Sunday 14 February 2010

From QUAD to quad

Just across the road from QUAD is Derby Council House. Constructed between 1939 and 41, it has four sides built around a large open courtyard, or quad.

I've never been a history buff. Places are my thing, far more than the past. But a few months ago, I was invited to join a group being given a tour of the normally less public areas of the Council House. The tour was to be lead by the Mayor, Mr Sean Marshall and would include some of his experiences from his year in office. I accepted the offer because I thought it would be quite interesting. Actually, I was wrong. It was very interesting; much more so than I had expected.

I enjoyed our time in the main council chamber. By chance, I ended up in just about the right place on the benches. The ritual and etiquette required in such proceedings was, to a degree, reminiscent of what would be required in a more traditional church or a karate dojo. Interesting to consider the kinds of debates which had taken place, potentially affecting the lives of all of those of us who choose to live or work within the city boundaries.

But for me, the most fascinating aspect of the tour was to see the range of artefacts on display. Some were of monetary value. Others less so. But the stories which surrounded them gave a sense of the history of the city and of connections it has worldwide, both in the past and ongoing; things which have shaped Derby over the years and made it the place it is today; things which happen outside of my experience, but are still part of the life of this city.

Often, I go about my daily business without giving much thought to this place where I live and, although this blog will not focus purely on Derby, I see this as an opportunity for me to look around from time to time, and discover more.

Incidentally, Derby City Council were planning a move to a new location. They've changed their minds! Good!

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