Derbyshire Lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The ODNB currently includes the life stories of over 60, 000 men and women who died in or before 2014.

Of these 60, 000 people, nearly 950 have close ties to Derbyshire—through families, education, work or residence.

Joseph Wright

Here you’ll find some famous (and perhaps less-well-known) Derbyshire faces, including the artist Joseph Wright of Derby (above) and (below) the Tudor noblewoman Bess of Hardwick and one-time manager of Derby County FC, Brian Clough. Click on an image to read more. Then discover the 'who and how' in Derbyshire by searching the ODNB for people by place.


Bess of Hardwick Joseph Davis Alan Bates Erasmus Darwin 
Brian Clough John Flamsteed Vera Brittain Stephen Bloomer
William Cavendish Geoffrey Fisher Sir Richard Arkwright

Who and how? in Derbyshire

As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:

(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)

How do I search?

Finding people in the Oxford DNB is easy.

  • to discover more Derbyshire people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Derbyshire (or elsewhere), or who died and were buried here. Search by county, city, town, village, church, and even street.
  • you can also search the ODNB’s 70 million words for places (e.g. Chatsworth). For this use Text Search.

 UK map

We also have more tips on using the ODNB for local and family history

What else does the Oxford DNB offer?

  • Free biography podcast: as well as 58,200 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection. There are now over 250 episodes in the archive. Recent highlights include Roald Dahl, George Orwell, John Lennon, and Margaret Thatcher.
  • Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
  • Don’t forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Derbyshire libraries: just type your library card number in the box here.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription
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