How Has Derby City Centre Changed in the Last 70 Years?

As celebrations begin for the Queen’s Jubilee, we thought that we would reflect on the last 70 years and how Derby has changed since the beginning of her majesty’s reign.

The shops and businesses may have changed hands however, many of the buildings are still standing today.

Keep reading to take a trip to the past!

Land and Property

Derby, Midland Drapery and Boots, 1953

1953 was a year to remember. Everyday life for the ordinary citizen in Britain was, by the standards of today, quite simple.

See below the average prices for land and residential properties. Unfortunately, we were not able to find credible data on the commercial property market.

Average price of agricultural land

£80 per acre – UK average.

Now, it costs between £8,000 and £10,000 per acre in the East Midlands.

Average house prices

£2,006 – UK average.

Now, you are looking at around £232,901 in Derby alone!


Shopping was completely different back in the day, not only were the prices a lot less in the 1950’s, but we also had a different form of currency – three units of currency in fact, including the penny, shilling, and pound. There were 12 pence (d) in every shilling (s) and 20 shillings (s) in every pound (£).

Take a look at the average price for staple groceries in the 1950s. We have included conversions to today’s currency to show you the price differences from then to now.

East Street in 1953 – Looking towards St Peter’s Street and St Peter’s Church.

Average price for groceries (1953 – 2022):

ProductRetail Price (1953)Retail Price (2022)Percentage Rise
Loaf of Bread1s. 3d (6p)£1.15180.1%
Flour (1.5 kg)1s. 6 ¼d (7.1 p)67p161.6%
1 Pint of Milk6 ½d 30p51p51.8%
Eggs3d – 5d (1 – 2p each)£2.22 (Per dozen)198.2%
Butter (250g)3s (15p)£1.81135.4%
Sugar (1 kg)7d (35p)78p76.1%
Cheese (1 kg)2s. 2d (11p)£6.40193.2%

Derby Football Team

During the 1952/53 season, Derby competed in the Football League First Division where they finished in 22nd place with 32 points and were relegated to the Second Division, along with Stoke City whom Derby beat 2-1 in the penultimate match of the season sending Stoke down.

Top end of Wardwick where it meets Friar Gate, Derby, in 1953.

Coronation Party

While there is not much detail on how the Derby community celebrated the Queen’s Coronation, it was noted that on a national level many people bought televisions to watch the live broadcast of the special occasion in 1953.

However, we were able to find a photograph from that day of a party that was hosted for retired men and women.

Coronation party held for retired men and women in Derby, 1953.

Derby has come a long way since 1953 and there is plenty more to come in the future. With the Becketwell development, Friar Gate Goods Yard and new University Business School making fantastic progress, the future is looking bright for the city centre.


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