To the untrained eye, Derby is just a city with no real significance save for having a football team that -once upon a time- dominated the English Premier League. However, closer scrutiny will reveal a lot more than what meets the eye. With a population short of 300 000, it may not be as big as some of the metropolitan cities like London, Manchester or Liverpool but it is a city with an adorable history, a defined culture, riveting architectural brilliance and a plethora of places of interest to visit.
A Brief History
Originally established as a Roman camp in the early years of the 1st century AD, Derby was a strategic river garrison that served the military interests of the first Roman settlers. However, with the gradual passage of time, control came to be vested in the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, who shared the territory during a time of peaceful coexistence. From that alone it’s fair to say that’s how today it is a place that exhibits a rare kind of cultural diversity. In the centuries to follow, Derby would be one of the many English towns that would set the stage for the great Industrial Revolution.
It’s easy to dismiss Derby as yet another town built on the foundations of the Industrial revolution -and there’s truth to that- but a lot lies beneath the surface. The world famous Rolls-Royce car manufacturing company opened its doors to Derby residents in 1907. A few years down the line and the “Wireless Club” engineered a pathway to one of the first pioneer radio stations in the county. As if that wasn’t enough, Britain would unveil its first passenger diesel locomotive in 1947. Though it was only granted city status in 1977, it had already established itself as a political stronghold of the Labour movement at the cusp of the 20th century.
There’s a decent array of shopping centres sprawled across the city to delight even the occasional urbanite. Derby is divided into three distinct shopping areas: St Peters Quarter, the Cathedral Quarter and the Intu Derby Shopping Mall. The two former shopping districts are not just famed for their high rise cathedrals and medieval sense of character, but they’re reasonably priced as far as produce and hardware are concerned. There are boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, a busy marketplace and a number of museums. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as Derby is a place of artistic significance as well.
Home to several rock and pop band greats, it has a respectable history of hosting orchestras and concerts, whilst at the same time exhibiting a sweet tooth for theatre. So from time to time you should find solace in attending shows at the Hairy Dog, Ryan’s Bar, The Flowerpot and Victoria Inn.