Situated about 2 miles north of Derby city centre, Saint Benedict’s is the only Catholic secondary school in Derby and as a consequence is a big place, home to almost 1500 11 to 18 year olds. It was given its name after the merging of two former schools, St Ralph Sherwin and St Thomas More in 1986.
The school has loads of sporting facilities, a large sports hall, a multi-gym, gymnasium, hard play area for netball and extensive playing fields with football, rugby and hockey pitches. But 24 Fit Derby currently use the South Block Hall for a Pound class. It’s dead convenient if you live towards Darley Abbey, Allestree, Little Eaton, Duffield, Mackworth and the City of Derby, and there’s plenty of parking right outside.
The great thing about the hall at Benedict’s is that it’s in a dedicated sports venue, so access is really easy. There’s a wooden floor and a stage, so instructors can elevate themselves if you’re struggling to see them. It’s quite big and has a real friendly feel about it.
Things you may not know about the area
• Darley Abbey is a very pretty former historic mill village.
• It’s medieval and was the site of an Augustinian Monastery (called Darley Abbey) whose construction began around 1160.
• It was dissolved by order of Henry VIII on 22 October 1538.
• Only two buildings remain from this period, the most obvious being The Abbey pub. It was once part of the Abbot’s residence and was sorely neglected for hundreds of years until it got a new roof in the 1920s. Those of you who have enjoyed a summer evening pint there will be very glad that it was renovated to its current state in 1978
• Darley Abbey mills now host a range of engineering and light industrial businesses, but they have been around since the 17th century, originally developed for corn, flint, paper and leather.
• Thomas Evans developed his cotton mills there in 1778.
• The mills were originally water-powered by the weirs on the river Derwent. Steam power later supplemented the water power.
• The Evans’ family involvement ended with the death of Walter Evans in 1903.
• The Coats Viyella group bought the business in 1943, but textile production ceased completely in 1970.
• Thomas Evans created the village of 130 houses to accommodate his cotton mill workers, the houses on the west side of the river linked to the mills on the east side by a toll bridge.
• There was no church in the village after Henry dissolved the monastery there, until Walter Evans paid to build one in 1819
• There are a number of independent shops in the village, including a convenience store, a florists, a brewery, a bike shop and a cutlery store
Travelling out of Derby on Duffield Road, go straight over The Broadway pub roundabout and the school entrance is on the left-hand side. Go to the very end of the school drive, past the sports pitches, to get to the South Block Reception. There is ample parking by the South Block building where the classes are held in the main hall.
Saint Benedicts School