Sir Joseph Whitworth, the nineteenth century machine toolmaker
and engineer, owned Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale. He died
at Monte Carlo on 22 Jan 1887, aged 83, and was buried at
St. Helen's on 2 Feb 1887. During his lifetime he drew up
plans for the village and these were fulfilled thanks to
generous endowments from his estate. He had, according to
his biographer Terence Kilburn, hoped to build a Comprehensive
Village College but his wife, Mary Louisa (formerly Orrell)
preferred a Social Centre.
The Institute was a compromise and is just one of the things
the Whitworths did to enrich the lives of Darley Dale's inhabitants.
The Institute was completed shortly after Whitworth
Hospital and not long before it was finished a report of the
project was published in The Derby Mercury. "The
Whitworth Institute is near Darley Railway station. The cost
must approach 20,000l.. In it there will be baths, reading
room, and concert room ; and 14 acres of land to be laid out
for recreation purposes, such as football, cricket, lawn tennis
and other amusements".
In August 1908 the Manchester Guardian published details of
Whitworth's estate, out of which his Executors had contributed £69,724
17s. towards the Institute, the Hospital and other projects
in Darley Dale.
Although she wasn't present at the Institute's opening ceremony
Lady Whitworth wrote a letter that was read out to those who
the building was described as follows: "The east front
is built of Stancliffe stone, which is noted for its great
durability. The east front - that facing the Matlock Road -
is composed of a five pillared arcade, by which entrance is
gained through a Gothic door. Immediately over the arcade are
three large perpendicular windows, the centre being an oriel
... The semi-circular room which forms the southern adjunct
to the building is the billiard-room." ... "The
swimming bath is at the other end and at the back a covered gymnasium".
After Lady Whitworth died Stancliffe Hall became a boys'
preparatory school and the two large portraits of Sir Joseph
and Lady Whitworth that had been at the Hall were moved to
 Kilburn, Terence (1987) "Joseph
Whitworth, Toolmaker", Scarthin Books, Cromford,
ISBN 0 907758 22 3. Kilburn's book was the first modern popular
biography of him. The foreword was written by A. E. Derbyshire,
the then Chairman of the Whitworth Trust.
 The Derby Mercury, 4 Sep,
 The Derby Mercury, 28
 Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire,
Whitworth - "Lives Which Hung by a Thread",
a magazine article about the Whitworth Sharpshooter which
now includes (Dec 2008) additional material about both Whitworth
and the development of the rifle.