Willington village in Derbyshire, now home to the Mercia Marina, is situated 5 miles south of Derby, just off the Derby to Burton road and a short distance from the historic town of Repton. Willington is an interesting place, once overshadowed by the great cooling towers of Willington power station just to the north. Willington power station closed down in 1999, with most of the land cleared for a proposed development of a new housing estate containing 950 homes. By the time you read this, the cooling towers may have also gone.
The Trent and Mersey canal follows the line of the Midland Railway through the village and the river Trent is just to the south, so Willington was an ideal communications centre in past times. The canal was built in 1770 and barges were drawn along by horses.
In 1838 a toll bridge was built over the trent.
A local group of dignitaries pressed for a bridge to
be built and in 1835 permission was granted, by act of
parliament, to construct a toll bridge between the
two villages. It was designed and built by a
distinguished engineer of the time. James Trubshaw Esq
ar a total cost of £10,560. The opening ceremony took
place on August 7th 1839.
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, pressure
mounted to free the bridge from what was seen as
an iniquitous toll. After much local effort the
"freedom of the bridge" was finally purchased from
the bridge trust, largely as a result of local
subscription. The bridge then passed into the
control of Derbyshire County Council.
Auoust 1st 1898 was a day of celebration. and a
procession between the two villages, followed by
a feast in Repton, marked this great day.
The bridge has not changed significantly over the
past 100 years and it is now a grade 2 listed structure.
The cercemony of its freeing from toll was celebrated by the two villages on august
1st 1998. The toll board hangs in the parish Church of St Wystan at Repton. See List of Tolls
St Michaels Church is pretty, with a modest west tower complete with quoins, and a Norman tympanium over its south door. It was heavily restored in the early part of the 19th century, when a north transept was added. It contains a richly decorative 18th century font.
In the gravel beds by the river Trent, a settlement of the Breaker period has been excavated, the houses being of timber and on a trapezoidal plan. In the same area, Roman and Saxon settlements have been identified and artefacts found which are now in the Derby Museum.
There are several pubs in Willington including the Green Man and The Rising Sun, both products of the early canal era and both popular with canal boaters during the summer months.
A new development has been the Mercia Marina, built on the site of a trout fishery which has a capacity for nearly 600 boats to be moored onsite. Onsite is a Tea Room and gift shop with facilities in the planning.
Photographs from Willington including Willington Bridge at Derbyshire and Peak District Photographs