Ironville is possibly Derbyshire’s best example of a mid-nineteenth century model village. The village itself was mainly created between 1834 and 1860 by the Butterley Company to house its iron workers. The model village won much national acclaim, with its large gardens, a rural setting well away from the ironworks and the overall spacious layout compared with other industrial villages.
The physical and spiritual welfare of the employees of the Company was reflected not only in the provision of a church and a school by the Company, but also with the provision of a complete range of public services for the village. These included its own gas and water works, a Mechanics’ Institute containing ‘an artisans’ library’ and swimming bath. Nearby, but still within the parish of Ironville is Codnor Park formally an ancient Deer Park.
At the historically renowned Codnor Park Iron Works (demolished in the 1970’s and now landscaped and planted with native trees), cannonballs were made for Waterloo, armor plate was made for the very first iron-hulled warships such as The Warrior & The Black Prince (circa 1861).
During World War II the works also produced sterns for 57 “Loch” class frigates, and 51 large bridges, each with a 150-foot span, which were used for crossing the Rhine and Italian rivers, in addition the company manufactured tracks for Churchill and Cromwell tanks as well as many other important products for the war effort.
The first houses in Codnor Park actually built by the Butterley Company in 1802 for workers at the newly built Lime Works. The row of houses was originally called Measham Row (later Lime Kiln Row) and probably reflects where these workers came from. They would all have walked there or hitched a ride on barges passing along the canal system.