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Building record MDR11692 - Pyms Solicitors, Bridge Foot, Belper

Type and Period (3)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1792 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1792 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1792 AD? to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

The earliest known reference to this building is in a legal document, in private possession, which reveals that the land it stands on was acquired by the Strutts in 1791. It is a reasonable assumption that it was built soon after. The building is depicted on a Strutt Estate map (a working document) of 1805-1818 (Derbyshire Record Office D 1564/3) where it is shown as having a simple rectangular plan, without the later additions evident today, slightly set back from, and at right angles to, the part of Bridge Street which came to be known as Bridgefoot. There is a small building besides but detached from it to the west and at the far (western) end of the plot is another, larger building. The next known reference is its inclusion in the Belper Tithe Award of 1844 (Derbyshire Record Office 2360 3/98b). Its appearance on the Tithe Award map is much as its depiction on the 1805-1818 map. It is recorded as being in the ownership of W G and J Strutt and occupied by Josh. Pym senior. 19th century directories reveal that Joseph Pym of Bridge Street had a variety of official and administrative roles, which accumulated over time, including Constable of Belper and Clerk to the Magistrates. The firm of Pyms Solicitors continues to operate from the property to the present day and it remains in the ownership of the Pym family. The building is still quite recognisably the one shown on the 1805-1818 Strutt Estate map, but it has been extended northwards and eastwards, probably very early in the 19th century. It is constructed of finely tooled gritstone with a Welsh slate roof and brick chimney stacks. The original building was clearly designed to have a south facing garden front. The original doorway in the front elevation of the original building has been carefully closed up and the ground floor windows have probably been enlarged, perhaps when the extension was added. The original plan form and most internal features survive, including the original staircase, panelled doors, fireplaces and a purpose built strong room that might have been a former rifle store or armoury for the mills. A vaulted cellar runs under the rear of the building. Although almost certainly built as a dwelling the building served in part as an office and armoury from very early on and no doubt the extension was added to accommodate its developing function as an administrative base. Nevertheless, it still retains the character of a middle status house and this is largely due to the survival of its historic garden, which includes a sunken lawn set within low boundary walls, a large yew tree that is almost certainly one of the trees shown on the map of 1805-1818, and hollies that may also date back to the earliest days of the property. The footbridge (of 1795), the North Mill (of 1805), and Pyms are the only buildings to survive at Bridgefoot from the first phase of Strutt's milltown development. (1)

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Joyce, B. 2004. Pyms Solicitors, Bridgefoot, Belper.



Grid reference Centred SK 34552 47945 (50m by 29m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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