In 1896 Matlock District Council ordered a 12 ton steam road roller,
The manufacturers were Messrs. Avening and Porter of Strood,
It was photographed, alongside its driver, on Dale Road, just below
the houses of Kingsbridge Terrace on Holt Lane.
In early 1897 the Council discussed the insurance they had taken
out as Mr. Wildgoose wished to increase the policy. They were paying
a premium of £1 15s. per annum which insured the engine
and property up to £500. The driver seems to have been covered
by the Employers' Liability Act and would have been entitled to
damages if he had an accident. "Bowler" was then in control
of the roller, but no first name was given for the Council's employee.
The introduction of the steam roller on Matlock's roads was not
without incident. On 4th January, so a few days before the Council
discussed their insurance cover, a horse took fright and bolted
at full gallop along Causeway Lane to the Bridge. The horse and
and its cart belonged to Mr Boden, a Matlock builder,
and was being driven by John Houghton who was dragged about 200
yards along the road. Several pedestrians managed to jump out of
the way of the frightened horse. Fortunately P. C. Hill was
on duty in Crown Square and pursued the horse, seizing it by the
head, and bringing it to a standstill.
The identity of the steam roller's driver in this photograph is
not known, but in the 1901 census Frank Allen was shown as driving
By 1911 he had been replaced by Walter Rodgers of Stoney Way, a young
married man of 25, who was shown as driving it for the Urban District
Council in that year's census.
He was still driving it the following year.