Society regret over old courthouse demolition

Chesterfield and District Civic Society has expressed regret that the former courthouse complex on Brimington Road, near the train station, is being demolished (as January 2024).

Civic Society Chair Howard Borrell – ‘very disappointed’ at courthouse demolition.

Says Civic Society Chairman Howard Borrell; ‘Many people will remember that this now privately owned building was latterly the Probation Service and was, some time ago, a martial arts centre.  We are very disappointed at its demolition. The society were not consulted about this, as it is not a listed building. Though properties such as this can be difficult to convert, it is a great pity that something could not have been done about it. We believe that the site is destined to become a temporary car park, pending firmer plans. Whatever eventually replaces the building we hope that its townscape value will be greater than what has been lost.’

A sad scene of demolition – 28 April 2024. (P Cousins).

The building was first opened in 1914 at a cost of £10,000 excluding the site. The architects were Messrs. Hunter and Woodhouse of Belper, with the main contractor a once well-known Chesterfield builder – G. F. Kirk. It was built with Accrington Bricks, having stonework from Darley Dale.

The building dated back to the days when the borough and county police forces were separate. It was needed to house the Chesterfield Petty Sessional Courts. But the complex also included a county police station, a house designed for the Deputy Chief Constable and ‘cottages’ for the ‘police groom and police clerk’. A lock-up and offices were included. To the rear was an exercise yard for prisoners, a space for drill, a stable, coach-house and a ‘motor-shed’. There were originally two main court rooms with concave ceilings and a third for childrens’ cases.

The courthouse complex in April 2021 – ‘plain and substantial’. (P Cousins).

Says Howard Borrell; ‘This nicely proportioned building was not statutory listed. Its demolition is a reminder of the importance of identifying  buildings  at risk and even just unloved buildings that need some care and attention. The Society are currently reviewing our existing list of such properties and I think it’s fair to say that this building would have been added.’  

Reporting on the then new building project’s initiation, in its edition of 18 January 1913, the Derbyshire Times lamented that due to its situation the building would ‘not do full justice to the designers’ but in May the following year described it as ‘plain and substantial’.


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