Chesterfield's rich historical heritage is explored in the town's museum and art gallery. Taking the 'Story of Chesterfield' as its theme, the museum shows how the town has become the place it is today.
The museum tells the story of Chesterfield from its origin as a Roman fort to the present day. It is located in the Stephenson Memorial Hall, built in 1879 as a mechanics institute, and named in honour of the town's most famous Victorian resident, railway pioneer George Stephenson.
The museum stands on St Mary's Gate in the shadow of the famous 'Crooked Spire' of St Mary and All Saints and is a short walk from Chesterfield's excellent open market, one of the largest in the country, the railway station and car parks.
The museum's most important exhibit is a medieval builders' windlass used for the construction of Chesterfield Parish Church ('The Crooked Spire') in the 14th century. It is an impressive sight standing around 20ft high and dominating the entrance to the galleries.
The museum holds finds from a series of excavations in the town centre, mainly associated with the area of the Roman fort and the core of the medieval period town. However the majority of the collections relate to the social and industrial history of Chesterfield and the surrounding area of north eastern Derbyshire.
These recall the past industrial activities of the town, including coal-mining and engineering, and the museum has an extensive collection of locally made stoneware pottery (often known as 'Bramptonware' after one of the areas in which it was made). Also on display are items from the Robinson Collection of packaging and healthcare products made by Chesterfield based Robinson & Sons Ltd, perhaps most famous for designing and making the original 'Smartie Tube' and for being the first manufacturers of the disposable nappy.
There is a small collection of material relating to George Stephenson and his family, including a group portrait by John Lucas RA.
Local artist Joseph Syddall's (1864-1942) work is usually on display in the art gallery. He was a professional portraitist and illustrator, who was declared by his teacher, Sir Hubert von Herkomer, to be the 'finest draughtsman in England'.
Open 10am - 4pm Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. (Including Bank Holidays)
Closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday
For further information & details of events visit the 24 Hour Museum's website
The display areas and toilet facilities are accessible for wheelchair users.
You may also be interested in the Revolution House