Derby 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, a Derbrarian, or a Derbanite.
The City has Roman, Saxon and Viking connections. The Roman camp of Derventio was probably at Little Chester/Chester Green (grid reference SK353375); 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 Tower of Derby Cathedral, England's third tallest (Anglican) cathedral church tower.
The popular belief is that the name Derby is a corruption of the Danish and Gaelic Djura-by (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. Speeds 1610 map. Derby recently celebrated its 2,000th year as a settlement.
New research (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 Norworkig (Northworthy north enclosure) and Deoraby, and were at the Irongate (North) side of Derby . (Ron Mc Keown of Derby Heritage Development Trust has produced a paper on this subject.)
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.
CrossCountry is a train operating company, the brand name of XC Trains Limited owned by Arriva, that has operated Great Britain Cross Country rail franchise since 11 November 2007. The franchise was formed through the amalgamation of most of the former Cross Country franchise previously held by Virgin Trains (which consisted of inter city services that do not terminate in London) with some of the longer distance routes (including some former Central Citylink services) operated by the former Central Trains.
he Midland Counties Railway was originally proposed to connect the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway to Leicester because of competition to supply coal. However, with the existing canal network, and the navigability of the River Trent to Nottingham, there had been few people willing to invest.
On the other hand, although the River Derwent flowed from Derby into the Trent, navigation was not easy. The Derby Canal had been opened in 1793 but, due to financial restrictions placed on it by Parliament, and the complex local politics of the day it had not been a resounding success.
Thus the financiers in Derby vigorously supported any scheme which would bring a railway to the town. George Hudson was chairman of the York and North Midland Railway, a proposed line from York towards the industrial markets of Manchester and Liverpool.