In September 1897, only a few years before this card was published,
the first steps towards enlarging the Parish Church to mark Queen
Victoria's Diamond Jubilee had got underway. "On Wednesday
afternoon the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the
new aisle and chapel to be erected in commemoration of the 60th
year of the reign of Her Majesty the Queen took place" ...
the weather was "very unpropitious". The Ven Archdeacon
of Derby performed the service. The architect who was appointed
was Percy H Currey of Derby and the work was to be undertaken
by local tradesmen.
The accommodation was to be increased by about 140 and
the sum of £1000 had already been raised to pay for the alterations.
This project was completed in 1898 but the fundraising continued
for some time afterwards. Unfortunately, the church was broken
into in March 1900; the two offertory boxes were forced open and
their contents taken. One box was for the restoration fund
and the other for the poor; the former box had not been opened
for the 12 months it had been in the church and was believed to
contain a substantial amount of cash. The burglars had cut through
the diamond leaded windows on the north side of the church.
The 1897-8 alterations included extending the south aisle, adding
the south chapel and slightly altering the church porch. In addition,
"the arch over the organ chamber was raised, a window was
removed on the south side of the chancel and the the corresponding
arch to the south chapel was formed". Pushing back the back
choir stall and slightly rearranging other stalls increased the
available space in the chancel. Before 1897-8 the chancel walls
were rough and undecorated, but the church was able to use the
skills of Mr. A. O. Hemming of London to smooth down the walls
as he was already working at Cromford church. Black
and white polished marble paving was also installed in the chancel
at this time, paid for by the Statham family as a memorial
to their parents.
The picture was taken from just inside the main gate and shows
us a full graveyard round the church; this is where many of
the older headstones are. Nowadays many of the inscriptions have
been worn away by weathering, as can be seen in a modern photograph
if you click on the link to St. Giles' Church below. But one can
imagine that when this card was taken over 110 years ago the
headstones would have still been easy to read. It is interesting
to see the large chest tomb on the right with its railings still
intact. During the wars railings were removed from many places
and were melted down.
The postcard has a writing
strip on the front right hand side, though it has not been included
here. This strip
was intended to be used for the message, and only the address of
the recipient could be written on the back of cards at that time.
Whilst some printers and publishers continued using the side message
strip until about 1910, its usage had mostly stopped in 1904 as
people were allowed to write the message and address on the back
of the card from then onwards.
You may like to view more onsite information
of St Giles' from 1300
Parish Church Baptisms, Marriages & Burials
Inscriptions - a Surnames Index
St Giles', MIs in the Church
View even more about the church by clicking on the images below: