The largest building in Derby has stood derelict for over fifty years, and figured in the Victorian Society’s 2017 Top 10 Endangered Buildings list.
When the Great Northern Railway extended its line from Nottingham through the middle of Derby in 1878, it made two grand statements of its arrival in the headquarters town of its competitor, the Midland Railway. The most visible invasion was the elaborate pair of bridges across Friargate itself, slicing across a Georgian street.
The passenger station itself, built on the viaduct alongside the bridge, was undistinguished, but the vast goods warehouse, visible from the passenger platforms, was given a dignified architectural presence by the architects Kirk and Randall.
The rectangular footprint of the warehouse is extended by a triangular extension housing railway offices and a residence for the goods manager.
When I first explored it in 1977 – before security fencing prevailed – it was empty and derelict but largely intact.
The Derbyshire Historic Building Trust reports a site-visit in September 2016 – https://www.derbyshirehistoricbuildings.org.uk/single-post/2016/05/12/GNR-Site-Visit – and there are recent urban-explorer reports showing the current condition of the building at http://www.ukurbex.co.uk/great-northern-railway-bonded-warehouse-derby, https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/great-northern-railway-bonded-warehouse-derby-october-2014.t92710 and https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/industrial-sites/26846-northern-railway-warehouse-derby.html#.We2aA7pFzIU.
Update: An article in the Derby Evening Telegraph, June 25th 2018, reveals a practical, appropriate proposal to use the Great Northern Warehouse: https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-vintage-car-museum-friar-1714036#ICID=sharebar_twitter.
Further update: Thanks to the Victorian Society’s virtual newsletter, I tracked down this BBC News item reporting serious arson damage to the warehouse on May 26th 2020: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-52804585.
The 60-page, A4 handbook for the 2018 ‘Waterways and Railways of the East Midlands’ tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list contains a section on the Great Northern Railway Derbyshire & Staffordshire Extension and is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.