The stadium was opened in 1956. The record attendance at Derwent Park was set in 1965 when 17,741 spectators turned up for a third round Challenge Cup match against Wigan.
Floodlights were installed in 1990 and were first used on 17 October when Cumbria faced the touring Australians during the 1990 Kangaroo Tour in front of 6,750 fans on a cold night with Australia victorious 42–10 in a dominant display. Derwent also hosted the opening game of the 1994 Kangaroo Tour between Cumbria and Australia on a cold, wet day in front of only 4,227 fans. Australia were again dominant, winning 52–8 (Note that in both 1990 and 1994, the Australian team was composed mainly of the mid-week team and not those who were expected to play Test matches).