South Derbyshire District Council - Design 
and Heritage.    South Derbyshire District Council
    Design and Heritage

    A project partner of
    Sharpe's Heritage and Arts Trust Ltd

The Area

The district of South Derbyshire covers an area of approximately 33,000 hectares (112 square miles), with the city of Derby to the north, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire to the west and Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire to the east. The District has a population of about 80,000, which is steadily rising. The most populous part of the district is the Swadlincote urban area, with a population of about 30,000.

Almost a quarter of The National Forest lies within the boundaries of South Derbyshire.

South Derbyshire has a rich and diverse heritage based on:

Large country estates including:


Potteries and collieries found on the clay and coal deposits of the area, particularly in Swadlincote, Church Gresley and Ticknall;

The 18th century "inland port" of Shardlow, occupying a strategic position on the Trent Navigation and the Trent and Mersey Canal;

Market gardening and the manufacture of silk gloves, boots and shoes at Melbourne.

There are over 700 listed buildings in South Derbyshire and 22 Conservation Areas. The District Council employs a Design and Conservation Officer, and a Heritage Officer.

The Design and Conservation Officer advises and negotiates on applications made to the District Council Planning Department concerning Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas and manages proposals for the preservation and enhancement of Conservation Areas. The Design and Conservation Officer also gives advice, on request, concerning appropriate materials and repair techniques for historic building work.

The Heritage Interpretation Strategy

In 1995, the District Council set up a Heritage and Arts Committee originating in the concern over the rapid loss of colliery and pottery buildings in the urban area, which were once its most distinctive features. It was felt that the District's heritage deserved to be better understood, enjoyed and appreciated, so a Heritage Interpretation Strategy was compiled as a guiding tool for the Heritage Officer, who was appointed in August 1998.

From the outset, South Derbyshire District Council has been aware of the work already done by voluntary groups on the heritage front, some of which shared and influenced the Council's wish to develop a facility where heritage and arts could more easily be explored by the general public. In the search for suitable premises, Sharpe's Pottery was found to be ideal. The buildings are a familiar landmark, centrally located, convenient to services and public transport, of historic interest, and in urgent need of repair and a new use. The Sharpe's Pottery Heritage and Arts Trust Ltd was formed in 1999 as a governing body, and close working partner to the Council, owning the 125 year lease of the listed buildings.

The District Council intends to use part of the premises at Sharpe's for further implementation of the Heritage Interpretation Strategy, by holding small exhibitions and hosting lectures there, for example. The Design and Heritage Team has various resources which may be of use to local groups and historic researchers. These include:

Most of these records may be inspected by arrangement with the Heritage Officer, telephone 01283 595936 or +44 (0)1283 595936 from outside the UK. In addition, the Heritage Officer will be pleased to help with enquiries concerning:

"South Derbyshire Heritage News" is produced by the Heritage Officer around April, August and December each year. A copy of this free newsletter will be included with the information sent to "Friends of Sharpe's Pottery Museum".

Other websites which may be of interest:

The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, generally known as the Historical Manuscripts Commission - promotes the U K's archival inheritance.
The Countryside Agency - Working for people and places in rural England.
A Winter Wassail on the Swadlincote Woodlands Site, January 2000 - an Environmental Education Project.