The Bridge 1955

Although there are records of Denstone going back to Norman times,  it was not until the arrival of Sir Thomas Percival Heywood in 1840 that the village was really established. Prior to this time,  Denstone was an agricultural area bounded by the River Churnet and consisting of sparsely populated,  scattered hamlets.The Heywoods were a wealthy banking family from Manchester and Sir Thomas had a wish to become a squire of his own village and Parish.  To this end he employed one of the finest architects of the day,  George Edmund Street,  a leader in the Victorian Gothic Revival,  to build Denstone Church.  The Church was completed in 1862 and Sir Thomas then had the original village school built in 1870 and the Church Room in 1890.  The old school is now a private dwelling,  but the Church Room has not been used for the last twenty years.

Village Centre 1955

Sir Thomas was also instrumental in founding Denstone College which opened in 1873.The major housing developments in Denstone have taken place in the last fifty years, although some local authority houses were built in the 1930s. Denstone has been transformed from a small village of about fifty dwellings firmly based on agriculture,  to a thriving community today with two hundred and fifty dwellings within the village and another hundred or so in the hamlets of Stubwood,  Quixhill and Prestwood which are part of the Parish.

The Pub 1955

Denstone is unique when compared with other rural villages of similar size in that there are two significant organisations within walking distance of the village centre – Denstone College,  and the main plant and Headquarters of JCB which started operating on this site in 1950. The College has grown over the years and now caters for over five hundred students,  with one third boarding,  and employs over one hundred and fifty staff – the majority living in Denstone and surrounding villages. JCB has also grown with the actual numbers employed at the Lakeside increasing from twenty in 1950 to over two thousand at present,  of whom many reside in Denstone.

Memorial Cross

The Old Petrol Station

All the above pictures can be purchased in various framed sizes from The Francis Frith Collection by clicking here.