Chesterfield - Derbyshire’s ‘second city’
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 February 2020
Matthew Jones Photography
A great history and splendid modern developments are creating an exciting place to live and visit.
There is something for everyone in and around Chesterfield - from museums, heritage sites, pretty villages, stately homes and splendid countryside to a great range of shops, good hospitals and schools that perform well.
The town has its roots in Roman times when it was the site of a fort along Icknield or Ryknild Street - the Roman road between the Fosse Way at Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire and Templeborough near Rotherham in Yorkshire. No doubt even then it became a trading centre for the adjacent mining areas that were producing iron and lead. Chesterfield's charter of incorporation as a free borough - with two weekly markets and a fair - was granted by King John in 1204 and regular weekly markets have been held ever since.
The town developed rapidly as an industrial centre during the 19th century and the arrival of 'Father of the Railways' George Stephenson set the seal on its progress. Its enviable transport links are still an important factor in attracting businesses to the area today, although the town has remained surrounded by some of the most lovely and unspoilt countryside in the county.
The crooked spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints is one of the country's greatest architectural curiosities and is a focal point in the town. The redevelopment of the town centre was completed in 1981 and provided greatly improved shopping facilities while enhancing the character and appearance of the streets and cobbled Market Place. In more recent times, the opening of a Tourist Information Centre, Leisure Centre, Pavements shopping centre and the refurbishment of the Market Hall, Winding Wheel and Pomegranate Theatre - with newly installed state-of-the-art cinema - have provided something to suit the most diverse interests. New housing, hotels, leisure facilities and business developments at Chesterfield Waterside, the Northern Gateway, Markham Vale and Peak: Gateway, Resort, Campus are taking the town further forward into the 21st century. Combine all this with Chesterfield's enduring sense of community and strong character, and the town is sure to remain a great place to live and visit well into the future.