Blue Plaque unveiled at University of Derby’s Chesterfield campus to commemorate former girls’ school building

A Blue Plaque has been unveiled at the University of Derby’s Chesterfield campus to commemorate the building and its significance as a prominent former girls’ school in the area.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 9:59 am
Frank Gorman, Professor Keith McLay, Dr Maureen Strelley and Philip Riden unveiling the Blue Plaque at the University of Derby Chesterfield campus on Sheffield Road (Picture: Richard Richards Photography)
Frank Gorman, Professor Keith McLay, Dr Maureen Strelley and Philip Riden unveiling the Blue Plaque at the University of Derby Chesterfield campus on Sheffield Road (Picture: Richard Richards Photography)

The plaque was unveiled at the Grade II listed St Helena building by Dr Maureen Strelley, a former pupil and Bolsover GP, at an event hosted in collaboration with the Chesterfield Civic Society on March 7.

Formerly Chesterfield Girls High School, the building was originally designed by George H. Widdows, a pioneering school architect who changed building design to enhance the health of school children, and was his first major project for the county council

It was opened as a new secondary school in 1911 by the Duchess of Devonshire and provided transformative education for many before its closure in 1991.

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In 2016, the University fully transformed the building, which is now regarded as a centre of excellence for health, providing some of the best teaching facilities in the UK for nursing courses.

Professor Keith McLay, Provost – Learning and Teaching at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted that a Blue Plaque has been unveiled at our St Helena building in recognition of its historic significance.

The University sympathetically restored the building, retaining most of its original features, and is now a teaching and learning environment for students who are going into valuable careers in the healthcare profession. We are proud of the building and its heritage as a pioneering educational establishment.”

Chesterfield Civic Society is responsible for the town’s Blue Plaques which are placed to commemorate either the intrinsic worth of a building, an association with people or happenings of special merit.

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