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Matlock: 1 Crown Buildings, Crown Square, early 20th century
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More about this shop


Bank Road (1), 1907



Bank Road (2) from Crown Square, about 1910



Crown Square from the County Bridge, 1928-30



Bank Road & the Steep-Gradient Tramway

Peter Holmes' name is over the shop door


This is an advertisement, in postcard format, for the drapery store of Peter Holmes on the corner of Bank Road and Causeway Lane[1]. The photographer must have been standing in the middle of Crown Square to take the picture. Tram lines can be seen in the road in front of the lamp post. The card was posted in 1915, several years after Mr. Holmes and his family had left Matlock, but must have been published whilst he ran the shop.

What is interesting about the image, which unusually affords us a really good view of the entire building, is that on the Causeway Lane side of Crown buildings are two large bay windows that face the road. This was the house where the Holmes family, and later the Beards, lived. The bays had been removed by 1928 or so, possibly when Orme's bought the building (see Crown Square from the County Bridge, 1928-30). You can still see the pilasters at first and second floor levels today, but the first floor bay was replaced by two windows whilst the ground floor bay was replaced many years ago by a large plate glass window. The small garden surrounding bay on the ground floor had also gone by 1928. Nevertheless it provides some idea of when the picture was taken; slightly lower hedging is visible on a photograph of a flooded Causeway Lane in 1907 (not on this site).

The road was improved in n 1890 when Matlock UDC reported that "175 square yards of asphalte had been laid in Causeway Lane in front of Crown Buildings for a distance of 200 lineal yards. The remainder of Causeway Lane has been raised 13 inches" and "302 feet of Hopton Wood kerb, 302 feet of gritstone kerb and 645 feet of asphalted footpath had been laid along the length of the road"[2].

Peter Holmes was not the first occupant of the premises. Isaac Hutchinson Longmire, a general and fancy draper, was living in Matlock in 1891 and working at the shop[3]. In his book about the tram Glynn Waite provides a photograph of the tram lines being laid in Crown Square in 1892 and the sign above the door of 1 Crown Buildings reads "LONGMIRE"[4]. At some stage he employed a young woman, Miss Alice Harrision, as manageress. We learn from a breach of promise case involving Miss Harrison that shortly after she had moved to Matlock Mr. Longmire got into financial difficulties and the business taken over by Mrs Barnett. This was in March, 1892[5]. Isaac Longmire moved away from Matlock as he had quite heavy debts[6] and by 1901 was in Saffron Walden and working as a draper's manager[7]. Peter Holmes suceeded Mrs Barnett, moving from his Dale Road store. The earliest date we have for his business being in Crown Square is 1893[4].

Whilst it was initially thought that the card may date from about 1907 it is quite possible that this is an early picture of the drapery as the sign above the door reads simply "P. HOLMES" whereas images closer to the end of his tenure display a rather more flamboyant sign for "Peter Holmes" above the door.

In the summer of 1905 Joseph Hodgkinson auctioned several properties at the Red Lion. Two of the lots, the stone built residence called Derwent House in Knowleston Place where Dr. Crarer lived and an adjacent cottage and garden which was later described as "on the corner" , were bought by Peter Holmes[8]. He seems to have retained the properties for some years after he had left Matlock as it wasn't until 1914 that the Knowleston Place houses were for sale once again. The first lot that day was "All those most substantially Gritstone-built and Blue-slated Business premises comprising part of the property known as Crown buildings situate in Crown Square, Matlock, consisting of the well-known and Milliners' Establishment with Dwelling-house, as now in the occupation of Mr. J. E. Beard"[9]. Mr. Beard sold his stock in 1914; he was followed by R. and M. Reay remained in Matlock until 1920[10].


"Peter Holmes, Matlock Bridge". Printed postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Brian Marsden. Posted 2 Feb 1915 at Matlock Bridge.
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] Peter Holmes was in Dale Road in 1891 - see the 1891 census and Kelly's Directory for that year. He was at 1 Crown Buildings in the 1901 census. Also see his entries in Kelly's Directory 1895 | Kelly's Directory 1899.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 10 May 1890. Matlock Local Board.

[3] Isaac Hutchinson Longmire can be found in Matlock in both the 1891 census and Kelly's 1891 Directory.

[4] Photographic evidence from Waite, Glynn (2012) "The Matlock Cable Tramway", Pynot Publishing. ISBN 9780956270658.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 24 June 1893. Miss Alice Harrison of Matlock. Breach of Promise case. Breach of promise cases were not a rarity. A number of women who felt they had been jilted took their former boyfriends to court instead of walking up the aisle and getting married to live happily ever after - and won. But the boyfriend was not forced to marry them, so maybe they won twice. Or maybe the groom had a really lucky escape!

[6] His name was listed in the London Gazette in 1892. A journalist observed in the "Derbyshire Times" of 2 July 1892 that "I notice in a trade paper the expected liabilities Isaac Hutchinson Longmire, of Matlock Bridge, draper, are placed at £1,567 12s. 6d., with assets £580".

[7] The 1901 census for Saffron Walden is on FindMy Past.

[8] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 29 June 1905. Dr. Crarer still tenant in 1908 (see Kelly's Directory)

[9] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 28 August 1914. Four Lots for sale by Joseph Hodgkinson. John Edward Beard had run the drapery since 1908. See: Bank Road (2) from Crown Square, about 1910.

[10] The Reays advertised in Kelly's 1916 Directory but in 1920 the Central Sale Rooms advertised the household furniture of Messrs R and M Reay (and others) was for sale ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 26 November 1920).