Kilburn in Derbyshire, is a large village situated 6 miles north of Derby, with a population of around 3500. There was much new housing development in the latter half of the 20th century, mostly council, and most working residents have to commute to Derby, Nottingham and other larger places as the only sizeable industry in the area is Denby pottery.
This was not always the case. The name Kilburn means kiln by the stream and the village at one time had 2 brickyards, from which came the bricks that built 19th century Kilburn. There was also a glass works in the village. However it was coal mining that was the main cause of Kilburn's growth in the 19th century. Kilburn colliery finally closed in 1967. It had been closed some years earlier but then reopened when miners from nearby Denby's pit broke through into its workings.
Denby colliey was closed afew years later in the 1970's, bringing a bitter blow to its residents, many of whom had worked there for years.
Kilburn village shops are in Chapel Street, named after the dominant Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, built in 1891. The road is narrow here and traffic congestion has always been a problem. Another long running problem concerns the tar-pits. These are holes in the ground near Cinderhill Farm on the west side of the main road. They were made by the farmer, with due planning permission, in order to extract clay which was dispatched by lorry to feed the kilns at Denby Pottery and the defuct Aglite plant. When the clay was exhausted, Silicone of Belper obtained permission to fill the holes with acid tar oil, a form of sludge which is the residue of their oil making process. Covered with Fullers Earth this would solidify, the experts said. But it did not. After nearly 20 years the sludge still rises to the top and nobody knows quite what to do next. Meanwhile, nothing can be done with the land which was scheduled in 1994 to be part of a 135 acre industrial site.
Kilburn Hall in Church Street is hidden from public view behind high walls and padlocked gates. It dates partly from 1712 with considerable additions in the 20th century, during which time it has changed ownership several times and was being used as offices in the later part of the century.
Nearly all the village social events, from whist drives to wedding receptions are held in the village hall, which also holds a morning service on the first Sunday of every month to complement those held at Horsley Church, which is the nearest church to the village.
Kilburn is well endowed with public houses. The Cricketers, despite being a little out of the way is always busy at lunch times serving food. The Station Hotel has long outlasted the station itself, which ceases to exist even before the last regular passenger train ran on the Derby to Ripley line more than half a century ago. The Hunters arms takes its name from the Hunter family who owned the Hall and virtually the whole village for 200 years up to 1898. Facing the Hunters Arms in what is the oldest part of the village, the former White Hart is now a private house.
The village has a thriving primary school. Most children move on to John Flamstead Community School in Denby at the age of 11.