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Matlock: Crown Square, 1901
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Bank Road & the Steep-Gradient Tramway

Park and Tram Shelter


Bank Road 1907

Bank Road, 1923-27

The Bridge (4), and the Broad Walk - shows the back of these shops

Hurd's became Margerrisons



Bemroses' Guide, 1869
shows the shops

Here is a very rare photograph, and possibly a unique image, of Crown Square showing the shops at the top of what is now the Park Head. It must be one of the few pictures of the tram shelter that doesn't include one of the tramcars and was probably taken in the summer as the trees behind the shops are in leaf and the women in the photograph aren't wearing coats. The signs on the shelter's lamp that points towards the bridge says "Matlock Bath & Derby"; the same lamp has another sign which points towards "To Rowsley & Bakewell", though it can't be read. A third sign points down Causeway Lane "To Tansley & Chesterfield"[1].

Behind the shelter, on the detached low building on the left, is a large sign advertising Singer Sewing Machines[2]. There were large hoardings to the left, which were rather unsightly in the middle of a town that by then based a large part of its economy on tourism. The building itself, a copyhold property to the Manor of Matlock, was an old established smithy occupied by Abram Thompson until his death. When it was advertised for sale in 1913 it was said to have "a most extensive frontage to Crown Square, Causeway-lane and the new roadway leading to the Hall Leys Pleasure Grounds and Promenade, and forms one of the finest building sites in the town"[3]. The property was purchased by the Council "for improvement purposes"[4].

Leading up to the bridge is a row of four shops. The first one, closest to the tram shelter, was used by the "Derbyshire Advertiser", a newspaper published between 1846 and 1976[5]. There seem to be several sheets of newsprint stuck to the wall below the "Advertiser's" window. Next door is Phillips Hairdressers and above the shop window is a sign announcing "Booking Office. Carriage Driver". William Phillips and his wife lived above their shop[6]. The double fronted unit was a drapers and outfitters, Castle and Hurd,[7] that was run by Daniel Hurd and Harry Castle. The final business in the block was Orme's wholesale and retail grocers.

The shops were eventually also purchased by the Council for road widening although they were not vacated until about 1923 and were subsequently demolished before the Whitsun holiday in 1926[8]. The Derby paper thought it an improvement as the buildings had obstructed the view of "Hall Leas". The tram shelter was taken down shortly before the tram service ended and was removed to the Hall Leys.

1910 advertisement for William Phillips, published in the Operatic Society programme for that year.
This doesn't mention the Booking Hall on the sign above the window in the 1901 photograph above.

Photograph from a family album and dated 1901 on the reverse in the collection of and provided by and © Glynn Waite.
Phillips advertisement in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Waite, Glynn (2012) "The Matlock Cable Tramway", Pynot Publishing, 50 Main Road, Holmesfield, Dronfield, Derbyshire. ISBN 978-0-9562706-5-8.

[2] There are several trade directory entries for Singer: Singer Manufacturing Company Kelly's 1891 Directory, Matlock Bridge | Kelly's Directory 1899 (Charles Speed Agent). Charles Herbert Buckley of Smedley Street was their agent by the time of the 1901 census. Also see Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory, under both Buckley and Singer.

[3] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 October 1913. The auctioneer was J. Hodgkinson and particulars could be obtained from either the Matlock solicitor James Potter or from John Evan Rains of Caversham, Reading, who was a relative of the web mistress.

[4] "The High Peak News", 25 Oct, 1913. The Smithy, Crown Square (with thanks to Susan Tomlinson). A photograph by Matlock photographer Vernon Lamb accompanied the piece. In 1915 it was reported that the work to remove the smithy had been carried out and the land had been "thrown into" the highway. ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 July 1915, County Council meeting, Bridges & Highways).

[5] Gordon, Ruth (2nd ed. 1996) Local Newspapers in Derbyshire Libraries 1996 © Derbyshire County Council ISBN 0903463 45 8. Historical newspaper files held at Matlock in 1996.

[6] References for William Phillips include the 1871 census when he was in Matlock Bath | the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census |

[7] Castle & Hurd, drapers & outfitters of Crown square can be found in Kelly's 1891 Directory, Matlock Bridge | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's Directory 1899 | Kelly's 1908 Directory | Daniel Hurd was listed as a draper in the 1891 census | and as a draper & clothier in the 1901 census. Harry Castle's occupation was draper in the 1891 census.

[8] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 22 May 1926. Town and Country gossip. Refers to the buildings having been demolished, although there were some travel restrictions whilst the work was undertaken.