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Monument record MDR9708 - River Gardens, Belper

Type and Period (4)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Edwardian to 21st Century - 1905 AD to 2050 AD)
  • (Edwardian to 21st Century - 1905 AD to 2050 AD)
  • (Mid 20th Century to 21st Century - 1966 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The site is shown on the 1st edition 25" OS map as 'osier beds'. (1) The River Gardens were built in 1905 by the Belper Boating Association on an old osier bed. The land was given by G. Herbert Strutt, who was chairman of the association. (2) The River Gardens at Belper, a public pleasure garden laid out by the River Derwent in 1905 by Herbert Strutt, were added to the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens in December 1997. (3) The Band Stand in the River Gardens was built in 1906 and is Grade II listed. (4) The site of River Gardens in the 19th century comprised a long tongue of land, essentially a mud bank island, of about two acres. It was separated from the river bank by the head-race to the first Strutt Mill of 1776 and had attained its form by 1820. From then it was used as an osier bed for baskets in the mill. In 1905 the land was granted to the Boating Association for a Boating Station, with the rights to use the river for a three mile stretch up to Ambergate. In Herbert Strutt's opening speech he stated that he hoped that 'in time to come this osier bed will be developed into something of the nature of an arboretum'. Work began soon after, with landscaping, paths, a bandstand area and a permanent refreshment building. The most interesting piece of landscaping was the transformation into a water garden of the old mill lade, to create a feature that was highly fashionable at that time. The Belper River Gardens were opened on Easter Monday 1906. Due to the crowds that were attracted to the gardens, work continued with dredging operations to create a wide promenade on the river side, while additional features were created within the gardens, including a fountain set in a rockwork pool, constructed by the firm of Pulham & Sons. Further improvements were made in the early 20th century and the River Gardens continued to be well maintained and used, particularly by mill workers. However, with the decline of the cotton industry in the 1950s, the English Sewing Cotton Company offered the gardens to the District Council. They declined, and continued to do so until 1966. A landscape survey was carried out in 2001 prior to extensive restoration of the River Gardens. (5).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Barrass, A.. 1994. Belper. Looking into the Past.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. Part 10: Derbyshire. PG4030.
  • <4> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1109214.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Parklands Consortium Ltd. 2001. River Gardens, Belper. Preliminary Historic Landscape Appraisal. Vols I and II..



Grid reference Centred SK 3468 4822 (160m by 219m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2553

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 28 2022 2:09PM

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