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St Helen's House

There are a number of buildings which are of great interest in the city, either historically, architecturally or aesthetically, which don't fit into the other pages on the site (for the moment at least). This is definitely one of those buildings


St Helen's House

This is arguably the finest building in the city and is therefore listed Grade 1. It is an 18th century townhouse designed in the Palladian style by the architect Joseph Pickford for the Gisborne family of Staffordshire. Not long after, however, it was purchased by the Strutt family of Belper before they sold it the Derby Grammar School in the 1860s. It remained in educational use until fairly recently - when the school moved out it was taken over by Derby Further Education College. Unfortunately the house was very badly treated and the council, unable to maintain it financially, moved the college out and put it up for sale in 2006.

It then stood empty and neglected for about 5 years, plans to turn it into a private house and a bespoke hotel both fell through. then in 2011 work began to turn it into a corporate headquarters for a firm of accountants and it has been spectacularly restored.







 Only 10 years after taking over St Helen's House the school was in need of more space. The answer was the building of an extension in 1874, to the left of the main house, which was constructed in a similar but plainer style to the main house and is now known as the Pearson Building. Inside it has a stone staircase which winds up to a very large hall which takes up most of the space on the first floor and outside is a beautiful covered cast iron staircase.

Further additions to the school were the Arts and Crafts vernacular style buildings which contained the chemistry laboratory, gymnasium, woodwork rooms, chapel and the headmasters house.

Unfortunately, unlike its illustrious neighbour, the Pearson Building has not undergone restoration and there does not appear to be any plans to do so in the near future. Instead, as can be seen in the photos below, it is slowly falling into decay.

Pearson building St Helen's House