Ripley, Derbyshire

Ripley is a town in the Amber Valley borough of Derbyshire, England.


Nottingham Road, Ripley
Location within Derbyshire
Population20,807 (parish, 2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceSK 39746 50502
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townRIPLEY
Postcode districtDE5
Dialling code01773
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
Arms of Ripley Town Council
CrestOn a Wreath of the Colours out of a Mural Crown Sable Flames proper issuant therefrom a Unicorn's Head Argent armed and crined Or charged with three Spearheads erect one and two Gules.
BlazonVert on a Chevron Or between in chief two Stags' Heads caboshed and in base a Fleur de Lys Argent a Chevronel Sable surmounted by a Tudor Rose barbed and seeded proper all within a Bordure also Argent thereon six Horseshoes also Sable.
MottoIngenium Industria Alitur (Skill Is Fostered By Diligence)
Granted to the urban district council on 8th April 1954. [2]


Not much information is available as to when Ripley was founded, but it existed at the time of the Domesday Book, when it was held by a man called Levenot.

In 1251 Henry III granted a charter for "One market, one day a week, on Wednesday, at [the] manor of Ryppeleg: and one fair each year, lasting three days on the Vigil Day and Morrow of St Helen". Ripley Fair pre-dates the Goose Fair at Nottingham and the market day was later altered to Saturdays with an extra market added on Fridays.[3]

In the Middle Ages, Ripley was just a few stone cottages and farms around the village green with a few dwellings further afield. Corn was ground at the mill owned by the Abbot of Darley and in 1291 there were "two water-mills with fish ponds" in Ripley.

The Ripley area has been industrialised since the late 18th century.

One of the earliest companies to take advantage of mineral resources around Ripley was the Butterley Company. The company was formed in 1790 by Benjamin Outram and Francis Beresford. Jessop and Wright joined as partners in 1791. Benjamin Outram and Jessop were pioneering engineers best known for their input into the rail industry and also their engineering of the Cromford Canal. Outram developed the L shaped flange rail and Jessop engineered the cast iron fish belly rail. The Little Eaton Gangway project was one of the engineering feats they completed. The engineering part of the company closed and the site of the Butterley Company was demolished in 2010. The company was latterly in three parts, Butterley Engineering, Butterley Brick and Butterley Aggregates (all separate companies). Over the last 200 years the companies have been a steelworks, coal mining, quarrying, railway, foundry, brickworks. One of the early, and most well-known, examples of the work of the company includes the arched roof of St Pancras railway station in London, recently restored as an international rail terminal. Recent major Butterley achievements were the design and construction of the Falkirk Wheel, a canal boat lift funded by the Millennium Commission and the Spinnaker Tower seen in Portsmouth Harbour as the focus of the regeneration of Portsmouth Harbour.

Ripley was also a mining community with collieries owned until the Coal Nationalisation Act of 1947 by Butterley Company. These included Ripley colliery worked from 1863 to 1948, Britain colliery worked 1918–1946, Ormonde 1908–1970[4] and more pits at Upper and Lower Hartshay, Whiteley, Waingrove, Bailey Brook, Exhibition, Loscoe, New Langley and Denby Hall.


What is now Ripley Town Hall (on the north side of the Market Place) was erected in 1880 as a market hall by the Local Board. The architect was George Eyre of Codnor. It was built on the site of a much older dwelling known as The White House. The Market Hall was originally open on the ground floor. In 1907, the building was converted to a Town Hall by the Urban District Council. In the 1990s, the building was greatly extended to the west and remodelled by the Amber Valley Borough Council to form that council's headquarters. In 2012, Amber Valley Borough Council proposed to sell off some of the buildings on this headquarters site, as part of a plan to rationalise its office accommodation.[5]


According to research and the analysis of names in Britain in 2006, Ripley has the highest proportion of people of ethnic-English origin.[6] Of Ripley's inhabitants, 88.5 percent have an English-ethnic background.


Primary schools

  • Ripley Junior School, Poplar Avenue, DE5 3PN
  • St Johns C of E Primary School, Dannah Street, Ripley
  • Lons Infant School, Tavistock Avenue, Ripley
  • Waingroves Primary School, Waingroves Road, Ripley
  • Codnor Community Primary School, Whitegates

Secondary schools


  • Ripley Nursery School, Sandham Lane
  • Clowns Day Nursery, Cromford Road
  • Clowns Day Nursery, Butterley Park, A610
  • Alphabet Childminders, Ripley.


The Methodist Church in Wood Street is reputed to be the oldest church in town and is still active today. At the peak of the movement there were five Methodist churches in the town, but over the years they have combined.[7] The church was rebuilt on the same site and re-opened in November 2009. See History of Methodism in Ripley Derbyshire

An outcome of the nearby Pentridge (or Pentrich) Rising of 1817 was for the vicar of Pentrich Church to call for an Anglican church to be built in Ripley as soon as possible. All Saints' Church, Ripley was built in 1821 by the Butterley Company.

Other places of worship include the Salvation Army hall, situated on Heath Road, which was opened in 1911, the Springs of the Living Water housed in the former St John's Church on Derby Road, the Spiritual Church on Argyll Road and Marehay Methodist Chapel on Warmwells Lane, Marehay.


Constructed under the premises of the Butterley Company is the 2,966 yard long Butterley Tunnel for the Cromford Canal.[8] The central section of the canal is disused, but a charitable fund has been formed to reopen the canal.

Ripley is the site of the Midland Railway - Butterley (formerly the Midland Railway Centre) a railway preservation trust, dedicated to preserving locomotives, rolling stock and other items related to the Midland Railway.

Ripley was once served by Ripley railway station on the Midland Railway Ripley Branch. It was the northern terminus of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Tramways Company and, later, the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire trolleybus system.


A local radio station, Amber Sound FM is based in Ripley, in the Unicorn Business Park just off Wellington Street. The station is on 107.2FM in the Amber Valley and is also available online.

Parks and natural features

Butterley Reservoir situated at the north of the town at the bottom of Butterley Hill, has pairs of Great Crested Grebes, Coots, Moorhens and other birds to watch and platforms for anglers to use. There is a footpath to walk on and take in the scenery with the Midland Railway Trust in the background.

There is Carr Wood which is signposted from halfway down Butterley Hill where wildlife and the small woodland area can be enjoyed.

At the bottom of Moseley Street adjacent to the Red Lion pub in Ripley Town Centre there is a recreation field named after Sir Barnes Wallis which offers views over to Crich Stand, the Sherwood Foresters Memorial. Crich Stand was built by Francis Hurt in 1778 and in 1922 was dedicated to the fallen of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment (colloquially known as the Woofers) in World War I, but now is the memorial to those in the Regiment who have died in all conflicts.[9]

The Pit Top is an open area with some seating and a white Arch sculpture. The area is grassed over and is the site of the original Ripley Colliery owned by Butterley Company and worked from 1863 until 1948.[10] Crossley Park is a few acres of grassed land opened in 1935. It is surrounded by shrubs and trees on a tract of land given to the town by James Crossley in 1901. The Park contains a children's play area with summer paddling pool, tarmacced walk around the perimeter and bandstand, which has Brass Bands playing occasionally in the summertime on Sunday late afternoons.

Twin towns

Ripley is twinned with the French towns of Château-Renault and Lons-le-Saunier.

Community and facilities

The headquarters of the Derbyshire Constabulary is on the outskirts of Ripley at Butterley Hall.

Ripley has a Community Hospital with a minor accident and emergency department, which was opened on 7 September 1912. The hospital was built after the death of a miner injured at Pentrich Colliery, who did not survive the road journey to Derby in time for treatment.[11] The Ripley Hospital League of Friends has been an active fund raising group for the hospital throughout its history.

Ripley has a Scout group founded in 1914. It has two Beaver colonies, a Cub pack and a Scout Troop.[12]

Notable residents


  1. "Neighbourhood Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  2. "RIPLEY TOWN COUNCIL (DERBYSHIRE)". Robert Young. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  3. Ripley Town Council and Brian Wood,2007, Ripley, Heage and Ambergate.People, places and events. Ripley Town Council.
  4. c-David Bell,Memories of the Derbyshire Coalfields. Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire.
  5. Historic England. "Monument No. 1319727". PastScape. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
    "Ripley Town Hall". Picture The Past. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
    Pevsner, Nikolaus (2002). The Buildings of England – Derbyshire. Yale University Press. p. 309. ISBN 0-300-09591-0.
    Wright's Directory of Melbourne and Ripley. 1878.
  6. Ethnicity news at Yahoo
  7. Ripley Methodist Church
  8. Robin Witter (7 October 2002). "Butterley Tunnel - The Illustrated Report". the Web Site for The Friends of the Cromford Canal.
  9. Rod Jewell, 1998, Memory Lane. Belper, Ambergate and Districts. Breedon Books Publishing Co; Derby.
  10. David Bell, 2006, Memories of the Derbyshire Coalfields, Countryside books, Newbury, Berkshire.
  11. David Buxton, Pocket Images. Ripley and Codnor. 1994, Nonsuch Publishing Ltd, Gloucestershire.
  13. Eve Colpus, "Slack, Agnes Elizabeth (1858–1946)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2012 accessed 10 August 2017
  14. Derbyshire at Archived 17 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 2007
  15. R. H. Vetch, "Outram, Sir James, first baronet (1803–1863)", rev. Ainslie T. Embree, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online ed., January 2011 accessed 13 February 2017
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