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Ada Belfield - so good they named it twice

Published: 6 March 2019

If it’s good enough for New York, then it’s good enough for a Derbyshire County Council care home.

Artist's impression: Ada Belfield Centre and Belper Library

When residents at Ada Belfield Home for Older People were asked for their ideas of what to call a new £10m home in Belper there was only one choice for them.

So the 40-bed home and library being built by the county council to replace it in Derwent Street will be called Ada Belfield Centre and Belper Library.

Council leader Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“It was important to listen to the current residents’ views on the name for the new care home which is why we’ve embraced their suggestion.

“Although of a different political persuasion, there is no doubt that Ada Belfield played a pivotal role in Belper throughout her career and we are pleased to continue to honour her dedication.

“If it’s good enough for New York to be named twice, then it’s good enough for Ada Belfield.”

Philanthropist and magistrate Ada Belfield was an alderman on Derbyshire County Council from 1940 to 1970.

She was chairman of the former Belper Urban District Council, on which she served from 1949 to 1955.

She was associated with the Derby and Derbyshire Association for the Deaf and the Derby and Derbyshire Association for the Blind. In 1962 she was awarded an MBE.

She lived in the care home which bore her name and died in 1979.

The state-of-the-art replacement home is being built on the site of the former Thornton’s factory in Derwent Street.

Contractors Robertson Construction Group have been continuing to clear the site of redundant factory buildings to replace the home on Field Lane which no longer meets modern standard.

All the current residents will be offered a home in the new development.

Councillor Jean Wharmby, Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said:

“This is part of our commitment to provide high quality care homes to ensure older people get the care and support they need.

“The standard of care our staff offer at Ada Belfield is not in doubt but the building simply doesn’t meet the modern standards that we have come to expect and our residents deserve.

“This new building will be a wonderful addition to the town while retaining the much-loved history of the original site.” 

As the site sits within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, the building has been designed to reflect this.

The factory’s original Derwent Street façade is being retained along with the oldest factory where the brand new library will be housed with the design showcasing the original architecture.

It will replace the current library in Bridge Street, allowing easier access with a pedestrian link from the new development to town centre shops.

It is hoped the new development will be completed in January 2020.