil   £22 Crème-to-powder adjustable coverage foundation infused with vitamins to enhance skin’s natural glow. What it is formulated to do: This formula miraculously evens out skintone and makes it look like you have no foundation on. It also treats your skin to a host of vitamins, minerals and skin-enhancing […]

Neal’s Yard Remedies Reviews

Our vision was to bring the expertise of the apothecary and our holistic approach to health and beauty to people and communities. Today awareness and interest in natural remedies, skin and body care are on the increase. But when we opened our first shop in Covent Garden, we were one of the few pushing against […]

ESPA – Tried & Tested

Turn Back the Clock with Espa Lift & Firm Skin Firming Collection The primary difference between youthful and maturing skin lies, perhaps surprisingly, less in the appearance and more in the texture and feeling of skin. Youthful skin is supple and bounces back from whatever life throws at it. With passing time skin becomes less […]

Tried & Tested – Benefit Cosmetics

Wow Factor with Benefit Cosmetics Most Glamorous Nudes Ever. World Famous Neutrals Kit £23.50 Why We Love It! World famous neutrals most glamorous nudes ever is the no.1 selling eye shadow item in the UK. These rich, illuminating eyeshadows in award-winning creaseless creams and NEW longwear powder shadows make going glam beyond easy! The universally flattering […]