Representatives from Derby City Council, Derby Civic Society will be unveiling the latest Blue Plaque in the city at a special ceremony to be held at Darley Abbey Mills tomorrow (25 January) to commemorate the life of Thomas Evans.

Thomas Evans was born into a rich Bonsall family in 1723 whose wealth was built on the lead industry. Thomas during his colourful life was an entrepreneur with various business interests in and around Derby including lead smelting and merchanting at Bonsall and Wirksworth; copper smelting at Borrowash and an iron works in Derby. He also became an influential banker in the city with a counting house in St Mary’s Gate with this business becoming part of the modern day NatWest Group.

One of the main achievements of Evans was his involvement in the cotton industry along the Derwent Valley. He was responsible for the development of Darley Abbey Mills and for much of the associated housing in Darley Abbey to accommodate the mill workers along with St Matthew’s church. He died in 1814 at the grand age of 91 with an estate valued at over £229,000.

This Blue Plaque scheme forms part of Derby City Council’s and Derby Civic Society’s partnership to celebrate eminent people with strong links to the city. Blue plaques are erected on a building or a site to mark the connection between that location and the notable individual.

The public were asked to suggest who could be honoured with a blue plaque in the city. Possible recipients must have been deceased for at least 20 years, had a long lasting effect on the city and have a clear link to a building or site in Derby.

Commenting on the award of the blue plaque, Darley ward Councillor Lisa Eldret said:

We look forward to welcoming members of the Derby Civic Society to Darley Abbey Mills for the unveiling of the latest Blue Plaque. I very much support this project which recognises and celebrates our rich heritage and the people behind making Derby what it is today including Thomas Evans who invested a great deal of his wealth in the local cotton industry which was once the backbone of Derby’s economy.

Alan Grimadell, Chairman of the Derby Civic Society, said:

I’m delighted that our 16th Blue Plaque is being launched to recognise the work of Thomas Evans a true son of Derby. The working partnership between Derby City Council and the Derby Civic Society in promoting the Blue Plaques throughout the City is something that we are all very proud of.