AskDefine | Define derby

Dictionary Definition

derby n : a hat that is round and black and hard with a narrow brim; worn by some British businessmen [syn: bowler hat, bowler, plug hat]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Derby




  1. Any of several annual horseraces.
  2. By extension, any organized race.
  3. A bowler hat
  4. A local derby


  • Finnish: hevoskilpailu
any organized race
  • Finnish: kilpailu
bowler hat
  • Finnish: knalli




Extensive Definition

Derby (pronounced "dar-bee" /dˈɑːbɪ/) is a city in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent and is surrounded by the shire county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census the population of the borough was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407. Measured by Urban Area, Derby is the 18th largest settlement in England. A person from Derby is called a Derbian or a Derbrarian.



The City has Roman, Saxon and Viking connections. The Roman camp of 'Derventio' was probably at Little Chester/Chester Green (); The site of the old Roman fort is at Chester Green. Later the town was one of the 'Five Boroughs' (fortified towns) of the Danelaw. The popular belief is that the name 'Derby' is a corruption of the Danish and Gaelic Djúra-bý (recorded in Anglo-Saxon as Deoraby) (Village of the Deer); however some assert that it is a corruption of the original Roman name 'Derventio'. The town was also named 'Darby' or 'Darbye' on some of the oldest maps, eg. Speed's 1610 map. The city is one of the few cities that has retained a name with a Viking origin, like York, which had the Viking name Jórvík. Derby recently celebrated its 2,000th year as a settlement.
New research (throughout 2004) into the history and archaeology of Derby has provided evidence that the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons probably co-existed, occupying two areas of land surrounded by water. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 900) says that "Derby is divided by water". These areas of land were known as Norþworþig ("Northworthy", = "north enclosure") and Deoraby, and were at the "Irongate" (North) side of Derby. (Ron McKeown of Derby Heritage Development Trust has produced a recent paper on this subject.)

Middle Ages to the 18th century

During the Civil War of 1642-1646 the town was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops commanded by Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet, who was appointed Governor of Derby in 1643. These troops took part in the defence of Nottingham, the siege of Lichfield, the battle of Hopton Heath and many other engagements in Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as successfully defending Derbyshire against royalist armies.
Bonnie Prince Charlie made camp at Derby on 4 December 1745, whilst on his way south to seize the English crown. The Prince called at The George Inn on Irongate, where the Duke of Devonshire had set up his headquarters, and demanded billets for his 9000 troops. Thomas Evans' mill at Darley Abbey (1783). Other famous 18th century figures with connections to Derby include Dr Johnson, the creator of the English dictionary, who married Elizabeth Porter at St. Werburgh's Church, Derby in 1735; the painter Joseph Wright, known as Wright of Derby, who was famous for his revolutionary use of light in his paintings and was an associate of the Royal Academy; and John Whitehurst, a famous clockmaker and philosopher. Erasmus Darwin, doctor, scientist, philosopher and grandfather of Charles Darwin was also to be found in Derby and Derbyshire at much the same time, though his practice was based in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
The beginning of the next century saw Derby emerging as an engineering centre, with manufacturers such as James Fox, who exported machine tools to Russia.
In 1840, the North Midland Railway set up its works in Derby and, when it merged with the Midland Counties Railway and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway, to form the Midland Railway, Derby became its headquarters.
The connection with the railway encouraged others, notably Andrew Handyside, Charles Fox and his son Francis Fox. A list of the structures these three built reads like a "Who's Who" of famous buildings.
Derby was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and it became a county borough with the Local Government Act 1888. The borough expanded in 1877 to include Little Chester and Litchurch, and then in 1890 to include New Normanton and Rowditch. The borough did not increase substantially again until 1968, when under a recommendation of the Local Government Boundary Commission it was expanded into large parts of the rural district of Belper, Repton and South East Derbyshire. This vastly increased Derby's population from 132,408 in the 1961 census to 219,578 in the 1971 census. Despite being one of the areas of Britain furthest from the sea, Derby holds a special place in the history of marine safety - it was as MP for Derby that Samuel Plimsoll introduced his bills for a 'Plimsoll line' (and other marine safety measures). This failed on first introduction, but was successful in 1876 and contributed to Plimsoll's re-election as a deservedly popular MP.

Recent history (post 1900)

Derby was awarded city status on 7 June 1977 by Queen Elizabeth II to mark the 25th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. The Queen presented the "charter scroll" in person on July 28 1977. Until then, Derby had been one of the few towns in England with a cathedral but not city status.
Derby has a number of public parks, many Victorian in origin. Darley and Derwent Parks, lie immediately north of the city centre and are home to owls, kingfishers and a wide variety of other wildlife. There is an attractive riverside walk and cycle path from Darley Park South to two other parks. West of the city centre is Markeaton Park, while to the north is Allestree Park and its lake. Derby also has the first public recreational park in the country, the Arboretum, to the south of the city centre. The arboretum was set up by philanthropic land owner and industrialist Joseph Strutt in 1840. The arboretum's web site states that the arboretum's design was the inspiration for the vision of great urban parks in the USA, notably Central Park in New York City.
Derby holds an important position in the history of the Labour movement, because it was one of two seats (the other being Keir Hardie's in Merthyr Tydfil) gained by the recently formed Labour Representation Committee at the 1900 General Election. The MP was Richard Bell, general secretary of the Railway Servants Union. Bell was succeeded by Jimmy Thomas and he in turn by the distinguished polymath and Nobel Laureate Philip Noel-Baker.
Despite its strategic industries (rail and aero-engine), Derby suffered comparatively little wartime damage in WW1 or WW2 (contrast Bristol and Filton). This may in part have been due to the skilful jamming of the German radio-beam navigations systems (X-Verfahren and Knickelbein, camouflage and decoy techniques ('Starfish sites') were built, mainly south of the town, e.g. out in fields near Foremark (ref. Kirk, Felix & Bartnik, 2002, see talk; see also
Derby has also become a significant cultural centre for the deaf community in the UK. Many deaf people relocate to Derby because of its strong sign language-using community. It is estimated that the deaf population in Derby is at least three times higher than the national average, and that only London has a larger deaf population. The Royal School for the Deaf on Ashbourne Road used to provide education in British Sign Language and English.
More recently Derby was granted the Fairtrade City status.


By traditional definitions, Derby is the county town of Derbyshire, although Derbyshire's administrative centre has in recent years been Matlock. On 1 April 1997 Derby City Council became again a unitary authority (a status it had held, as a County Borough, up until 1974), with the rest of Derbyshire administered from Matlock. Derby has two hospitals: the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and the Derby City Hospital.


Derby is split up into 17 Wards.

Nearest settlements


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Derby at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling. includes hunting and forestry
includes energy and construction
includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


Derby's two biggest employers, Rolls-Royce plc (commonly known in the area as 'Royce's') and the Toyota Motor Corporation, are both in the engineering manufacturing trade. Egg, the Internet and telephone bank, has its national base in Derby. Other companies of note include Bombardier who manufacture train systems and aircraft, and Alstom who manufacture large power plant boilers and heat exchangers. The Qibla Cola Company also has its home in Derby, based in the Normanton area.
As already noted, Derby was for many years a significant railway centre, being the former headquarters of the Midland Railway, with both British Rail workshops and research facilities in the town. Although much less important than in years gone by, train manufacture continues in Derby and Derby station retains an important strategic role in the rail network. Moreover many major rail manufacturers retain a presence and, as reported in the Derby Evening Telegraph, the city is favoured as a possible site for a new national railway centre.
Among a number of IT houses, Derby was the home of Core Design, who developed the computer game Tomb Raider with its heroine Lara Croft.


Derby Cathedral has the second-highest cathedral tower in the country. In recent years, this has been home to a pair of breeding peregrine falcons
Derby Heritage Centre, formerly the Tudor Grammar School, told the story of Derby from Roman times till today. Unfortunately the owner, Richard Felix, has closed it so that he can focus on his television career. The Heritage Centre has now been converted into a hairdresser's salon. However the new owner has a great interest in local history and has preserved all of the building's original features.
Derby Gaol is a visitor attraction based in the dungeons of the Derbyshire County Gaol which dates back to 1756.
Derby Industrial Museum is situated in Derby Silk Mill and shows the industrial heritage and technological achievement of Derby, including Rolls-Royce aero engines, railways, mining, quarrying and foundries.
Pickford's House Museum was built by architect Joseph Pickford in 1770. It was his home and business headquarters. Derby Museum and Art Gallery shows paintings by Joseph Wright, as well as fine Royal Crown Derby porcelain, local regiments and archaeology. Pickford also designed St Helen's House in King Street.
Westfield Derby (formerly The Eagle Centre) is the city's main indoor shopping centre. It opened on 9 October 2007 after major extension work costing £340 million. It contains a brand new food court, dominated by chains, and a 12 screen cinema to be opened in spring 2008. It is already the subject of local controversy, since it has drawn trade away from the older parts of the city centre where independent shops have traditionally been located. Many have now gone out of business and others are struggling to survive. Moreover, in Westfield itself, a combination of high rents and rising rates have made it very difficult for smaller traders.
The Revive Healthy Living Centre was opened on September 22nd by actress Gwen Taylor. This centre was built to provide excellent new and exiciting health initiatives for the area known as Derwent, Chaddesden, and Breadsall. It is unique as it is run by local residents and will continue to do so. It has a unique sedum/grass roof. It is already proving to be invaluable to the local residents
Much of the skyline of the inner city changed radically in 1968 when the inner ring road with its two new crossings of the River Derwent was built. The route of the ring road went through the magnificent St. Alkmund's church and its wonderful Georgian church yard, the only Georgian square in Derby. Both were demolished to make way for the road, a move still criticised today. Thus the editor (Elizabeth Williamson) of the 2nd edition of Pevsner for Derbyshire wrote:- '...the character and cohesion of the centre has been completely altered by the replacement of a large number of C18 houses in the centre by a multi-lane road. As a traffic scheme this road is said to be a triumph; as townscape it is a disaster.'



Derby's central location in England means it has extensive transport links with other areas of the country. The M1 motorway passes about ten miles to the east of the city, linking Derby southwards to the London area and northwards to Sheffield and Leeds. Other major roads passing through or near Derby include the A6 (historically the main route from London to Carlisle, also linking to Leicester and Manchester), A38 (Bodmin to Mansfield via Bristol and Birmingham), A50 (Warrington to Leicester via Stoke-on-Trent), A52 (Newcastle-under-Lyme to Mablethorpe, including Brian Clough Way linking Derby to Nottingham) and A61 (Derby to Thirsk via Sheffield and Leeds).


As already noted, the railway has served Derby since 1840 being the junction of what were then the two main lines from London to Yorkshire and the North East. The present day station is Derby Midland with frequent expresses to London, the North East and South West, provided by East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry. There also remain small local stations at Peartree and Spondon, although services are fairly limited, especially at the former.
The Great Northern Railway's "Derbyshire and North Staffordshire Extension" formerly ran through Derby Friargate Station, from Colwick and Nottingham to Egginton Junction. After closure, part of the route west of Derby was used by British Rail as a test track. Although few traces of the route now remain, the ornate cast iron bridge by Andrew Handyside across Friargate is still in place, as is his bridge over the river.


East Midlands Airport is situated about fifteen miles (24 km) from Derby city centre, making Derby the closest city to the airport. Its proximity to Derby, the fact that the airport is in Leicestershire, and the traditional rivalry between the three cities (Derby, Leicester and Nottingham), meant that there was a great deal of controversy locally about the airport's decision to append Nottingham to its name in 2004. Later on, in 2006, Nottingham East Midlands Airport reverted to its previous name, seen by many to be a victory for both Derby and Leicester, and promoting a more unified East Midlands. The airport is served by several budget airlines, including bmibaby (for which East Midlands is a main base), Ryanair and easyJet, with services to a variety of internal and European destinations.

Bus and coach

Derby's former bus station was an innovative art deco design by borough architect C.H. Aslin. Originally built in 1933, it was closed in 2005, and subsequently demolished, despite the protests of environmentalists and conservationists. The unique cafe building is planned to be rebuilt at Crich Tramway Museum. A new bus station is set to be built on the site as part of the Riverlights development. As a result of this work, services are currently using a number of temporary stops on streets around the Morledge area.
Local bus services in and around Derby are run by a number of companies, but principally Trent Barton and Arriva Midlands. The city is not particularly well served by long distance coaches, although it is on National Express's London to Manchester and Yorkshire to the South West routes. Additionally a regional route between Manchester and Nottingham is run by Trent Barton via its TransPeak and Red Arrow services.

Culture, entertainment and sport


The annual open-air concert at Darley Park is one of the biggest free concerts of its kind. It is one of many performances given throughout the year by Sinfonia Viva, a professional chamber orchestra based in Derby. The Derby Jazz group caters for the jazz interest in the city and is regarded as one of the UK's leading live jazz organizations. There is also a summer rock music festival 'Prom in the Park' which takes place in late July every year.
The city of Derby has a burgeoning punk scene, and this is supported by many prominent punk, ska and hardcore bands playing the Vic Inn, a local biker pub. In recent years it has attracted many big names such as The Casualties, Agnostic Front, and U.K. Subs, as well as the many local punk and ska bands. Hardcore punk band, Anti-Pasti, were formed in Derby. Famous bands such as The Ordinary Boys, Snow Patrol and The View have played there. In addition to this, the Derby Punx Picnic is held annually at the Bass Recreation Ground. Here underground punk and ska bands perform late into the night. The Punx Picnic has become an event in recent years, the attendance rising from around 300 in 2005 to just over 1000 in 2006. The festival attracts punks from all over the East Midlands and the UK. In Derby there is also a thriving Jazz scene.

Theatre and arts

Derby Playhouse regularly received acclaim in the national press for its productions, particularly, in recent years, for its staging of shows by Stephen Sondheim. After a lengthy period of financial uncertainty, the theatre finally closed in February 2008.
QUAD is a new centre for art and film currently under construction in Derby. Work has commenced on the QUAD building and is due to be complete in 2008. The new building will house two cinema screens showing the best in independent and Hollywood cinema, two gallery spaces housing contemporary visual arts, a digital studio, participation spaces, digital editing suites, artists studio and the bfi Mediatheque.
The Robert Ludlam Theatre is a is a 270 seat Venue with a diverse programme of entertainment including Dance, Drama, Art, Music, Theatre in the Round, Comedy, Films, Family Entertainment, Rock and Pop Events, Workshops and provides a home for many Derbyshire’s amateur production groups.


Famous Derby sporting institutions include Derby County Football Club, who were FA Cup winners in 1946, Football League champions in 1972 and again in 1975, and are currently members of the Premier League, having been promoted as Football League Championship playoff winners in 2006-07. They have played at Pride Park Stadium since 1997, having previously based at the Baseball Ground.
Derbyshire County Cricket Club are based at the County Ground in Derby and play almost all home matches there, although matches at Chesterfield were re-introduced in 2006. One of the designated first class county sides, they have won the County Championship once, in 1936.
Derby also has clubs in both codes of rugby. In rugby union, Derby RFC play in Midlands Division Two East (the seventh level of English rugby) at their Haslams Lane ground. Rugby league team Derby City RLFC were formed in 1990 and compete in the Midlands Premier Division of the National Rugby League Conference. From 2008 they are ground sharing with Derby RFC at Haslams Lane.
The city is also represented in the English Basketball League Division One by Derby Trailblazers, who play at the Moorways Sports Centre. They were formed in 2002 following the demise of British Basketball League side Derby Storm.
Local industrialist Francis Ley introduced baseball to the town in the late 19th century, and built a stadium near the town centre. The attempt to establish baseball in Derby was unsuccessful, but the stadium survived for some 100 years afterwards as the home of Derby County Football Club. It was finally demolished in 2003, six years after Derby's relocation to Pride Park.


Derby Arboretum was the first public park in the country, and is thought to have been one of the inspirations for Central Park in New York. Although it suffered from neglect in the 1990s, it has recently undergone extensive improvement and renovation.
Markeaton Park is Derby's most used leisure facility. It is the venue for the city council's annual Guy Fawkes Night firework display and contains its own light railway. Other major parks in the city include Allestree Park, Darley Park, Chaddesden Park, Alvaston Park, Normanton Park and Osmaston Park.

Shopping and Nightlife

Shopping in Derby is divided into two main sections. The first is a recently opened Westfield shopping centre, controlled by the Westfield Group. The second is the older section known as the Cathedral Quarter. This area includes a range of boutiques and coffee shops and is focused around the Cathedral.
Many cities offer a thriving night life and Derby is no exception, dominated by a number of clubs and bars.


Like most of the UK, Derby operates a non-selective primary and secondary education system with no middle schools. Students attend infant and junior school (often in a combined primary school) before moving onto a comprehensive secondary school. Many secondaries also have sixth forms, allowing students to optionally continue their education by taking A Levels after the end of compulsory education at age 16. For those who want to stay in education but leave school, the large Derby College provides a number of post-16 courses.
Outside the state sector, there are four fee-paying independent schools. Derby Grammar School was founded in 1994 and was for boys only, until 2007, when they accepted girls into the sixth form for the first time, who aim to continue the work and traditions of the former Derby School, closed in 1989, one of the oldest schools in England; Derby High School is for girls only at secondary level and for boys at primary level; and Ockbrook School is an independent school for girls aged 3-18 and boys aged 3-11. Lastly, Micheal House Steiner school can be found in Shipley, Heanor and caters for students from kindergarten age through to 16.
Derby also has a City Academy, Landau Forte College, partially state-funded, but also with business backing. It was one of fifteen City Technology Colleges set up by a Conservative government in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it was converted into a City Academy in September 2006.
Derby also has a number of special needs establishments including Ivy House School (which takes pupils from nursery to sixth form) and The Light House which is a respite facility for children and parents.
The University of Derby is the city's university.
In 2003 the University of Nottingham opened a graduate entry medical school based in the Derby City hospital.


The Derby Evening Telegraph is the city's daily newspaper. In addition, two free newspapers, the Derby Trader and Derby Express, are delivered to households weekly. The daily freesheet 'Metro' is distributed in the city centre every morning, although this only has a very small amount of local content. Another local paper is the Derbyshire Times which is a weekly paper out every Thursday, however it mainly covers news from northern areas of the county. The Derby Echo is another, but this is only available to people who put their names down for it, and is out every week.
BBC Radio Derby, the BBC's award-winning local station for Derbyshire and East Staffordshire, is based on St. Helen's Street in the city and offers a mixture of local, national and international news, features, music and sports commentaries. It has around 150,000 weekly listeners and is available locally on 104.5 FM and 1116 AM, on 95.3 FM in North and Mid Derbyshire and on 96.0 FM in the Buxton area, as well as being streamed on the internet. The BBC in Derby also have their own local website for the area which provides news, travel and weather information, as well as other features. Since 1983 Radio Derby has organised the Money Mountain Appeal, an annual on-air charity auction which has raised more than £1 million for local causes. Since July 2007, the BBC has managed Big Screen Derby in the Market Place in conjunction with Derby City Council and the University of Derby, as part of the BBC Big Screen project.
RAM FM, the independent local radio station for Derbyshire and East Staffordshire, is also based in the city and offers a mixture of adult contemporary music and entertainment, with regular news and traffic bulletins. It broadcasts on 102.8 FM, and is also streamed on the internet, and is listened to by around 120,000 people each week. RAM FM is part of the Gcap One Network, and hosts many big local events, such as the Darley Park Concert, The City Bonfire and Fireworks, The Christmas Lights Switch On, and the Race For Life, raising money for Cancer Research UK.


Notable people

Twin cities

Along with Wigan, Derby is one of only two cities in the UK that exchanges envoys with one of its twin cities (Osnabrück).


External links

derby in Arabic: ديربي (إنجلترا)
derby in Czech: Derby
derby in Danish: Derby
derby in German: Derby (Derbyshire)
derby in Spanish: Derby
derby in Esperanto: Derby
derby in French: Derby (Angleterre)
derby in Indonesian: Derby
derby in Italian: Derby (Inghilterra)
derby in Hebrew: דרבי (עיר)
derby in Luxembourgish: Derby, England
derby in Lithuanian: Derbis
derby in Dutch: Derby (Engeland)
derby in Japanese: ダービー (イギリス)
derby in Norwegian: Derby (Derbyshire)
derby in Polish: Derby
derby in Portuguese: Derby (Reino Unido)
derby in Romanian: Derby
derby in Quechua: Derby
derby in Russian: Дерби (город)
derby in Slovak: Derby (Derbyshire)
derby in Finnish: Derby
derby in Swedish: Derby, Storbritannien
derby in Vietnamese: Derby
derby in Turkish: Derby (Şehir)
derby in Ukrainian: Дербі (місто)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, chase, flat race, handicap, handicap race, harness race, horse race, hurdle race, plate race, purse race, quarter-horse race, stake, stake race, steeplechase, sweep, sweepstake, sweepstakes, trotting raceLe Mans, Olympic games, Olympics, air race, automobile race, bicycle race, boat race, bout, concours, contest, contest of speed, cross-country race, dash, dog race, drag race, encounter, endurance race, engagement, fight, footrace, game, games, go, gymkhana, heat, hurdle race, joust, lap, marathon, marathon race, match, match race, matching, meet, meeting, motorcycle race, obstacle race, potato race, race, rally, regatta, relay, relay race, rencontre, road race, run, sack race, speedway race, sprint, sprint race, stock-car race, test, three-legged race, tilt, torch race, tournament, tourney, track race, trial, walk, yacht race
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