Butterley Hill

Adapted from “A Guide to Ripley’s Heritage Part One : North” by Frank Mansey, pages 4-6

Butterley Hill c1910

Butterley Hill was built as part of the Alfreton – Derby Turnpike opened in 1807 and the deeds for the Talbot Inn show that in 1831 the land on which it was built was still mainly gardens with three newly erected houses and a few partly occupied ones. By 1850 part of the land had been sold to a man named John Staley, landlord of The Thorn Tree Inn and he named his new plot “Thorn Tree Close”. Later it was in the joint ownership of a succession of local businessmen until it was sold to Shipstone and Sons in 1891.

The Talbot Inn c 1912


Where there is now the pub car park, there stood until the early 1960s a small shop owned latterly by Outrams, selling all the things that you would expect to find in a “corner shop”. They also sold paraffin for lamps and heaters, which was drawn from a large barrel  in the shop itself!

Next down the hill is the Butterley Club car park, the back wall of which was the rear wall of a row of terraced cottages known as Sheepshead Row which were demolished in 1958/9. They had front doors only and each had a small upstairs window in the rear wall, overlooking  Pentrich Road. The proper name of the street was Chapel Place, the reason being obvious.

The premises now housing the Club were built in 1830 as a Unitarian, later Congregational Chapel, becoming the British Legion Club when they moved from Albion Street and then in the 1940s a public house owned by Mr. J. Knowlson.

On your right is Outram Street, named in 1861 after the Butterley Hall family. On the left of the street was Ripley’s Builders, housed in what were the second National Schools to be built in Ripley, erected in 1856 at a cost of £2400. (The first were at the corner of Wood Street). The first building  was the girls’ school, then came the head teacher’s house, the boys’ school, another house, and the infants’ playground with the school at the back of it. When the new Council Schools were built in 1915 at the bottom of Shirley Road the pupils  moved there and the first two Outram Street schools were used as a Church Sunday School. Even after it closed altogether in 1954-5, one of the main rooms still contained the two coke-burning stoves which had provided the heating over the years and the old suspended gas lights still remained, although electric lights had replaced them. Some of the long, old-fashioned school desks, each seating about six children, also remained . The schools were demolished in 2001, and the site has now been developed for housing.

The building that was the Infants’ School was built in 1819 for £230 by the Butterley Company. It later became Jephsons’ warehouse, selling crockery and hardware, and later was a car repair business before being demolished.

A little further down the hill, stop opposite the charity shop, (the site of Wadham  Kennings’ ) to look at the plaque on the wall of house number 42. This was the birthplace of one of Ripley’s most famous sons, Barnes Neville Wallis. Dr. Charles Wallis brought his wife Edith and their first son to the town in 1886 when he joined the practice of Dr. Allen at the Elms, Derby Road. Their son Barnes was born on 15th November 1887 and grew into the brilliant scientist and engineer who is best known for designing the Wellington bomber, the “bouncing bomb” and the R100 airship. He died in 1979.

The plaque on Barnes Wallis’ birthplace

The stone-fronted house before the railway bridge was a boys’ boarding school at the start of the twentieth century, and then became known as “The Armoury”, used by the local Volunteers sponsored by the Butterley Company, who also owned the house.

Just below Argyll Road on your right, house number 33 that stands back a little, was converted from being the Albion Inn.

Butterley Hill, with the Albion Inn on the right

Continue down the hill to what was the Greyhound, now the Out of Town public house and look at the property next door to it, number 103, which was the very first shop opened by the Butterley Co-operative Society, started by six employees of the Butterley Company in 1860. They later moved their business to Pentrich Road before opening on Park Corner, as you will see later.

Next stands the Prince of Wales pub and then comes Bridle Lane, running left onto Lowes Hill and to the right up to Greenwich (Sainsbury’ s) Comer. Just below the lane to your right are business premises that were originally Burrows and Sturgess’ soft drinks warehouse and distribution centre. Then they became Smalleys’ Wholesale grocery warehouse, followed by Fleur Beauty Products factory. After being empty for some time the present owners took over.

Below these buildings is the Woodlands Nursing Home. On this site stood Butterley Carr, a large house owned by the Butterley Company. Mr. F.C. Corfield, who lived there from 1852 to 1880, built an observatory at the top of a round tower which was part of the house. It became known as the Roundhouse.

The Roundhouse