This is part of a heritage trail around Belper, taking in some of the key historic areas, and talking about some of the people involved in the development of the town. You can find a map of the trail, and information on where to find interpretation boards containing more details on the town and its history at www.derwentvalleymills.org/belper.
The bandstand was part of a second phase in the development of the River Gardens, which were provided for the people of Belper by George Herbert Strutt (1854-1928) after he sold the Strutt family’s cotton-spinning business. They were just one of several gifts he provided for the town. Initially, just a platform was provided for visiting bands, but as events became more ambitious, attracting greater and greater numbers of visitors, a more formal structure was needed. Gas lighting was provided so music could be played until darkness fell and the firework displays began.
Women in Love
In October 1968, Ken Russell filmed part of his controversial film adaptation of D H Lawrence’s Women in Love at the River Gardens and by the sluice gates of the Horseshoe Weir. One of the stars was Alan Bates, a former pupil of Herbert Strutt Grammar School in Belper.
He was filmed opening the sluices by the weir and once the pool by the promenade had emptied, a scene was recorded on the riverbank.
In 1906, it was decided a fountain and rockwork pool would be an attractive addition to the promenade area, and Pulham and Sons of Broxbourne were appointed to create it. This company also carried out extensive landscaping, adding artificial rockwork, despite the ready availability of local stone. The artificial stonework was known as ‘Pulhamite’ and is frequently mistaken for the real thing. The Pulhamite fountain can be seen being tested shortly after installation.