Unloved and Heritage Buildings at Risk

This is an attempt to build a register of buildings, locally, that we feel are important, but it does not have any statutory basis, though the buildings may, however, be listed. This means that some of them may appear on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) register of nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England.

Appearance on our list below means that we consider the buildings are important, should not be lost and measures should be taken to restore and repurpose them. They are most likely empty, or suffering from neglect and visibly deteriorating.

During the winter of 2023 and spring of 2024 we revised this list. Our thanks to members of the society and the public who contributed suggestions.

Additionally, Chesterfield Borough Council maintains a Local list of heritage assets. This was adopted by Chesterfield Borough Council on 25 October 2019  following nominations from the public and assessment against selection criteria. You can find out more about this list, its significance and search it here.

Our list

Victoria Buildings, Knifesmithgate

The first one on our list is the Victoria Centre, usually known as ‘The Vic’ to the veterans, and often mentioned in the context of the ‘Vic Verandah’. It is situated on Knifesmithgate.

Most of the individual shop units under the veranda belonging to the Victoria complex and all of the once grand cinema and entertainment centre (later nightclub and shopping area) have been empty for some time. It apparently belongs to a London property management company. Little is known of their plans. 

Our illustration above shows the building in better days – perhaps in the early 1940s. The building actually starts at the second car from left, above which you might just be able to make out ‘Victoria’. The building then extends back to the left – the sign ‘billiards’ advertised another once popular aspect of the complex.

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 empty building. Unfortunately the situation has not radically changed from that date.

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. For sometime the sole trustee (Derbyshire County Council) has taken little or no action of ensure the future of the property since the building fell empty in 2014. It is seen above in much better times, before the imposed deterioration set in.

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. We are currently told that the building will be offered for sale by auction in 2024 – but it remains empty and unused – presumably a continually deteriorating asset.

Listed grade II.

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 from 1931 to 1991, later by Chesterfield College. Owned and 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. (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. Although some have put forward options for community use, we thought (and still do) that the most viable way to ensure the integrity of this building is for conversion back to residential use – the plan proposed by Stone Castle Enterprise.

A property which has been the subject of some debate in local newspapers and social media. 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.

Listed grade II*.

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 for some months. 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. Work started on conversion March 2023, and is still in progress on the site.

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 – Martha’s Vineyard – it has been empty for several years. A fairly recent planning application – which we generally supported – was made by the owners for use a public bar, with beer garden to the rear and single storey conservatory type building to the top of the building to the left.

The whole building stands on a prominent site, on the most direct pedestrian route from Chesterfield train station to the town centre. Its renovation would certainly be welcomed.

Old Rural Council House on Saltergate (1938 build only)

The original part of the former ‘Rural Council House’ cost £21,000 and opened in March 1938, only a few weeks after the Town Hall on Rose Hill. The style and money spent on the two buildings could not be more different.

The architect was Mr EG Kington of the Chesterfield architectural practice Messrs. Houfton and Kington. Vacated by the successor authority, North East Derbyshire District Council, from 2015, for a site at Wingerworth, it now faces an uncertain future.

Permission was granted for demolition, but more recently a developer started work on conversion to apartments. But this stopped in November 2021 – it was said due the developer having to fund a community infrastructure levy, which made the project uneconomic. More recently an application for flats in the rear car park was turned down.

To the right in our photograph is a 1970s extension built following local government reorganisation. This is not included on this list.

6-8 Lordsmill Street

One of Chesterfield’s many black and white buildings. Unfortunately the building could do with a new tenant and some TLC. This building is not listed.

9 Beetwell Street – former Hall’s gun shop (and adjacent propertIES)

Many will remember this (the white rendered property) as Hall’s Gun Shop. We are concerned that the building looks as though it has been out of use for some time and is looking increasingly neglected. It is an important building in the town and is said to date back into the late 16th and early 17 centuries. The interior has exposed ceiling beams and panelling. There is a large carriageway arch which leads to a courtyard, which also appears neglected.

List grade II*.

Next door numbers 11 (part pictured), 13 and 15 – grade II listed buildings likely of Georgian origin – are also of concern to us.

Former Congregational chapel schoolroom, Chatsworth Road

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

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. 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.

Listed grade II*.

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

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

Listed grade II.

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 an 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. In spring 2024 it was also reported that a small fire had been started within the premises.

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.

St John the Baptist Church, Staveley TOWN CENTRE

This important building – the grade II* parish church for Staveley – had a lead theft to the roof some time ago. A temporary covering was installed but we understand that it now leaks and is presumably putting the building fabric beneath it at risk.

The church has 13th to 15th century fabric, with a chapel of the 17th century and chancel clerestory, restored and enlarged 1865-69.

Lychgate St John the Baptist Church, STAVELEY TOWN CENTRE

The unlisted lychgate at the entrance to the churchyard has missing stone slates which require repairing or replacing before the structure suffers too much more water ingress.

Former school rooms, adjacent to St John the Baptist Church, STAVELEY TOWN CENTRE

These former school rooms are adjacent to the parish church at Staveley. They date from 1844 and were probably designed by Joseph Paxton. They are now mostly empty apart from one tenant. A viable use needs to be established for them before decay sets in.

Listed grade II.

Former Elm Tree pub High Street Staveley.

This formerly popular public house as been left vacant for some years and is subject to vandalism and arson attacks. There is a planning application for flats – believed to be for low-cost units – but the building is run-down and needs urgent attention.

Garden Walls at Staveley Hall

There are the remains of a formal garden which were the subject of a dig a few years ago. There may be a trust being formed to progress restoration.

Listed grade II.

Removals from our 2024 list

There have, thankfully, been some removals from the last version of our list – as progress has been made towards, or restoration has actually been accomplished on those listed below.


Originally built in the 1930s for the Chesterfield & Bolsover Water Board, latterly used as the 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. This well-designed public building that merited retention, was restored in 2023.


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. Like Walton Mills it is owned by Robinson & Son Ltd, who 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, to carry out emergency repairs to the roof. The trust have subsequently launched a fund raising appeal and released details of their plans for restoration and repurposing. We thought that as plans to achieve this were advancing the building should be removed for our at risk list.

(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.)

Listed grade II.


The society had previously expressed its concern about various aspects of recent works at Dunston Hall. We have, however, been reassured following a visit by the society’s committee to the premises in late April 2024.

Most recently (2023/4) work has included restoring the two grade II listed ranges of outbuildings, which include remains of a cruck-framed structure probably dating from when the Hall was built c.1600.

Both the main hall, the cruck building and another former farm out-building are listed grade II.

Read more about our visit here.


This building was never actually placed on our list so is, strictly speaking, not a removal from it. Currently the subject of a fund raising bid by Chesterfield Studios for an arts centre. After it was closed as a place of worship during the first quarter of 2024 it was subjected to work making it watertight. A funding bid has also been launched for conversion into an arts centre. All this occurred during the time our revised list – published here – was launched. Find out more about the fund raising bid here (opens an external website). There is a Civic Society blue plaque on the building.

Listed grade II.

One that sadly got away

DEMOLISHED – ‘PEEL HOUSE’ – Former courthouse and police station, brimington road and malkin street

An example of when good buildings can still get demolished – permission was not required when this property succumbed in the early part of 2024. Nor was it listed – even as a heritage asset of local significance. It is pictured above, with demolition in progress.

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 as facings, having stonework from Darley Dale.

You can read more about the society’s reaction to this building being demolished here.

It had been empty and uncared for over a number of years. We were intending to add it to this list and campaign for its restoration and repurposing – but demolition means that this building is now lost.

Further information

Visit our on-line resources page for more information on Chesterfield and district buildings, our blue plaques scheme and our older society newsletters.

View Chesterfield Borough Council’s Local list of heritage assets.

Search the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) register of nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England.

English Heritage maintain a national Heritage at Risk Register, but this only includes Grade I and II* listed buildings at risk including places of worship.

Page last updated 21 May 2024.