Holbrook is a Derbyshire village situated 2 miles south of Belper, on a hill commandinding attractive views of the surrounding countryside. The Saxon name for it was Hale Broc meaning Badger Hill.
The ancient Roman Portway runs through Holbrook and Romans used coal to surface it. Later the turnpike roads were built with their toll houses, one of which still stands on the Makeney road. In the early 1960's 2 Roman Kilns were discovered in the village.
H.P.Channon describes Holbrook in 1936 as a quiet village of stone and brick cottages which individually have no especial charm, yet, collectively are distinctly pleasing. On the surface little seems to have changed, though new houses have been built and older ones given a new facelift.
St Michaels church
Spotted Cow pub
St Michael's Church was built in 1761 as a private chapel to Holbrook Hall. It became a Parish church in 1835, though it required at that time some restoration work due to a period of neglect. It nearly burnt down twice, once in 1891 and again in 1907 when flues from the heating system became hot and set fire to the woodwork. Extensive damage was caused on both occasions.
Holbrook Hall was built in 1646 and has had a number of prominent residents including the mother of Sarah, the Duchess of York.
One resident in particular, a Mrs C.E.Arkwright, whose husband was a direct descendant of Richard Arkwright, of Cromford fame, was held in very real affection by the villagers for the charitable work she did, which included sending sick village folk to the seaside to recuperate from their illnesses and generally trying to help out anyone who found themselves in need of help. The hall is now a residential home for the elderly.
Three hundred years ago Holbrook was a busy little industrial village earning a living by framework knitting. By 1936 there was only one knitter left. The quality of work produced must of been high, as stockings were made for royalty in both England and Spain. Holbrook now seems to be mainly a commuter village for the surrounding towns of Belper and Derby. The village retains a shop and a popular primary school. A lot of clubs are based at the Arkwright Memorial Village Hall including the local playgroup. A village fete is held every summer.
There are three pubs in the village, the spotted cow, the Dead Poets Inn and the Wheel. The Dead Poets Inn holds an annual pie eating competion raising money for charity. Two other well known people coming from Hobrook are Michael Porter, a celebrated artist now living in Cornwall and Lian James Wharton the Derbyshire cricketer.