Research 1 related to the Walk 1
(By Nisha Widanapathirana)
The Arboretum Park in the city of Derby is the first public park gifted in 1840 to the people of Derby as a thank you by philanthropist, industrialist and former mayor of Derby, Joseph Strutt. The park was officially handed over to Derby Town Council on Wednesday 16th September 1840.
Joseph Strutt wanted to create a public open place for his workers to enjoy. By doing this he removed an invisible socio-economic boundary at a time in mid-19th century that saw England wake up to a turbulent period in history, making it a strongest colonial power, marking several visible and invisible boundaries globally. Strutt’s vision was to create landscaped walkways with over 1000 species of trees and plants.
Strutt commissioned John Claudius Loudon to design the park. Loudon created a park with concealed walkways and constructed mounds with shrubs and trees giving the impression of seclusion and blurring of boundaries of the park.
DID YOU KNOW?
What’s Derby got in common with New York?
Apart from both being vibrant cities and cultural melting pots, Derby has one claim to fame when it comes to one of New York’s most famous landmarks. In fact, the Arboretum Park was one of the inspirations for the creation of New York’s Central Park, which was based upon the design of the Arboretum in Derby.
Over the years the Arboretum has incorporated a variety of buildings, statues and ornaments.
1) The Florentine Boar:
Perhaps the best known locally is the Florentine Boar statue, which was originally placed on the site in 1806, when the land was Joseph Strutt’s private garden. Strutt had commissioned William John Coffee, a Crown Derby sculptor, to make an earthenware copy of the bronze statue which he had seen when he once visited the Mercato Nuovo (New Market) in central Florence, Italy.
W.J. Coffee’s copy of the boar was originally set in Joseph Strutt’s garden at Thorntree House, before becoming a popular attraction in the park. The Boar suffered long term weather damage. By the late 1920s it was in a pretty sorry state, in 1934 it underwent a complete refurbishment. The earthenware boar remained in place after the creation of the Arboretum until it was damaged (actually decapitated) during a German air raid on Derby on 15 January 1941.
2) Grove Street Lodge and Grand Entrance:
The lodge was designed by Edward Buckton Lamb (1806-69), a British architect once labelled as “a rogue Gothic revivalist”. The lodge was completed in 1840 and is now a Grade II-listed building. It was the Main Entrance Lodge until 1850 and once the curator’s residence. The entrance itself was completed in 1843 and formed the northern termination point for the north-south “Broad Walk”. Grove Street, beyond the replica gates, has been converted into a cul-de-sac (a street or passage closed at one end) that terminates behind the gates.
3) Central Fountain:
The central fountain is at the intersection of two principal paths in the Arboretum with houses on Leonard Close in the distance. The fountain is described as being supported on square stone base and having a broad lower cast iron basin with a central circular shaft – with foliate decorations – supporting a smaller upper cast iron basin that contains a vertical triple-decker fountain spout. English Heritage suggests that it was manufactured by R. Blore of Derby (c.1850) whereas Derby City Council says on its nearby plaque that it was designed by A. Handyside of Derby in 1845. However, no matter who designed it the fact remains, according to the plaque, that whilst the lower basin is original, the stem and upper basin are replicas.
4) East Lodge Entrance:
At the south-westerly end of Arboretum Square stands the formal East Lodge entrance to the Arboretum with a statue and an engraved tribute to Joseph Strutt above it. Public access to the park from this very grandiose road is via a gate seen in the centre of the picture. The houses surrounding the Square appear to be privately owned.
5) The Orangery:
A stone-paved forecourt area enclosed by an Orangery type arcade with a new clock looking out across the Arboretum. There are plans to recreate an Orangery within it, although at present it is being used for arts and craft sessions. The clock sits on top of the East Lodge with a statue of Joseph Strutt facing in the other direction, i.e. towards Arboretum Square on the other side of it, as do the three bays that form this very formal entrance. On a day-to-day basis the public access the park through a side gate beyond the information board on the left.