AskDefine | Define Chesterfield

Dictionary Definition



1 suave and witty English statesman remembered mostly for letters to his son (1694-1773) [syn: Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope]
2 an overstuffed davenport with upright armrests
3 a fitted overcoat with a velvet collar

Extensive Definition

Chesterfield is a historic market town and local government district in Derbyshire, a county in England. It lies north of Derby, on a confluence of the rivers Rother and Hipper. Including Staveley, the population (2001) is 100,879, although the town itself is 70,260. It is Derbyshire's largest town (Derby itself being a city), although the county town of Derbyshire is Matlock in the Derbyshire Dales. Around 250,000 people live in the immediate area nearby including Dronfield, Bolsover, Staveley, Shirebrook and Clay Cross. It is located on the A61, fairly close to the M1 (via the A617 to junction 29).


The town received its market charter in the year 1204 from King John and around two hundred and fifty stalls can still be found in the town centre every Monday, Friday and Saturday. A flea market takes place each Thursday.
Chesterfield benefited greatly from the building of the Chesterfield Line - part of the Derby to Leeds railway (North Midland Line), which was begun in 1837 by George Stephenson. During its construction, a sizeable seam of coal was discovered during the construction of the Clay Cross Tunnel. This and the local ironstone were promptly exploited by Stephenson who set up a company in Clay Cross to trade in the minerals.
During his time in Chesterfield, Stephenson lived at Tapton House, and remained there until his death in 1848. He is interred in Trinity Church. In 2006, a statue of Stephenson was erected outside Chesterfield railway station. Chesterfield is perhaps best known for the "Crooked Spire" of its Church of Saint Mary and All Saints and is why the local football team is known as The Spireites. The spire is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 9 feet 6 inches from its true centre. The leaning characteristic is believed to be the result of the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death had been gone only twelve years prior to the spire's completion), insufficient cross-bracing, and the use of unseasoned timber. There have been other explanations: One is that the spire was so shocked to learn of the marriage of a virgin in the church that it bent down to get a closer look. Should this happen again, it is said that the spire will straighten and return to its true position. Another is that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shoed the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. However it is now believed that the bend began when the original wooden roof tiles were replaced by heavier slate and lead. The bend in the spire (the twist being deliberate) follows the direction of the sun and has been caused by heat expansion and a weight it was never designed for (as explained to us by curators at the Chesterfield Museum). There is also no record of a bend until after the slate change. An interesting point is that the spire is not attached to the church building but is kept on by its own weight.
A new landmark was planned to be erected on the outskirts of the town - the Solar Pyramid, which would have been built by the side of the M1 at Poolsbrook. Work on the 'sculpture', which would have been the largest in the UK, commenced late Summer 2007 and was expected to be completed by mid-2008. This sculpture has now been cancelled due to a lack of funds.
Chesterfield's current boundaries date from April 1, 1974, when under the Local Government Act 1972, Chesterfield took in the urban district of Staveley and the parish of Brimington from Chesterfield Rural District.
Chesterfield is the location for the headquarters of the local newspaper, the Derbyshire Times.

Local economy

In the last 30 years, the economy in and around Chesterfield has experienced major change, moving the employment base away from the primary and secondary sectors, and towards the tertiary area. The area sits on a large coalfield and the area played host to many coal mines, including:
  • Clay Cross
  • Arkwright
  • Bolsover
  • Grassmoor
  • North Wingfield
  • Holmewood
From 1981 to 2002, 15,000 jobs in the coal industry disappeared and not a single colliery remains open, although open cast mining continued at Arkwright until a few years ago. Many of the sites were restored by contractor Killingleys for Derbyshire County Council.
Very little evidence of the industry remains today; a cyclist and walkers route, the so called "Five Pits Trail" now links some of the former collieries and most of the sites are now indistinguishable from the surrounding countryside.
Within the town itself, large factories and major employers have disappeared or relocated in the last 10 years including:
Whilst others have downsized significantly:
  • GKN plc
  • Robinson's (has demolished several buildings and cut thousands of jobs)
Manufacturing employment has fallen by a third since 1991, though the percentage of the population employed in manufacturing is still above the national average

Shopping, entertainment and leisure

Queens Park Leisure Centre

Chesterfield has a vast array of leisure, entertainment and social facilities. The Queens Park is located within the town centre and recently benefited from a multi-million pound programme of investment. Also on the outskirts of the park is Queens Park Leisure Centre, which has a large swimming pool and gym, several indoor courts (for a variety of sports) and several more outdoor tennis courts.

Vicar Lane

The shopping opportunities in Chesterfield are numerous. Vicar Lane was redeveloped in 2000 to become a pedestrianised, open-air shopping area, that involved almost all of the existing buildings being demolished. The project was so large that two new streets were created in its development. It now hosts major chains such as Woolworths, BHS and Argos It is located near the crooked spire.

The Precinct

In the late 1970s a large area between Low Pavement (in the Market Square) and New Beetwell Street was completely demolished (except the original shop fronts) to build "The Pavements" shopping centre, more commonly known by local residents as "The Precinct", with larger shops including Somerfield and Boots, which was opened in November 1981 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The design of the main axis of the development is in keeping with the prominence of the Crooked Spire in the town. It has entrances located opposite Chesterfield Market and escalators leading down to New Beetwell Street. An enclosed bridge links the site to a multi-storey car park built at the same time and next to what is now a coach station.
Chesterfield Library's main entrance is located just outside The Pavements at the exit that is next to McDonald's with steps leading down to New Beetwell Street. The library spans several floors and was planned as part of the development, but did not open until 1985. In 2003 Chesterfield Library was the 8th busiest in the UK, an astonishing achievement considering that it serves only a large town not a city.
On 27 June 2007 the Somerfield store in the Precinct was completely gutted in a fire during which the roof collapsed. Fortunately, only a few shoppers suffered minor injuries. A fire chief has reported the fire as being an accidental ignition. The fire started at 13:10 on 27 June and was not extinguished until 23:30 the same day. All the shops in the Precinct were closed and evacuated. Other areas including the Market Hall were later evacuated as cordons were placed as a result of the smoke becoming worse.. Past notable appearances include Ricky Tomlinson and Patrick McGuinness. Chesterfield Symphony Orchestra give three concerts a year at the Winding Wheel.
"The Pomegranate Theatre" (formerly known for many years as 'Chesterfield Civic Theatre', and prior to that 'The Stephenson Memorial Theatre') is a listed Victorian building (in what is now known as the Stephenson Memorial Building), with a small auditorium, seating around 500 people . A variety of shows are performed throughout the year. Also in the Stephenson Memorial Building is the Chesterfield Museum, until 1984 it was used for the town's lending library. The museum is owned by Chesterfield Borough Council, as are the Winding Wheel and the Pomegranate Theatre. The box office for both entertainment venues is located in the entrance area of the theatre.


Chesterfield is home to the Football League Two club Chesterfield F.C. who play at the Recreation Ground (usually referred to as Saltergate). Chesterfield FC are known as the Spireites, after the Crooked Spire in the town. In 2005 plans were announced to build a new stadium on the old Dema Glass site north of the town in Whittington Moor, however the start of the building work is yet to be confirmed. The team's most notable achievement of recent years occurred in April 1997, when they reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, losing to Middlesbrough in a replay following a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford. It turned out to be one of the most controversial games in recent history with Chesterfield having a goal not given when referee David Elleray decided the ball had not crossed the goal line from a Jonathan Howard shot, a decision which was later proved incorrect by video replays. Had the goal stood the club would have progressed to the final of the FA Cup for the first time in its history - a feat which no club in the third tier of the league has achieved. The team has a fierce rivalry with neighbouring town Mansfield. In 2006 Chesterfield FC beat Premiership heavyweights Manchester City and West Ham to move into the last 16 of the Carling Cup where they were narrowly beaten on penalties by Charlton. Despite their Carling Cup exploits, Chesterfield were relegated on the penultimate game of the season
Also Chesterfield has a competitive athletic team which competes regularly all over England. Chesterfield & District Athletic Club is based at Queen’s Park Annexe - near Boythorpe Road south of the town centre, close to the cricket club. Chesterfield Swimming Club is based at the Queens Park Sports Centre on Boythorpe Road.
Queen's Park also plays host to Chesterfield Cricket Club and is an outground of Derbyshire County Cricket Club
Chesterfield also has its own amateur Sunday football league that plays host to over 100 teams on a Sunday morning. The Chesterfield and District Sunday Football League consists of nine divisions and 3 cup competitions.
Chesterfield Spires RLFC are a Rugby League club formed in the town in 2003 and currently play in the RL Merit League
A speedway training track operated at Glasshouse Farm in the early 1950s.



Junction 29 of the M1 motorway at Heath links Chesterfield to the motorway network, via the A617 dual-carriageway. Construction of the new Junction 29a has recently commenced at Markham Vale, Duckmanton. Other major roads include the A61 Derby Road (with a dual carriageway beginning in the town centre and continuing onto Sheffield) and the A619 (a major inroad to the Peak District, eventually joining the A6 near Bakewell) and the A632 to Matlock.

Buses & Coaches

Stagecoach plc are the predominant operator of buses, the only other significant operators are TM Travel and Trent Barton. A new coach station was recently built, with scheduled services provided by National Express. A number of tour companies also operate there. The Stagecoach depot at Stonegravels is notable for its size and many vehicles stored there are not in regular use. Several firms operate taxi services.
Chesterfield previously had two other rail stations:
  • Chesterfield Market Place railway station was closed in 1951, following the collapse of Bolsover tunnel. It had served as the terminus of the Chesterfield to Lincoln line, built in 1897 by the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway (LD&ECR). None of the original buildings remain, the site of the former station is now owned by the Post Office.
  • Chesterfield Central Station closed in 1963, in conjunction with the general wind down of passenger train activity on the Great Central Railway (GCR). Chesterfield's inner-relief road, part of the A61, now runs along some of the disused trackbed and the station was demolished in 1973 to make way for this.
These railways all crossed each other at Horns Bridge, the Midland Mainline passed over the GCR loop in to Chesterfield, and the LD&ECR passed over both on a 700 feet long viaduct. Horns Bridge has been substantially redeveloped since the latter two railways closed and Horns Bridge Roundabout, where the A61 Derby Road and A617 Lordsmill Street meet, now occupies the site. The viaduct was demolished in the 1970s.
In addition to railways, Chesterfield had a tramway system, built in 1882, and closed in 1927.


The nearest airfield is Netherthorpe Aerodrome, however this is not licensed for commercial flights. When travelling by air, passengers usually do so via East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Doncaster Robin Hood and Manchester airports.


The Chesterfield Canal linked the town to the national network of waterways, and was the most important trade route through the 19th century. Overtaken by rail and then road for freight transport it fell into disuse, but has been partially restored since the mid-20th century for leisure use. However, the section through Chesterfield remains isolated from the rest of the waterway network.


The borough of Chesterfield has many schools within and around it. There are several secondary schools in the area (most of which are community schools; Hasland Hall, Brimington Junior School, Brookfield, Tupton Hall School, Parkside, Meadows, Netherthorpe, Newbold (which has just moved into a new £17 million school building), Deincourt and Springwell) almost half have a Sixth Form. There is also a Roman Catholic school, St Mary's Roman Catholic High School, in Newbold.
A Further Education college, Chesterfield College, is located within a 5 minute walk of Chesterfield railway station and offers many courses. It has over 15,000 students

Public Services

Chesterfield is policed by Derbyshire Constabulary, and Chesterfield Police Station, on New Beetwell Street, is Division 'C' Headquarters, with police stations in Bolsover, Chesterfield, Clay Cross, Dronfield, Killamarsh, Staveley, and Shirebrook.
In terms of healthcare, Chesterfield is served by Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and has two hospitals, one in Calow, known as Chesterfield Royal Hospital, and one in Walton, known as Walton hospital. Emergency Ambulance services are provided by East Midlands Ambulance service. Non-emergency Ambulances are provided by Ambuline.
Chesterfield is served by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, which has stations in Staveley, Chesterfield, and Clowne.

Famous people

Famous people to come from Chesterfield include: Other famous people associated with the town:


Chesterfield is twinned with:

International events

Chesterfield is home to gluten free beer, with the first ever international gluten free beer festival held in Chesterfield in February 2006. The event was hailed internationally as a success, organisers are working to repeat the event for the future. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) hosted the event with the cooperation of and brewers of gluten free beer from all parts of the globe have announced that they wish to attend and present their brews to the public at the next Chesterfield event, under discussion between the organisers and the local authority.

External links


See also

Chesterfield in Bulgarian: Честърфийлд
Chesterfield in German: Chesterfield (Derbyshire)
Chesterfield in French: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Italian: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Dutch: Chesterfield (Derbyshire)
Chesterfield in Norwegian: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Polish: Chesterfield (Anglia)
Chesterfield in Romanian: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Finnish: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Swedish: Chesterfield
Chesterfield in Volapük: Chesterfield (Derbyshire)
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