Thursday 24 February 2022

Derby Cathedral Tour (Review Visit with Visit Derby)

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Derby Tourist Board and Visit Derby, reviewing some of Derby's excellent cultural attractions. Included in the trip was a pre-booked tour of Derby Cathedral, which is obviously usually free to visit for anyone, although tours and Tower Climbs usually incur a fee. 

Derby Cathedral view from Irongate with glorious sunshine and flag at full mast

I'm originally from Derby, and this visit was particularly nostalgic for me. I actually sang in Derby Cathedral as a child several times, including Silent Night in German when I was a 7 year old Brownie, and at countless Christingle services. It is  beautiful Cathedral full of light, which is evident as soon as you step inside. 

Interior of Derby Cathedral from main entrance down main aisle

Our party were due to go on a Tower Climb, which is 189 steps and beyond me, so I concentrated on ground level. I was a bit disappointed because I know how amazing the view is, I remember it from 40 years ago! I went up the tower as a child with my parents, who were involved with Derby Mountain Rescue Team - members of whom brought me down the outside of the tower by abseil. It was the 70's, health and safety was different back then... 

Derby Cathedral inside view looking out towards front entrance

Thankfully there is still plenty to see without using stairs, and the main body of the cathedral is flat, so accessible to people using wheelchairs or other walking aids. The gorgeous wrought-iron chancel screen was manufactured by local ironsmith Robert Bakewell, and features lots of decorations with relevance to Derby's history. Don't forget to look up - this may not be the Sistine Chapel, but it still has an impressive ceiling.  

Altar Derby Cathedral showing decorated ceiling above

Altar in Derby Cathedral showing decorated ceiling above

Raised wooden pulpit in Derby Catchedral

As a child I found the raised wooden pulpit and the golden eagle lectern very imposing and grand. And I assumed the entire lectern was made of real gold. I know better now... 

Decorated gold eagle lectern in Derby Cathedral

There is a gorgeous motif of the 'Buck in the Park' which I really couldn't photograph in the light, but if you visit, don't miss it... 

Decorated fretwork in derby cathedral Bene Consulendo

Fancy chair which is about 15 feet high in Derby Cathedral

There are of course many memorials, tombstones and other reminders of famous Derby characters, some of which have been moved here from elsewhere, as other churches made way for modern buildings and roads. 

Bess of Hardwick alabaster effigy in huge ornate surround

The alabaster monument to Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, or Bess of Hardwick as she is more affectionately known. 

Caroline Daughter of William Cavendish of Derby in Derby Cathedral

Caroline Daughter of William Cavendish of Derby

Decorative wall plaques and memorials in Derby Cathedral

The centre plaque to Florence Nightingale is a recent addition. Her family came from nearby. 

Decorative wall display plaques Derby Cathedral

Major Robert Gordon, Barrister Daniel Parker Coke and Surgeon Henry Haden in Derby Cathedral

Plaques in remembrance of famous Derby benefactors Major Robert Gordon, Barrister Daniel Parker Coke and Surgeon Henry Haden

Mary Elisabeth Chichester memorial plaque

Memorial to Thomas and Margaret Chambers in Derby Cathedral

Above is the memorial to Thomas and Margaret Chambers in Derby Cathedral, below is the tombstone to one of Derby's most world-famous residents, the artist Joseph Wright. Somehow it seems far too plain a memorial leaning against the wall there...

Artist Joseph Wright's tombstone in Derby Cathedral

Richard Bateman esquire's memorial stone is potentially the complete opposite of Joseph Wright's. 

Richard Bateman esquire memorial in Derby Cathedral shows a woman mourning

Finally, and definitely not least, one of my favourite objects, a memorial whose owner escapes me. Maybe if I was better at reading latin? I can tell you that the memorial was bought at the care and expense of T.O. Bateman... 

Etched wooden memorial for a Monk in Derby Cathedral. The artwork looks incredibly cartoony and modern, but it is not.

Derby Cathedral is a beautiful place to visit, and not at all like you may imagine old religious buildings to be. The site was first a religious structure in 943. The main body of the building was rebuilt in 1725, in the period known as the enlightenment, and light was incredibly important - and it was used well. 

Throughout the warmer months Derby Cathedral have regular tours up the tower for people over age 8 - book on the website or in person to avoid disappointment, and wear a jacket because you will be on the roof! 

My trip was arranged by Visit Derby and Culture Derby - as part of the bid for Derby to be named a very worthy 'City Of Culture 2025'. You can find lots of photos on my Visit Derby Instagram highlights and grid posts, and see what else we got up to by looking at my other 'Visit Derby' posts

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