Derwent House is built in coursed gritstone, with a 1753 date plaque, although the house has evolved throughout the centuries. The middle section of the house is believed to date from the 17th century, whilst the rear was built during the Victorian period. The double-fronted bay windows were also added around this time. The house is a charming Grade II listed property with beamed ceilings, original fireplaces and quarry tile floors. It was the home of members of the Knowles family, who were involved in lead mining and railway construction. The house is mentioned on the Matlock trail.
John Knowles, a descendant of the family, built the houses next to Derwent House in 1857, hence Knowleston Place. Prior to this Knowleston gardens, opposite the house, was a hive of industrial activity with hemp yards (used for producing linen, rugs and paper), lead mining and lime burning. Knowleston Place was also once the home of a local boys' school and the head, Thomas Bunting, was also a lead miner. The land where the park now stands was part of the estate of the Knowles’ family and in 1898 Henry Knowles, nephew of John, bequeathed this to the parish of Matlock. This became known as Hall Leys Park. Over a century later, much of the splendour of the original park can still be enjoyed today.