Derby Assembly Rooms


Derby is set to lose another part of its architectural history with permission now being granted for the demolition of the Assembly Rooms.

Built in 1971-6 to designs by Casson, Conder & Partners and the Borough’s Architectural Department the adjacent car park was hit by fire in March 2014 but the Assembly Rooms building remained intact.

Having been the venue for many famous entertainers, local events and Derby University graduations the building had just been updated before it was forced to close.

Worthy of statutory listing it caught the attention of many in the City and further afield but all attempts to add the building to Historic England’s list were prevented when a Certificate of Immunity was granted in May 2016.

Within the building in the foyer of the Darwin Suite there is Jacobean Ceiling that came from the 17th century Newcastle House which previously stood on the site. This wasn’t the only item from this grand house with oak panelling being taken to Derby Museum.

The Darwin Suite gained its name from a famous derbeian, Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) who’s work outlined an evolutionist theory that paved the way for his more famous grandson's work - Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species".

For some the building might be hard to love but it has been part of Derby’s community for over forty years during which time it has contributed to the memories of many who live locally and further afield.

The architecture is special and comes from a period that should not be overlooked with public appreciation continually growing and it is such a shame that this Brutalist masterpiece is now condemned. No doubt to be replaced by characterless cuboid and join the ranks of Derby’s growing number of likewise structures.

Read more about the demolition decision at the Twentieth Century Society here

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