Linking Derby Around the Globe

Derby, Connecticut is not the first or the only "Derby" in the world. We have had links to all of the other Derby sites listed here for a few years now. You can take your own virtual tour by clicking on the links above to visit our namesake locations. Maybe one could become a "sister city!" We are also away of a Derby, Colorado and Derby, New York, but are unaware of any web sites for them.

We have had several ties to Derby, England with a live video conference and regular news updates from English correspondent Jim Brennan. Now comes word that Derby, England is working on restoring its old canal system and adding a linear park. The city of Derby, Connecticut has also compled the work on its own Greenway linear park along the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers on top of the flood control walls and across O'Sullivan's Island. Derby and Shelton also have a system of canals, though unlike Derby, England's, they were designed to provide a source of water and power to factories in the area rather than transportation. Ironically, there was once a company formed to build a transportation canal that would have run through Derby on its way to Massachusetts. It was never built. 

Click here to read about the Derby, England project.

In 2008, Derby native Dan Santoro visited with Barbara Jackson, then Mayor of Derby, England and presented her with a souvenir Derby, Connecticut t-shirt. On the left is current Derby, England Mayor Sean Marshall. Mayor Jackson returned the favor by sending the book "An Illustrated History of Derby" to Mayor Staffieri.

Derby, CT to Derby, UK

Video Conference  

This is the view they saw in England!

Following an effort launched by a British journalist, the City of Derby, CT was joined in a live video teleconference with its counterpart in the City of Derby, England on Wednesday February 9, 2000. The journalist, Jim Brennan of the Derby (UK) Telegraph started the effort in the hope that he could bring together the Derby towns and cities of the world for the millennium.

The Derby, CT team, led by Mayor Marc Garofalo used the SNET Video Teleconference Suite at Science Park, while the Mayor of Derby, England; Councillor Sara Bolton and her guests were at Mackworth College, Derby UK.

Mayor Garofalo's guests included Peter Virgo, a one-time resident of Derby, England who now resides in Derby, CT as well as other local officials and residents.

"This link provides a wonderful way in which we hope to strengthen the ties between our two cities", said Garofalo. "I want to express our thanks to Councillor Bolton and Mr. Brennan for their vision in proposing such an idea. Hopefully this event will lead to a closer relationship between our communities, possibly even a formal sister-city affiliation."

The event is not the first exchange between the two cities. Most recently in the late 1970's, Derby, CT's Boy Scout Troop #3 hosted Boy Scouts who had traveled from Derby, England. The late Troop #3 Scoutmaster Ed Strang also visited Derby, England many times over the years.  During World War II, Derby, CT donated a fire truck to be used by Derby, England in the war effort.  Unfortunately, the truck never arrived.  German forces in the Atlantic sank the transport carrying the vehicle. Mayor Garofalo also extended his thanks to SNET Business Services, especially Bill McKernan and Anthony Marro, Jr. for donating the bandwidth which made his community's participation possible. 

Here is Jim Brennan's  story in his own words:

My search for other Derbys began two years ago. In my job as a journalist in my home town, Derby UK, I was reporting the first plans by various organisations to mark the new Millennium, and I decided my own Millennium project would be that search. I began by looking in the files of the Derby Evening Telegraph, for which I now (after more than 50 years in journalism here and elsewhere) write a personal page every week. One of the most dramatic, wartime items was a report in the paper in 1941, when a citizen of Derby Connecticut gave an ambulance for civil aid in our Derby (which had been at war since September, 1939). Unfortunately it was destroyed by a German bomb on Plymouth, the port of arrival. (Check our history quiz to find out who the benefactor was! Click Here)

On the internet I found a list of 20 Derbys, of which 18 were in the United States, but most of them were not towns in their own right. The other two were the UK Derby, and one in Tasmania, Australia. The Tasmanian one is a former mining town, now a suburb in Dorset Municipality, with a population of about 290, according to an email from Bev Jennings, a Dorset community development officer.

I found another, in West Kimberley, Australia. with a population of about 3,000, and exchanged greetings with the chairman of the shire council, Councillor Peter McCumstie. A wartime note there: an air raid by Japanese bombers in 1942.

I was surprised by the difficulty of establishing how exactly all these Derbys got their name. The mystery increased when I found that Derby, Connecticut, had previously been named Birmingham. Obtaining definitive accounts of these and other matters is now on my agenda.

From the beginning I discussed my project with the mayor here. We have a new one every year, and the present one, Councillor Sara Bolton (until the May elections), is looking forward to exchanging greetings with the mayors of other Derbys in a video link from Mackworth College here. She is awaiting confirmation from the other Derbys, and the international department of Mackworth College has suggested February 6 as the likely date.

Though the college is now handling the technical side, I am continuing my input by reporting progress in my column, but more importantly by encouraging community links - your colleges with ours, and such bodies as chambers of commerce, professional groups like the local law society, churches, and voluntary groups of all kinds. Any approach to me will be passed on to the appropriate person here.

My email is and web site (for my own publication, the online Global Journalism Review) is Fax/Tel +44(0)1332-551884. Derbeians everywhere can be sure of a response.

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