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Matlock: Bank Road (7), 1901-1905
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Bank Road & the Steep-Gradient Tramway

Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1906 - the new spire

Smedley Memorial Hospital

Bridge family,
19th & 20thc

From the Vernon Lamb Archive


Bank Road

Here are two images of Bank Road at the very beginning of the twentieth century. Both are relatively quiet scenes, taken from just above the point where Bank Road is at its widest. We can see tramlines in the road on both views although there isn't a tram in sight in the top image. Perhaps it was too early in the day for the cars to be running.

The sender of the first card wrote "Where Mother went on Sunday afternoon ... It is a very High Hill but we had some strong sticks to help us up. We thought you would have liked it. ... ".

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on the corner of Edge Road is not shown with a steeple in either view; the tower and steeple were not added to the church until 1905[1], which helps date both postcards. Just below the chapel the roof and dormer windows of the Smedley Memorial Hospital can be seen, where Anne Jackson was the Matron.

On the right, next to the gas lamp post, is Yew Tree House which was a butchers. The wooden awning seems to be damaged in the top picture, but it may be just the way the card was coloured. Although we can't see it clearly in the second image, the pavement between the back gate and the road was laid with large stone cobbles. The pavement edge was also lowered. It was still like this in the 1920s. At this time the property had fields behind and below it.

In 1903, so around the time these two pictures were taken, "one of the most important sales of freehold property held recently in the Matlock district" had taken place at the Crown Hotel. The house had been owned by Job Knowles and the trustees of his estate decided to sell it, together with some other land nearby. The sale was in two parts, the first of which was the "stone-built dwelling with butcher's shop attached known "Yew Tree House" on Bank Road, Matlock, with gardens, etc.", then in the occupation Mr James Wheeldon. It was "copyhold of the Manor of Matlock" and was said command "some of the most varied and beautiful scenery of this locality". Yew Tree House was bought by Mr. Job Smith for £1600, on behalf of Smedley's Hydro Company whose property adjoined it on one side. The second lot was freehold. This was a field known as "The Hurstler" and was advertised as building land abutting on New Street; it was also occupied by Mr James Wheeldon and was purchased by Mr. Henry Ball of Nottingham for £635[2].

Derbyshire Times, 11 February 1905

Wednesday, February 22nd., 1905. Yew Tree House, Matlock. For the trustee under a Deed of assignment. Re Mr J Wheeldon. Horse, Harness, Implements, Butcher's Utensils, and Shop Fittings. Excellent Meat Refrigerator, Household Furniture. etc. Sale at 12 noon.

James Wheeldon moved to Smedley Street and died there in 1910; he was buried at St. Giles' on 25 Oct 1910, aged 67. His wife survived him as did his son John James who ran a butcher's shop on Wellington Street[3].

Smedley's first tenant could have been Charles Everett Taylor, a butcher and farmer. It is not clear quite when he took up residence, but was living there between 1908 and 1912 with his wife Alice and young children[4].

Coincidentally both Mr. Wheeldon and Mr. Taylor were summoned for driving without lights. James Wheeldon of Matlock Bank was summoned for driving a cart at Matlock without lights at 10p.m. on the 24th October 1905. The Bench imposed a penalty of 5s and there were 7 shillings costs to pay[5]. In 1912 it was Charles Everett Taylor's turn. The Bank Road butcher appeared before the court on the charge of having driven a horse and cart without a light on the 10th August. He claimed he had been working late in the hayfield and hadn't realised the time, so only had to pay the costs[6]. Perhaps his fine was lighter because it might also not have been completely dark at that time of year.

Yew Tree House continued as a butchers for many years.

The second postcard was also published when Edward VII was on the throne, and dates from between 1901 (when Edward ascended the throne) and 1905.

Bank Road 2
A tram is at the bottom of the slope and there are a few people walking up or down
the hill in addition to the two on the cycle on the left. The X on the picture next to
the clump of trees on the top of Masson was where the card's sender, Georges Houstier,
had been to enjoy the view. "Une vue magnifique".

1. "Masson from Matlock Bank". Reliable Series, W R & S. No.R1970. Posted 14 Jun 1910 in Matlock. © Ann Andrews collection.
2. "Matlock Bridge & Masson Hill". Postcard published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. O'er Hill & Dale Post Card. Art Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen. 2250 Matlock Bath & Matlock Bridge. Posted 12 Jul 1908 and sent to Romans, France.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Susan Tomlinson.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] See: Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1906 - the new spire.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 1 August 1903. Yew Tree House and its gardens covered 2a. 2r. 4p. of land. The second plot that abutted on to New Street was 1a. 2r. 4p. in size. Matlock, Riber & Starkholmes Newspaper Cuttings, 1903 has the full report. James Wheeldon can be found on Bank Road in the 1901 census.

[3] See: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (6), Surnames W. He and his wife were living on Wellington Street in 1911. He was widowed by 1939 and had moved to Hilert, Wellfield. He was one of Matlock's A.R.P. Wardens during the war (this from the 1939 Register).

[4] Presumably Charles Taylor rented or leased the property from Smedley's. He was living on Smedley Street in the 1901 census. He advertised in Kelly's Directory, 1908 and Kelly's Directory, 1912, when he was living at Yew Tree House. In 1939 he and his family were living at Roper House, Tansley.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 11 November 1905.

[6] "Derbyshire Times", 17 August 1912. No Light.