Three photographs of the miniature railway that used to run
in the Derwent Pleasure Gardens.
The Derwent Gardens were requisitioned during the Second
World War, but were they were re-planned post war[1}.
An advertisement published in the spring of 1950 announced
that "The Derwent Pleasure Gardens are now open".
If you were a patron, access was free. You could just sit
on a deck chair or enjoy the attractions. These included
a miniature railway that had been built by Billy Roberts
and introduced in 1949,
the leisure gardens, the cafe, a lovely fountain and picturesque
walks, an oval miniature speedway, an aviary and various
children's amusements which included swing boats.
Mr. Swain, who ran the Derwent Gardens with his brother at
that time, had turned a large concrete building left behind
by the army into an aquarium. The top photograph is dated
1951 and shows the miniature train going at full steam.
The second picture shows Valerie, Ann and Robert Clay, with
their cousin Cynthia Moore, enjoying an eagerly anticipated
outing to the Derwent Gardens on Whit Monday 1950. The miniature
train had been much discussed beforehand and a ride on it
surpassed all expectations. It was magic. And the knitwear
was courtesy of the magic fingers of Mrs. Clay! The sign
attached to the railway's small water tank tells us that
the cost of a ride for adults was 6d and a child's ticket
The final photo, below, is one for all railway enthusiasts
to enjoy. It is a beautiful picture of the hand-built miniature
engine and tender, a Pacific Class 4-6-2. Quite
distinctive is the cover of the safety valves (just in front
of the cab) which is square, not the usual round shape. The
tender is a six-wheeler.
"Lady Joyce" - built by Stan
There was another miniature railway on the Hall Leys Park
in Matlock and
a photograph in Julie Bunting's book on Matlock and Matlock
a train of very similar design, but without a nameplate,
on the Hall Leys in 1961. The twin sister of Lady Joyce was
2701, built in 1948 by Stan Battison and judging by these
photographs both Battison locos seem to have been used at
the Derwent Gardens track. As far as we can tell, the Matlock
Bath locomotive ("Lady Joyce") is believed to have gone to
Thoresby Hall, losing its name-plates along the way, but
the miniature railway there closed down in 1974 because of
We have just learned (2016) that the "Lady Joyce" locomotive
is now in service at Newby Hall near Ripon. It has been restored,
with financial help from Mr. Battison's daughter; her name,
Joyce, is on the nameplate once more.
After the train ceased to run a horse, owned by a man called
a popular attraction. The horse plodded up and down the gardens,
providing rides for children.
Billy Roberts ran the Derwent Gardens in the 1950s and 1960s
and after they closed his son Robert, then a young boy, used
to walk around the former attraction. He says that Billy knew
Stan Battison very well and helped him build some of the locomotives;
as a boy Robert visited his Ilkeston home. Billy also built
an engine, "The Flying Scotman", which was possibly
run at Trentham Gardens. It is said that Walt Disney once visited
England and purchased "The Flying Scotsman" to travel
between his studios.
Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this
 "The Matlocks, The Official
Guide Book" (about 1950). There was also a joint advertisement
for the Hall Leys Park and the Derwent Pleasure Grounds which
said there was a miniature railway at both.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
8 April 1950, advertisement. The monkeys were housed in an
enclosure built by the Swains at the far end of the gardens,
but this was vandalised and the monkeys escaped.
 From information obtained at the Midland
Railway Centre, Swanwick Junction, by Bryan 'Smudger' Smith.
 Information from and research by
 Although not a great deal seems
to be known about him, Stanley Arthur Battison was born in
Heanor in 1906, the son of Arthur and Rachel Battison. Arthur
was a coal miner. Stanley married in 1923
and died in Ilkeston in 1960, aged 54.
 A miniature railway still runs
on the Hall Leys but the engine is very different.
 Bunting, Julie (2002) "Matlock
and Matlock Bath", Tempus Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0-7524-2455-6.
 With very grateful thanks to Pam Howard,
who has recently visited Newby Hall.
 From the late Ken Smith.
From information supplied by Robert Roberts (Nov 2016).