Welcome to the Derby Heritage Forum Web Page

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 Last update 16th September 2020

The Forum web site is undergoing an update so please visit regular to see the changes.


Ron McKeown
Ron created the Derby Heritage Forum website to report on the activity of it's members. Ron wrote the Heritage Column in The Derby Trader free newspaper until the paper closed in May 2008. Ron has written a controversial book, The Rivers of Time, containing his research into the historic water levels around Derby and the effects of these levels on the development of the town. The research also indicates the evolution of Nottingham and the whole of the Humber flood plains, which is most of the central eastern region of England. Importantly, the evidence in the book is suggesting that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today and that this caused higher water levels in the Viking Period.

Also on the subject of Global Warming Ron's last book contained an investigation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for evidence of higher sea and river levels during the Medieval Warm Period. In it Ron is suggesting that higher temperatures are normal and that the Little Ice Age has confused the Climate Scientists causing them to think that lower temperatures are normal. If Ron is right then we can expect average temperatures to continue to rise and for sea and river levels to follow.

Kevin Archer

Kevin was Head of the Art department at St. Ralph Sherwin school in Allestree, Derby in 1974 and worked there until he retired in 1997. On retirement he began to produce historic maps of the County of Derbyshire. Littleover was the first map and following its popularity several more followed. Kevin has published a book based on the 1852 map and this is now available.

Brian Nash
Brian is a heritage investigator and has a number of projects ongoing and has carried out investigations of Markeaton Park amongst others. Information on Brian's investigations can be found at his web site.

Alan Gifford
Alan was chairman of Willington History Group from 1998, when it was formed, until 2015. He is now the first ‘Honorary Life Member ‘ of the Group. The history group meets monthly through the winter and spring. Alan has large collection of material and old photos about the village and has published a booklet 'The lost Gentry of WILLINGTON' which traces a major family to Vancouver in Canada.

For the past 8 years Alan has been researching the 18th century Derby water engineer George Sorocold and has had some of this work published on an Inst Civils web site.

Alan's main interest for past 40 years has been wind and water mills and he has published the two definitive Derbyshire books on these. Alan is a founder trustee of Heage Windmill Society and was one of the leaders in its restoration to working order in 2002. He is still active in it's Growth to a major tourist site and has written several books on this mill. Alan has given many talks on mills and Sorocold to local groups and is a regular contributor to Bygones in the Derby Telegraph newspaper.

Andrew Bailey
Andrew spent most of his working life as an aircraft engineer in the RAF and now gives talks all over the midlands to ex service groups on the history of several aircraft types.

On moving back to Derby with his wife Rita he spent 10 years, 4 of them as chairman, as a member of the Chaddesden Historical Group before joining the Derby Heritage Forum some 5 years ago. Andrew published an anthology of Chaddesdens History and still writes articles for Local History sites as well as for various Historical Aircraft Groups. He is an active member of the East Midlands Airport AeroPark Museum where he looks after their Nimrod R1 aircraft, a type that he worked on during his 22 years in the RAF. He is also a member of the Derbyshire Historical Aviation Society.

Andrew is currently writing articles from the notes of his old friend Derek Palmer, one of our founder members who diedin 2019.

Rita Bailey
With a keen interest in local history Ritas' overriding passion is family history having researched her own and Andrews family back to the 16th century. She has undertaken research for others and has recently retired as secretary for a local WI branch. Whilst with this group Rita wrote, directed and produced a short film on the last 100 years of education to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Derby Federation of Womens Institutes. She has travelled round Derbyshire showing this film to WI members.

During some research into local history Rita discovered the location of a previously unknown water mill dating back to the year 1294 on the Derwent River in an area of Chaddesden known as Beaumont Acre. She has published a paper on this subject. Rita has researched the history of the Derwent Isolation Hospital and gives a Power Point supported talk on the subject.

As the result of a request for information regarding the famed mining engineer James Ashworth, who developed an advanced safety lamp that could detect miners damp, Rita has written and published a book detailing his life, his achievements and his time living in Chaddesden. She also gives talks on this subject to interested groups. When relaxing from research Rita is a member of a local Tatting Group and enjoys various other handcrafts.

John Ashfield
John worked for most of his life at Rolls Royce and is a keen observer of Derby History and Heritage.

Don Smith
Don has numerous interests and is at present reviewing Ron's paper on the Dewent Valley.

Web Master and owner of Derby Heritage Forum site - Ron McKeown