Previously a Grade II Listed Building:
The frontage of Derby Church House suggests that it was built in the second half of the C18 but the high
parapet disguises an earlier structure which had a façade on the original building line about two feet behind the present one. The extensive north cross wing was probably added in the early decades of the C19, and the double-pile south cross-wing may have been built around the same time. The house was in the occupation of the Rev Charles Stead Hope in the late C18, and then became the offices of Barber and Co, Solicitors, and later of the Currey family, solicitors in the later C19 and early C20. The Curreys were the solicitors and agents to the 6th and 7th Dukes of Devonshire. The Ordnance Survey maps of 1882, 1901 and 1914 show that it adjoined an inn on its south side. The inn was demolished in 1940 and the scar of its gable end is visible in the brickwork of Derby Church House. The building is first labelled ‘Church House’ on the 1914 OS map. Church Houses were pre-Reformation forerunners of the church hall, maintained by churchwardens for parish festivities, although latterly the name can signify a house owned by a church, especially when it is next to a church, in which social events, meetings etc connected with the church are held.
Derby Church House has been subject to numerous changes over the years which have altered its façade and plan form. An early photograph shows a central pedimented doorcase containing an arched opening and a shop front to the two right-hand bays, both of which have since been removed. In the front range, the south party wall of the central hall has been removed, as has the staircase, and the rooms either side have been partitioned. The north room on the first floor has also been partitioned. The rear cross wings have been similarly remodelled, and a long skylight has been inserted on the west side of the south cross wing. In 1977 when the building was first listed, it was described as being cement rendered and having a continuous sill band. A photograph from c1950 shows the render with applied window surrounds and doorcase. A rear extension was added in the 1980s, and the building is now (2017) used as offices for the Diocese of Derby.
Mid- to late C18 house, with an earlier core, with cross wings probably dating to the early C19.
MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond on the façade and Flemish garden wall bond on the cross wings with brick dressings and slate roof covering.
PLAN: the single-pile front range faces west onto Queen Street and has a long north cross wing and a
double-pile south cross wing facing onto Full Street. A late C20 extension adjoins the rear of the south cross wing.
EXTERIOR: the two-storey, five-bay front range has a roof which is hipped on the north end and set back behind a moulded stone-coped parapet. It has a symmetrical façade with a stone plinth and a brick string course above the first-floor windows. In the slightly recessed central bay, the six-panel front door with moulded panels, which is not original, is set within a rebuilt doorway with a rebuilt gauged brick arch. The fenestration consists of six-over-six pane sashes, none of which are C18 in date, with stone sills and gauged brick arches. The first-floor window in the last bay has a soldier arch lintel. The brickwork in the last two ground-floor bays is of recent date. The right return is lit by a narrow C20 window in a brick surround with a roll moulding and a stone lintel. The scar of the gable end of the former adjoining inn (demolished) is visible in the brickwork, as are the ends of four bridging beams, two on each floor. A small window in the gable head lights the roof space. The left return wall is blind.
The two-storey south cross wing has an M-shaped roof. This is hipped at the west end of the south roof to accommodate a large gabled roof-light which lights an internal corridor. The brickwork shows signs of much historic repair and the three windows – two at ground-floor and one at first-floor level – are C20 in date. Adjoining this is a large late C20 extension of two storeys, constructed of red brick. The five-bay north cross wing is larger than the front range. It is of three storeys with a low stone plinth and shallow pitched roof hidden behind a stone-coped parapet. The first bay (from the left) is chamfered. The fenestration I predominantly six-over-six pane sashes with square heads under cambered brick arches. Larger windows in the second and fourth bays on the ground floor and the fourth bay on the first floor consist of paired sashes divided by a panelled square pilaster with a wooden lintel in the form of a moulded cornice. There is a four-panel door in the first bay which has two glazed upper panels and a cambered brick arch, and a four-panel door with moulded panels between the fourth and fifth bays which is set in a Grecian-style stone doorcase with plain jambs and frieze and moulded cornice. The east gable end has a vertical plank door and is lit on each floor by a sash window similar to those on the north elevation.
INTERIOR: this has been remodelled resulting in the partial loss of the building’s original plan form and its joinery, fixtures and fittings. In the front range, the south party wall of the hall on the ground floor has been removed and the rooms either side have been partitioned. There are suspended ceilings but a gap reveals a moulded ceiling cornice, and the internal moulded window frames remain. These also survive on the first floor with two sets of window shutters. These rooms have also been remodelled but retain two six-panel doors, a moulded ceiling cornice, and a simple timber chimneypiece with a blocked fireplace. The principal rafter roof with through purlins has been modified and strengthened.
In the north-west corner of the north cross wing, there is a newel stair with a straight flight which has a closed string and an elegant ramped handrail supported by slender turned balusters along the newel and stick balusters along the straight flight. The panelled soffit has been removed, leaving only a fragment attached to the newel post. A rib vault with a circle at the centre is located in the opposite corner of the staircase hall. The internal moulded window frames and one set of folding shutters remain. On the first floor there is a two-panel door with L-hinges, some delicately moulded doorframes, and a similar ceiling cornice in one of the rooms. In the long corridor running east-west, there are two pointed arch openings and a fanlight with radiating glazing bars above a door. The brick barrel-vaulted cellar has shelving for wine storage.
Books and journals
Craven, M, The Derby Town House, (1987)
Craven, Maxwell, Inns and Taverns of Derby , (1992).'