“I am sure that all those associated with the school will enjoy reading this book, which will bring back many memories as well as the history of Tapton House”

A History of Tapton House Home of George Stephenson b.1781 d.1848

Foreword by Robert Stephenson Roper – oldest living relative of George Stephenson

This book explores the history of Tapton House (Home of George Stephenson b.1781 d.1848, and its residents from 1794, when it was built, to the year 2000. The residents included Isaac Wilkinson, a wealthy Chesterfield banker, who built the house; George Yeldham Ricketts, who managed to get rid of a fortune, left to him by Isaac, very quickly; George Stephenson the railway engineer, Clay Cross industrialist, horticulturalist and friend of Joseph Paxton of Chatsworth House fame and the Markham family, industrialists and civic leaders Charles, Rosa, Charles Paxton, Arthur and Violet. In its time Tapton has been an elegant home, a ladies boarding school, a co-educational school and finally a college of further education.

The book contains many previously unpublished illustrations and will appeal to those who are interested in discovering more about the house and the people who lived and worked there in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It also gives us a chance to revisit the period when it was Tapton House School, to discover yet more about the place and people we loved so much.


Dear Len
Many thanks for ‘A History of Tapton House’. A thoroughly captivating work. Especially to an Old Taptonian but also to an Old Cestrefeldonian. My mind boggles at your dedication and scholarship.
Brian Cresswell, Chester, OT 1949-56

Hello Len
‘A History of Tapton House’ arrived Monday, thanks. It looks splendid. You are the embodiment of Tenax Propositi! Whilst the rest of us think something is quite a good idea, you get on and DO it! What a massive amount of work in such a relatively short time.
All the best Des Baker, Bristol, OT 1949-56

Dear Len
I am writing to say how much I have enjoyed your book ‘A History of Tapton House’. My husband is now reading it and 6 members of the family have bought a copy. Such great people living in such wonderful surroundings, makes for a very interesting and knowledgeable book. Having lived in the park for 20 years all the family still enjoy our visits to Tapton.
Thank you for giving me so many memories.
Yours Elaine Findley, Elton Nr Matlock

Dear Len
Just a line to thank you for sending me a copy of the book and my congratulations on it. It is a very well researched piece of local history that is also readable and enjoyable. Good luck with it. With best wishes.
Tony Benn, House of Commons, MP Chesterfield

Dear Mr Thompson
As an unrepentant non-historian I do congratulate you on your production of A HISTORY OF TAPTON HOUSE. It is comprehensive and, although the earlier part of the book is only of passing interest to me, I was impressed by the information about Tapton House from 1920 onwards. There is a considerable amount of factual information unknown to me. I will add the book to my library.
All best wishes,
Tom Jones, Chesterfield, OT 1936-40

Dear Mr Thompson
Thank you for sending your book ‘A History of Tapton House’ so promptly (I already have your other two books – fascinating reading!) I do have a particular interest in it because, not only did I attend Tapton House, but also I lived at Murray House, which is shown on the map of 1877. I remember the Markham’s private graveyard, which was in between Murray House and Sidlings Farm. My friend and I used to sneak in there under the fence and wonder around. (No thought of vandalism in those days – just the thought that it was a privilege to be there. It was so peaceful). Thanks for reviving some memories!
Yours sincerely ,
Jean Nash, Weymouth Dorset, OT 1944-48

Dear Mr Thompson
I must thank you for your signed copy of ‘A History of Tapton House’. It is becoming a custom to expect a work of such high standard under your name. Although I have not read it all through as yet the book appears to be, if anything, more mature even than your last. You have shown yourself adept at research – a blessing in itself. The question now is what next? I hope you will not finish writing now. There must be many topics of local, county or national level to which you could turn your hand. The help, which you receive from members of your family, (which, I believe puts things on an even higher plane) will, I trust, continue. My sincere congratulations and very best wishes for the future
Yours truly,
Sam Dunkerley, Burton upon Trent, Woodwork teacher 1947-55

Dear Len
I received your books; thanks a lot. I am most impressed and want to congratulate you on two great pieces of writing and research. I even discovered that I featured on two of the photos with my old friends Roy Hughes and Garth Rigby. Roy was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after leaving school and I soon lost touch with Garth. If you ever hear from him or about him I would appreciate you letting me know. Once again thanks for bringing back so many memories of an age long past
Mike Barnes, Basingstoke, OT 1950-55

Len Many thanks for the ‘A History of Tapton House’ book. It is a very interesting read (although I haven’t finished it yet) and thank you for all the work involved. I am very proud to have attended Tapton in the fifties and reading about it brings back many memories. I moved about the country a lot after getting married in the 60s but now live in Dronfield, and at least I can visit the House and gardens again. Once again many thanks for the books, they are wonderful, and certainly manage to turn back the years.
Margaret Berrisford, Dronfield, OT 1952-56

Dear Mr Thompson I received a copy of your book, ‘A History of Tapton House’, today with great delight. I had looked forward to getting it with much anticipation and was not disappointed. I very much enjoyed learning about Tapton House. Once again, I am very pleased to have your book. It has given me great pleasure and I am most grateful you wrote. Thank you. I hope it was a labour of love.
Yours truly,Mary Hunter Schuster, San Diego USA

I think it’s SPLENDID. Very attractive, informative and a delight to read. Your style is most attractive and makes reading easy.
John Kenworthy-Browne, London, Non Taptonian – Author of ‘Guide to Country Houses’

Front Cover

Rear Cover

Tapton House School Badge

Tapton House World War 2 Remembrance Plaque

George Stephenson Portrait