The city is one of the few cities that have retained a name with a Viking origin, like York, which had the Viking name of Jorvik. The city recently celebrated its 2,000th year as a settlement. New research (throughout 2004) into the history and archaeology of Derby has provided evidence that the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons probably co-existed, occupying two areas of land surrounded by water. The Saxon Chronicles (c. 900) state that "Derby is divided by Water". These areas of land were known as "Northworthy" and Deoraby, and w at the "Irongate" (North) side of the city. Ron Mackeown of Derby Heritage Development Trust has produced a paper on this subject and his findings are already being acclaimed by the academic community. During the Civil War of 1642-1646 the town was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops commanded by Sir John Gell, who was appointed Governor of Derby in 1643. These troops took part in the defence of Nottingham, the siege of Lichfield, the battle of Hopton Heath and ere locatedmany other engagements in Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as successfully defending Derbyshire against royalist armies. Derby and Derbyshire were centres of Britain's industrial revolution. In 1717 Derby was the site of the first water powered silk mill in Britain, built by John Lombe and George Sorocold after Lombe had reputedly stolen the secrets of silk-throwing from Piedmont in what is now Italy (he is alleged to have been poisoned by Piedmontese in revenge in 1722).

In 1759 Jedediah_Strutt patented and built a machine called the Derby Rib attachment that revolutionised the manufacture of Hose. This attachment was used on the Rev. Lee's Framework knitting machine; it was placed in front of and worked in unison with Lee's Frame, to produce ribbed hose (stockings). The partners were Jedediah Strutt, William Woollatt had been joined in 1758 by John Bloodworth & Thomas Stafford, leading hosiers in Derby. The Patent was obtained in January 1759, after three years Bloodworth & Stafford were paid off and Samuel Need, hosier of Nottingham joined the partnership the firm was known as Need, Strutt & Woollatt. The Patent expired in 1773, though the partnership continued until 1781 when Need died. Messrs Wright the bankers of Nottingham recommended that Richard Arkwright apply to Strutt & Need for finance for his Cotton Spinning Mill. The first Mill opened in Nottingham in 1770 this was driven by horses. In 1771 Richard_Arkwright, Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt built the world's first water-powered Cotton Spinning mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, developing a form of power that was the catalyst for the industrial revolution. This was followed in Derbyshire by Jedediah Strutt's Cotton Spinning Mills at Belper. The first, South Mill 1775, North Mill 1784 the latter destroyed by fire 12_January 1803 was rebuilt and started work again at the end of 1804,West Mill 1792 commenced working 1796, Reeling Mill 1897, Round Mill took 10 years to build 1803-1813 commenced working 1816 and Milford Mills 1778. The Belper and Milford Mills were ''not'' built in partnership with Arkwright. These mills were all Strutt owned and financed.