Once an important part of the industrial midlands, the large market town of Chesterfield sits near the Peak District National Park and retains many of its historic buildings.
More than a quarter of a million people live in Derbyshire’s only city, Derby. Chesterfield is the largest town in Derbyshire, with about 104,000 resident. Bakewell is the largest Derbyshire settlement in the Peak District National Park, but with a tiny population of roughly 4,000 people.
Chesterfield is famous for its Crooked Spire on the Church of St Mary and All Saints, and its markets, which offer thrice-weekly general markets, a monthly farmers’ market and a weekly Flea/Antiques market.
In AD70 the Roman army built a fort in the area as part of their advance across Wales and the North. The Anglo Saxons used the word ‘caester’ for fort, and added their word ‘feld’ to describe the grazing land near the fort.
Chesterfield to Bakewell by car is 13 miles, which takes about 27 minutes by car. Travelling through the hills and small roads of the Peak District National Park means driving is much slower than you may be used to.
The Town Through The Ages
YouTube channel PauliosVids shows this video montage of Chesterfield from 1956 to 1980, compiled and narrated by George Martin.
Andy Slack opens this video montage with a humorous mock imitation of the London Underground map, showing the Chesterfield locations to be visited. Most of the photos are from old family albums.
Chesterfield In The 1920s
From YouTube channel Sky is Blue- Chesterfield FC history. This silent footage shows one of the last races on Whittington Moor.
The races were held every year from about 1685. They were usually run the two days before Goodwood. After 1871 they were run as flapper races and not under the Jockey Club rules. The Corporation (local council) bought the area for housing in 1924.
The course ran down what is now Stand Road and down Pottery Lane, up East Side, on to Brimington Road North, adjacent to Sheffield Road, up Racecourse Road, and ended at the Grandstand’s site close to the Cricketers Pub.
Chesterfield In The 1950s
PauliosVids. In 1951 work started to set Chesterfield’s famous Crooked Spire straight.
A British Pathé film celebrating the formal opening event of the new sports stadium in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
In addition to crowds of spectators and athletes, footage includes:
- Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield, Alderman and Mrs Frank Hadfield
- Mr S.W. Martin Managing Director of Stavely Iron and Chemical works
- Lord and Lady Burghley
- Mr T. A. McKenna, Chairman of Stavely Iron and Chemical works
- R.J. Hawley, organiser
- No 8 W.T. Hulatt, winner of the mile race
- Mr Crooks times the cyclist races
- Mrs Powell presents upper fourth Cup to men’s cycle team
- Unnamed winners of the women’s cycle race stand on the platform
- No 282 I.J. Smith, winner of the 120 yards hurdles
- Joe Smith photographer, Derbyshire Times
- Mr. Turner, deputy managing director Stavely Iron and Chemical works
- Norris wins the 6 mile race
- Unnamed 4 women in the relay
- Miss G. Newbolt wins women’s 100 yard race
- MacDonald Bailey and other runners
- The Don Cossack riders
Chesterfield In The 1960s
Andy Slack. This footage is trimmed from a tour of Britain film.
Chesterfield In The 1970s
Onefiveninevideo uploaded thisSuper 8 film taken in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1974. It includes: Chesterfield Town Hall, Foljambe Road, Barker Lane, Kennings Remould Tyre Factory, Queens Park Boating Lake, and the famous Chesterfield Crooked Spire.
Dean Smith uploaded a 1970s video of Queens Park Annexe (and girls guide jamboree at Cutthorpe and Skegness holiday).
Chesterfield In The 1980s
DirtyStopOuts1 compiled photographs from the Facebook Group ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1980s Chesterfield’ into a book and this video.
Lee Hedley. Prince Charles and Lady Diana visited Chesterfield 1981, shown in this half hour video which also captures many local people and businesses.
Roy Harrison shot this video on standard Video 8 on a dull overcast day in September 1988. It shows class 56 & 58’s on merry go round trains with class 20, 37 and 47’s on other freight at Shirebrook, Creswell, Chesterfield and Clay Cross.
Ian Knapton uploaded to YouTube a compilation of images of the old Ireland Colliery Chesterfield band from the 1980s and 1990s.
Chesterfield In The 1990s
RUSSANDTILLY. A busy couple of hours at chesterfield with class 37,47,56,58,60 all on freight, plus plenty of intercity hsts.
The 21st Century
SmatchedUK created a video montage of revellers enjoying a night out in Chesterfield on 3rd & 4th December 2010.
In March 2012, Destination Chesterfield worked in partnership with Chesterfield Borough Council to submit a bid for Chesterfield to become a Portas’ Pilot town. The top retail consultant and TV personality Mary Portas wanted to revamp Britain’s high streets which were struggling to cope with general economic conditions and the rise of internet shopping.
In 2015 Paul Kaye uploaded to YouTube this three minute sample taken from the “Fire & Flood: Chesterfield A Week of Misery” film DVD.
Chesterfield Borough Council. In 2019 archaeological excavation work took place at part of the Donut (Holywell Cross) car park, before work on the new enterprise centre could start. 16th century pottery had previously been found on the site. Glyn Davies of ArcHeritage gives an update on the progress of the dig.
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Thanks to Alan Wright for use of the image of Chesterfield’s famous Crooked Spire on the Church of St Mary and All Saints, shown at the top of this page.