Most Haunted Live Summer Solstice 2004 : Derby
Most Haunted Live Summer Solstice comes from the ‘dead’ centre of Britain. Is Derby Britain’s most haunted city?
House Of John Flamsteed
John Flamsteed FRS (19 August 1646 – 31 December 1719) was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal.
The Silk Mill
The Silk Mill Museum is on the site of the world’s oldest factories, the Silk Mills built by George Sorocold in 1702 and 1717. The foundations and parts of the tower from the 1717 mill are still visible.
The Old Dolphin Inn
Built over 500 years ago, the Dolphin pub, claims to have more spirits than the ones found behind the bar. This Tudor building from 1532 and boasts no less than four resident ghosts as its regulars.
The gaol which stood on Friar Gate from 1756 to 1846 and the cells of which still exist and are open to the public as a museum, and the 1843 to 1929 Vernon Street Prison whose impressive frontage can still be seen today.
Derby Gaols Hangings, 1732 to 1847. This sheet was (apparently) made available  to satisfy the interest of Derby residents on the occasion of the hanging of John Platts the previous day. (Click image to enlarge and read)In 1652 the Cornmarket Gaol (no longer extant) was the site of the imprisonment of George Fox on charges of blasphemy. Fox became the founder of the Christian denomination the Religious Society of Friends, perhaps better known as the Quakers. It has been alleged that Judge Bennett of Derby first used the term Quaker to describe the movement, as they bid him to ‘quake for fear of the Lord’, but the phrase had already been used in the context of other religious groups so the etymology is dubious.
The last person to be hanged at Derby Gaol was William Slack on 16 July 1907 for the murder of Lucy Wilson.
In the 16th century the estate was held by the Shelford Priory. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Crown sold the Priory and its estates in 1538 to Sir Michael Stanhope of Rampton, Nottinghamshire. Sir John Stanhope(d1611) granted the estate to his second son, also Sir John Stanhope (d 1638) High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1629.
Originally a manor house built for the latter Sir John in 1633, it was redesigned in grand style by James Wyatt in the early 1800s for the 3rd Earl of Harrington. Further modifications were made in the 1830s by the architect Lewis Nockalls Cottingham.
In 1968, the estate was sold by the then Earl of Harrington to Derbyshire County Council. This coincided with the Countryside Act of the same year which proposed the creation of “country parks” “for the enjoyment of the countryside by the public”. The council opened the estate to the public in 1970 and have operated it since then, as Elvaston Castle Country Park.
In 1969, Elvaston was also used as a location for Ken Russell’s film adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence novel Women in Love.
For the last eight years the Derbyshire County Council has been marketing the estate to private companies, claiming that it cannot afford to repair and maintain it but its actions have come to nothing. The latest of these is an attempt to turn the Castle into an hotel and the Park into golf courses. This is being fiercely contested by “The Friends of Elvaston Castle” on behalf of the local community.
First Broadcast: 19th June 2004