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DSCF4967

We found this sign talking about Chesterfield's yards, on an alleyway where we found a really interesting craft store. We didn't get to explore properly, as it was very nearly time to go back to catch the train home. It says: ------------------------ We found this sign talking about Chesterfield's yards, on an alleyway where we found a really interesting craft store. We didn't get to explore properly, as it was very nearly time to go back to catch the train home.

It says:
--------------------------------------------
Chesterfield's 'yards' were a series of courtyards and narrow alleys accessed through archways in the main street frontages. The yards became built up in the 18th and 19th centuries with cottages, workshops, and outhouses.

By the early 20th century, the yards were home to many of Chesterfield's poorest industrial workers and were overcrowded and unhealthy. Clearance began around 1912, and the residents re-housed on new estates.

The yards to the south of the Market Place can be seen clearly on this Ordnance Survey Map of 1918. The typical narrow shape follows property boundaries dating back to medieval times when land in this area was laid out in strips. Yards were to be found off many of the town's main streets.

Pictured above is Shepley's Yard. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the yards were not only home, but also workplace for many Chesterfield people. 'Cottage industries," such as stocking-knitting, hat and glove making, and the weaving of gingham (checked fabric), were practised in the yards.

Theatre Yard is named after the theatre built in this yard in the late 18th century. Seen left is a playbill from 1802. The theatre finally closed in the 1870s, and in 1881 it was used for housing the generators that powered the town's street lighting (the first use of electric street lighting in the UK). Its site now partly lies under Chesterfield Library.

'The Yards' shopping development was created in the 1980s by combining restoration of historic buildings with new purpose-built shops.

Chesterfield's most notorious yards, known as the Dog Kennels, were located south of the Market Place. Living conditions here were very poor, particularly in the lodging houses. Much of the area was demolished for the building of Markham Road.
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Chesterfield, 11 Sept 2010

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