Although the Evans and Strutt Families are associated with Darley Abbey and Belper respectively, the two families were intermarried early on in the development of the respective mill complexes.
The Evans Story
The Evans family of Darley Abbey and the Strutt family of Belper owned open spaces to the south of Darley Abbey.
Walter Evans was the son of Thomas Evans, founder of the Darley Abbey Mills, and he married Elizabeth Strutt, daughter of Jedidiah Strutt, founder of the Belper Mills, in 1785.
Barbara Evans was the daughter of Thomas Evans, and she married William Strutt, son of Jedediah Strutt in 1793.
Coinciding with the building of the Darley Abbey Mills (1782), Thomas Evans built their first family house, Darley House, on the hillside overlooking the Mills. The house was set in a 23 acre ornamental park, which included what is now Nutwood Nature Reserve. When the Evans family died out, the house and surrounding lands were sold, in 1931, to Derby Corporation and by 1934 the house and grounds had gone. The land was cleared for development and houses on Church Lane were built opposite St Matthews Church.
Darley Abbey Mills
In 1835, Samuel Evans, bought Darley Hall and the surrounding Park (see FoDOS Newsletter Sep/Oct 2007), and this became the main residence of the Evans Family until the death of the last remaining family member, Ada Evans, in1929. The estate was sold off in 1931 and the Hall and surrounding 40 acres of Parkland was donated to Derby Borough Council – this is now Darley Park.
Thomas William Evans owned Allestree Hall until his death in 1892. Eventually the house and surrounding parkland was purchased by Derby Borough Council in 1946, the parkland becoming Allestree Park.
The Strutt Story
As described above, the Evans and Strutt families were joined by marriage. Although the Strutts are traditionally associated with Belper, they owned property and land in Derby. Jedediah and his son William built and operated textile mills in Derby.
Jedediah Strutt 1726 - 1797
From 1800 William Strutt owned St Helen’s House and the large estate associated with it. On an 1899 map of Derby an area stretching between both ends of Belper Road and bounded by Duffield Road and Darley Grove is identified as Strutts Park. This map shows a projected street pattern, some of which was eventually built on and some which was never developed. The undeveloped land is referred to as Strutt Park. Some if not all of this parkland area seems to have acquired the name of Derwent Park, but it is not clear to the author where the boundaries are – any clarification?
Joseph Strutt gave Derby “Arboretum” in 1840.
© This summary was compiled by Roy Hartle for use by Darley and Nutwood LNR
Roy Hartle is Chairman of the Darley Abbey Historical Group.
To join, phone Roy on 01332 557597.