Representatives from Derby City Council, Derby Civic Society and West Mill have unveiled the latest Blue Plaque in the city at a special ceremony held at Darley Abbey Mills to commemorate the life of Thomas Evans.

Thomas Evans was born in 1723 into a rich Bonsall family whose wealth was built on the lead industry. During his colourful life, Thomas 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 was also 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 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.

You can view photos of the event in the gallery below. You can also view listen to Andrew Rose, Director of the West Mill discuss the plaque unveiling here.


Published: Thursday 26th January 2017