St Elizabeth House


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Matlock Road, Belper, DE56 2JD


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Statutory Address:
Matlock Road, Belper, DE56 2JD

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Amber Valley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


House, 1896 by Maurice Hunter; commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter.

Reasons for Designation

St Elizabeth House, Belper, of 1896, commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter and designed by Maurice Hunter, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: *as an accomplished example of a late-C19 neo-Jacobean house with Arts and Crafts influences, designed by Maurice Hunter (later Hunter & Woodhouse, the Strutt family’s architectural practice of choice); *whilst a significant proportion of the internal fittings and decorative features have been lost, the surviving main staircase is an example of high-quality joinery, and the extant coloured-glass windows and screens are also of merit.

Historic interest: *for its strong association with the Strutt family, eminent mill-owners in Belper since the late C18; *as an example of the work of Hunter & Woodhouse in Belper as commissioned and paid for by George Herbert Strutt, as the family began to diversify from industry to philanthropy.

Group value: *with the nearby Registered Grade II* River Gardens, which were paid for by George Herbert Strutt in 1905 and for which Woodhouse & Hunter designed the tea house; *the house contributes extensively to the history and character of Belper, as reflected in its inclusion in the Belper Conservation Area and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


St Elizabeth House was constructed as ‘Quarry Bank’ on an open site adjacent to the former Weir Quarry on the northern edge of Belper in 1896. The house was designed by Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Hunter (later of Hunter and Woodhouse, a practice set up in 1897), and was commissioned by the mill entrepreneur George Herbert Strutt (1854-1928) for John Hunter.

George Herbert Strutt was the grandson of Jedediah Strutt (1726-97), the co-inventor of the Derby Rib machine, who also worked with Richard Arkwright with another spinner, Samuel Need, to build the cotton mill at Cromford where the water frame was first used. Strutt built his first mill in Belper in 1777 alongside workers’ housing (late-C18 terraced houses on Short Row and Long Row, and later housing on Wyver Lane, amongst others, are listed Grade II). By the mid-C19 there were eight Strutt mills in Belper (the one surviving Strutt mill, North Mill, is to the south-west of Elizabeth House and is listed Grade I). In 1897 the Strutt family sold their mills and set upon a period of diversification in Belper, constructing many public buildings (such as the Herbert Strutt School; listed Grade II) and farms, and large houses designed to attract businessmen to the area - all to the designs of Hunter and Woodhouse.

John and Maurice Hunter were brothers (their father, John senior (1844-86), had been a partner in WG and J Strutt). Maurice set up his architectural practice in Belper in 1888 after training as a civil engineer in Hull; he also acted as agent for the Strutt’s outlying regions, and was awarded an OBE for his services to the Fifth Sherwood Foresters although he never saw active service. John Hunter (1853-1937) was the Strutt’s private secretary, and also director of the mill business and leader of the Belper Urban District Council from 1876. He was also awarded an OBE.

Quarry Bank was built at a cost of £4000 by Walker and Slater of Derby (double that of the Strutt’s other houses in Belper) – the construction went to tender, which was unusual for the Strutts who usually did everything in house or used JK Ford of Derby. Henry Gillett of Belper was the plumber and glazier. The house was acclaimed as one of the most notable residences built by the Strutts in Belper, neo-Jacobean in style with Arts and Crafts influences. John Hunter died in 1937 and Arthur Strutt put the house up for auction in 1946.The sales particulars state that it was a ‘commodious Residence of sound construction’ with special attention being drawn to the fine oak woodwork and fittings. It was sold to the Franciscan Sisterhood and converted to St Elizabeth’s Catholic School. The coloured-glass windows in the drawing room and first-floor landing were inserted at this time. In 2001 it was sold and converted back into a private residence. St Elizabeth House was sold again in October 2019 when the interiors were stripped, with the exception of the coloured-glass windows and main staircase.


House, 1896 by Maurice Hunter; commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter.

MATERIALS: regularly-coursed squared gritstone and ashlar gritstone dressings; graded slate roofs. PLAN: two storeys with attic rooms and two-cell basement, rectangular in plan with an L-shaped extension to the north east. There are three axial stacks and a further stack to the front-left bay.

EXTERIOR: the house is roughly orientated north-east to south-west with the principal front facing south-east. The principal front is of three bays defined by gables with kneelers and ball finials. On the ground floor, off-centre in the central bay is a square porch with balustrading above and timber-panelled door; the remainder of the ground floor bay protrudes and has a crenelated parapet. The left-hand bay has a stepped buttress rising to a corbel supporting a canted oriel window with decorative tracery panels and a crenelated parapet at first-floor level. The first floor windows have hood moulds and within the gable ends are triple-slots with a drip mould above. On the south-east elevation there is a crenulated canted bay-window at the ground floor, and an oriel of the same design to that on the main elevation to the first floor. Within the gable is a three-light window with mullions and transoms. The north-west elevation has a canted bay-window to the right and a square bay-window in the centre, both with crenelated parapets. Off-centre in the central bay at attic level is single gable with kneelers and a three-light window. To the left of the gable are two C20 rooflights. There is a single entrance with steps in the left-hand bay. The extension to the north-east steps down to two-storeys from the main building, and then to a single storey which has a later C20 uPVC conservatory attached to the south-east elevation (a structure is show here on historic OS maps). All windows to the main house have mullions and transoms, and have metal or timber casements (probably 1940s replacements) throughout.

INTERIOR: the house is entered through the porch on the south-east elevation into a vestibule which is partitioned from the entrance hallway by a panelled oak screen with coloured patterned-glass panels and with a central door. There is a rooflight above the first part of the entrance hall which leads through an elliptical archway to the main hall from where all rooms on the ground floor can be accessed. The main feature of the hallway is the grand, open stair, constructed in oak with panelled spandrel framing (including an understairs cupboard). It has a curved, panelled quarter-landing at ground level, decoratively-carved newel posts with finials, a carved baluster, and egg-and-dart detailing. The principal rooms off the hallway were historically a dining room and drawing room. The dining room has a large north-west-facing bay window, and the south-west-facing windows in the drawing room are filled with stained glass depicting Saints (these probably date to the late 1940s). The main staircase leads to a gallery landing, with a large mullion-and-transom window with coloured glass including heraldic crests on the south-east side (overlooking the porch roof); this may be C19 in date. The landing has a moulded cornice, framed panels to the walls, and deep skirting boards. Off the landing are five rooms; and the attic storey, located on the north-west side of the house, has further rooms within the roofspace; these have recently (2020) been subdivided with stud walls.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 04/11/2020


Belper Derbyshire: People: The Strutts - Biography, accessed 24/06/2020 from
Houseladder sales particulars (nd) , accessed 25/06/2020 from
Rightmove sales particulars (2016), accessed 25/06/2020 from
The Guardian, Homes with stained glass, 19 April 2019 , accessed 24/06/2020 from
The Guardian, The brothers who made a stand, 8 November 2008, accessed 24/06/2020 from
Wikipedia: George Herbert Strutt, accessed 24/06/2020 from
Wikipedia: Jedediah Strutt, accessed 24/06/2020 from
Historic photographs and information supplied by applicant
Historic photographs from the ‘Belper and Proud’ and ‘Historic Belper’ Facebook groups (June 2020)
Ordnance Survey, Derbyshire (1900) (1:2500)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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