Derby’s year of culture

A city, which has introduced us to everything from the world’s first factory to Lara Croft, is now transforming the visitor experience. At the cutting edge of industry and technology for centuries, Derby’s latest innovation has been to reinvent the way in which visitors to the city can discover what makes it so special.


Drawing on the work of local artists Tim Clapcott and Arnold Pollock – as well as its history, industrial heritage, and present-day creative genius – Derby now offers its visitors an “augmented reality town trail”, which brings together all aspects of public art, open-air museums, and a self-guided trail.


The walk-of-fame trail uses public art installations with computer-generated information to tell the Derby story through the people who have made a significant contribution to the city.


Earning her own star on the new trail is Lara Croft. The video game character – who already has a road named after her in the city – may be fictional, but the English archaeologist, beloved by millions in games and films, was “born” at video game developer Core Design in Derby.


Or, ‘meet’ local lad, Liam Sharp, whose talent for art was spotted at his school in Derby, and who is now a British comic book artist, writer and publisher. His global fame increased dramatically when he began working on books including Superman and Batman for DC Comics as well as X-Men, Hulk and Spider-Man for Marvel Comics.


Spot a true Hollywood star by discovering more about proud Derby born and bred movie actor Jack O’ Connell, who has worked alongside stars such as George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The former St Benedict schoolboy found fame, and a teenage following, in TV’s ground-breaking ‘Skins’ and now boasts a long list of film and television credits.


Physically, each star is a locally-forged cast iron plaque – one of the many key industries associated with Derby. Artistically, each one of the pavement plaques depicts a leading light of the city. And in terms of augmented reality, each one “pops-up” to engage with the visitor to show how their story has helped contribute towards the very essence of Derby.


As far as possible, everything connected with this has also been Made in Derby, including the App, which visitors can easily download for free in order to interact with this artistic and entertaining town trail. Now set to increase in scale and significance with the unveiling of Made in Derby II, the trail may also leave other destinations around the globe wondering whether Derby has once again created a world’s first.


The Made in Derby invention works especially well in a destination like Derby, where the DNA of the city can be traced to both industrial heritage, and cutting-edge technology. It also allows the famous names associated with Derby to tell their own stories, and to leave visitors better-placed to understand exactly what it is that has made it the city it is today.


Visitors to Derby will simply need to use the free WiFi hotspot to download the “Made in Derby” app. It is available to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.  Scan the plaque to find out more. Or, visit


Another development for Derby in the summer of 2020, will be the appearance of another city centre trail in the shape of several very colourful and highly visible rams!



The story goes that people travelled from all over the country to see the famous and legendary “Derby Ram”. And in common with similar trails in other UK city centres, which have been successful in bringing thousands of visitors, it is hoped that the new trail will do the same once it opens to the public in June, 2020. Best of all, it will be a free, walkable art sculpture trail that will take people around the highlights of the city centre. Further details can be found at, @DerbyRamTrail, and #TheRamsAreComing.


In what is quickly turning into a year of culture for the city, Derby’s history, heritage and future, meanwhile, will be celebrated in 2020 on the site of the world’s first factory, with the opening of a major new £17m Museum of Making. Located in the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, it will be a contemporary space telling Derby’s 300-year history of innovation and “making”.


Revealing the whole building to the public for the very first time, the new Museum will display over 50,000 objects including the Rolls-Royce Eagle Engine, which helped power the first transatlantic flight 100 years ago in June 1919.


It is scheduled to open on September 19.


For further updates, follow @MuseumofMakingand #MakingtheMuseumofMaking, or visit


All tourist information can be found at