Unloved and Heritage Buildings at Risk

This is an attempt to build a register of buildings, locally, that we feel are important. They may be listed, empty, or suffering from neglect and visibly deteriorating. Sometimes they may just be familiar features of the area, from our earliest memories.

Don’t forget to visit our on-line resources page for more information on Chesterfield and district buildings, our blue plaques scheme and our old society newsletters.

Victoria Buildings, Knifesmithgate

The first one on our list is the Victoria Buildings, usually known as ‘The Vic’ to the veterans, and often mentioned in the context of the ‘Vic Verandah’. The love is there from Chesterfield generations: the issue is that the building belongs to a London property management company, is currently empty of tenants, and little is known of their plans.  To find out more about the history of this building download our pdf here. In February 2022 the Derbyshire Times published an article on the building.

Hurst House, Abercrombie Street

Built as a private house c.1840, occupied by Chesterfield Grammar School 1928–67, later a community education centre. Owned by the charity which is the successor to the grammar school, whose sole trustee (Derbyshire County Council) has taken littel or no action of ensure the future of the property since the building fell empty in 2014. We’ve frequently updated the situation as it progresses (or more particularly as it doesn’t) via our home page news items and in our newsletters.

Tapton House

Built c.1790 by a local banking family, the Wilkinsons, briefly occupied by George Stephenson (1838–48), the home of the Markham family 1873–1925, occupied by a secondary school 1931–91, later by Chesterfield College. Owned and well maintained by Chesterfield Borough Council but at risk unless a viable new use is found for the mansion and school buildings. There were reports of some small-scale arson activities and unauthorised metal detecting in the grounds during the summer of 2022.

The Borough Council invited bids for a future use for the property, including the possibility of a long-lease on the building. Bidding closed at the beginning of September 2022. A preferred bidder has been named as Stone Castle Enterprise Ltd. We believe that due diligence on this bid is (as October 2023) is being carried out. The managing director of Stone Castle Enterprise, Dan Pattrick, spoke about his plans for Tapton House at our AGM in September 2023. You can read more this in our post by clicking here.

The Civic Society looked at possible options for future use of this building in the autumn of 2021. You can read our conclusions by downloading the document here.

This is another property which has been the subject of some debate in local newspapers and social media. Although some have put forward options for community use, the Civic Society still feel that the most viable way to ensure the integrity of this building is for conversion back to residential use. We do, however, feel that progress is needed on actual work to the building to ensure it remains watertight and in a reasonable condition both before and during conversion works. We will be keeping a close eye on progress.

Former Primitive Methodist church, Holywell Cross

Built in 1881; after closure occupied by the YMCA and licensed clubs. Currently the subject of a flat conversion scheme but no visible sign of progress. A prominent landmark on a conspicuous site.

Former Baptist church, Brewery Street

First opened in 1862, this former Baptist Church closed in 1928, and was later occupied by the Royal Hospital. It has been empty for several years. The boundary wall was  damaged by a collision with a road vehicle at the beginning of 2022, but as April 2023 repairs had been carried out. A striking building worth saving if a new use can be found for it. Listed Grade II.

Brampton Manor, Old Road (Gazebo and cruck-framed barn)

The site has been the subject of a successful planning application for various residential conversions. Unfortunately, it has been unoccupied for some time and has attracted anti-social behaviour. In August 2022 a modern leisure centre annex was set on fire. This has left other buildings on the site vulnerable to damage and decay. The gazebo is listed grade II*, the barn is a scheduled monument. As March 2023 work appears to be in progress on the site.

Dunston Hall (Listed outbuildings including remains of cruck-framed structures)

The current owner of Dunston Hall carried out work to a listed building in 2022 which included work affecting the setting of a listed building, without first obtaining listed building consent. Required to restore the two grade II listed ranges of outbuildings, which include remains of cruck-framed structure probably dating from when the Hall was built c.1600 appears to be on-going as October 2023. We are pleased to report that the owner now seems intent on restoring this structure, but we will be keeping a close eye on developments to this important building.

Kilblean House, Corporation Street

Built in the 1870s as a doctor’s house and surgery; converted into a private hotel 1910, latterly a licensed bar, but has been empty for several years. The Borough Council is not making the building an annexe to the Stephenson Memorial Hall, which it adjoins (which the society thought would be useful). Its future is therefore uncertain unless a new use is found. The building stands on a prominent site, on the most direct pedestrian route from Chesterfield train station to the town centre.

Former Water Board offices, New Beetwell Street

Built in the 1930s for the Chesterfield & Bolsover Water Board, later the register office for Chesterfield. In November 2021 it was announced that Derwent Rural Counselling Service (a charity providing therapy services) had purchased the property. A well-designed public building that merited retention, that has now been achieved.

Former Congregational chapel schoolroom, Chatsworth Road

The stone-built, probably mid-19th century building adjoining Lidl’s supermarket is currently on offer to let but has been empty for some time. The last reminder of the once extensive presence of the Congregational Church in New Brampton.

As of October 2023 we understand that a community based group may be taking on this building, which we would generally welcome.

Walton Works, rear of Chatsworth Road

A very important and rare surviving example of the fire-resistant construction adopted for cotton mills from the 1770s; most of those elsewhere have been demolished. Listed grade II*. The cast iron components of the structure were probably made at the nearby Griffin Ironworks of Ebenezer Smith & Co. Later owned by Robinson & Son Ltd, who have been making strenuous (but unsuccessful) efforts over several years to incorporate the building in a redevelopment scheme for this part of their estate.

Cannon Mill, Goyt Side

A surviving remnant from the Smith family’s Griffin Ironworks, in the early 19th century one of the largest in Derbyshire. The firm specialising in light castings but also made ordnance during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, as commemorated on a plaque on the building. Also owned by Robinson & Son Ltd, who have again sought to find a new use for the building.

In the spring of 2023 it was announced that a local group Cannon Mill Trust CIO  had secured permission from Robinsons, who remain the owners of Cannon Mill, to carry out emergency repairs to the roof. The trust are seeking to use the building as a base from which to support young people. 

(Cannon Mill as it stands today is a nineteenth-century flour mill, created from one of the casting houses at the ironworks. Careful comparison with a large-scale plan of Smiths’ ironworks, prepared in 1788, suggests that only the east wall of the present building, which appears once to have been pierced by three large archways, was part of the casting house, and that the rest of the building is later. The memorial plaque on that wall presumably does date from 1816 (the date on it) but most of the building does, in fact, not.)

Wingerworth Hall, surviving south range (now known as Estate House)

Probably dates from 1698, altered in the 18th century. Listed grade II. Requires almost complete restoration to make it fit for habitation. 

St Andrew’s church, Barrow Hill

Important as the first major building designed by Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, then of Chesterfield, later to become nationally famous Arts & Crafts Movement architects. Despite efforts to keep the church functioning it is now redundant. No future use has yet been identified and notice to gain permission to disperse some of the contents was published in August 2022.

Despite a vigorous campaign Historic England refused to list the building some years ago. The loss of this building and the dispersal of its contents will undoubtedly be recognised as a serious loss in future years.

Duckmanton Lodge, Calow (former Civil Service Club)

Probably 18th century former farmhouse, later a members’ club. Empty for some years; an eyesore which could once again become an attractive private house. Since our view here was taken a few years ago the property has continued to deteriorate and is now much more overgrown than in this photograph.

Former cinema, High Street, Staveley

The Regal Cinema opened in April 1939 and closed in June 1966. It reopened just over a year later as the Wedgewood Cinema but closed again at the end of December 1969. A few months later it reopened as a bingo club, closing in late 2007. After refurbishment it once more reopened as the Regal Cinema – in the summer of 2010 – but closed in early 2011. It’s been vacant and unused ever since.

As part the Civic Society’s on-going work-plan we are reviewing this list. Have you any thoughts on this list or is something missing? Contact us if you have any views you would like to share.

Page last updated 19 October 2023.