The photograph above, from a Valentine's postcard, shows William Henry
Furniss's Maudslay bus going round the tram shelter in Crown Square.
Glynn Waite was able to date the picture to either 1920 of 1925
when signs on the shelter were being replaced.
From the Valentine's publication number it now seems likely that
it was taken in 1920. Crown Square was not busy but the manoeuvre
wasn't without danger and there were several accidents involving
both alighting passengers and other vehicles. A taxi, owned by
_ Upton, was parked beside the shelter.
Above the taxi, the sign on the tram shelter reads "CAR EVERY
William Furniss senior (1861-1939) had arrived in Matlock with
his wife and young family in the late 1880s, living first at Greenhill
Terrace behind the Gate Inn.
Before his marriage he had worked as a butcher in Ardwick, Manchester.
He married Sarah Margaret Staniford, whose brother was the town
crier, at St. Giles
in 1883. In the late 1890s William was one of four proprietors
who held the most vehicle licenses in Matlock: Messrs Hand and
Son held eleven, Mr W. Furniss nine, Mr Jos. Boden eight, and Mr
Anthony Walton five.
Building work to house his growing business as a posting master
began on his new premises in Crown Square in early 1899. John
William Wildgoose won the contract to build a livery stables,
shops, etc. The architect
was Mr. David Mark Wildgoose and the project was to cost about £2000.
The block was to be built "near
to the Bakewell Road and adjoining the premises of the chairman
of the District Council", Edward Slack.
The development consisted of two shop fronts with a central arch
between them through which the stables (later the garage) were
accessed, with living accommodation above. The arch can still be
seen, though it has been filled in. The Furniss's had a hairdressing
business in one of the shops and Mrs. Furniss let out apartments
(see advertisement below). Sarah Furniss died in 1909, aged 45,
and William married May Brookhouse in 1910.
The central portion of the Crown Square property built for
William Furniss. The date 1899 is at roof level,
directly above the
central carriage arch (now filled in).
The roof has possibly been
raised, as today the date is below
the roof line.
The business expanded and William also used the Fish Pond
[Hotel] Stables in Matlock Bath,
the stables at the New Bath Hotel and
Portland House Mews for motor vehicles.
He was one of the owners of the four horsed buses that ran between
Cromford Market Place and Matlock. In October 1912 he and William
Hand provided a motor bus service along the same route, running
at half hourly intervals.
A William Furniss coach at the Dog and Partridge, near Ashbourne
Given to Frank Clay by John Platts "an ex Comrade & Derbyshire
The web mistress's grandfather is supposed to be in the picture.
If so, he must be the young man at the head of the horses.
Mr. Furniss is holding the reins.
William's eldest son, William Henry Furniss, worked as a carriage
driver for his father before the first world war. He had married
Mary Elizabeth Allen at Farley Hill Congregational Chapel in 1910 and
was one of the first men to be recruited in 1914.
He wrote letters home to his father, many of which were reproduced
in the "High Peak News". He was badly wounded
during the Second Battle of Amiens (the Second Battle of the Somme)
in 1918, losing his right leg in the battle and also suffered
from shell shock.
Furniss of Matlock & Matlock Bath, motor charabanc, about 1913.
Whilst it is not known quite where this picture was taken,
the web mistress has identified two, and possibly three, of
the men and boys in the picture. The driver, standing next
to the radiator grill and wearing plus fours, was probably
Jack Brookhouse. In 1911 he was working as a chauffeur, undoubtedly
for his brother in law William Furniss. Sitting in the front
of the charabanc are the two friends William Henry Furniss and
John Clay (my grandfather) .
John is seated next to the vehicle's open door, whilst W. H.
F. was in the driver's seat and peering over the windscreen.
All the men are wearing a distinctive buttonhole.
Please get in touch if you recognise anyone else or know where
this was taken
(contact details at bottom of page)
During the war William Furniss saw more of his employees join up.
George William Boden of Spring Cottage Matlock Bath, for example,
had worked for him as an omnibus driver,
but was recruited in late 1916 and was killed a few months afterwards.
Like others throughout the country William Furniss employed women
to keep things going. In the spring of 1916 Miss Mabel Elizabeth
Nash of Dale Road began working for him as a taxi driver. A month
later he employed a female conductress on the Matlock to Cromford
1903 invoice from William Furniss to 2 Albany Villas on Cavendish Road.
This was for Landaus to take passengers to the Via Gellia and Holly
Bush, to Ashover and Tansley,
to Chatsworth, Bakewell and Haddon and to Wingfield Manor.
1903 advertisement for Furniss's Derwent
Livery Stables, Crown Square and Cherry Holt and their Hairdressing
Saloon [sic] in Crown Square. Mrs. Furniss also let out apartments.
The advertisement refers to Coaching Tours and they published
a long list of the tours they provided in the Guide.
1917 receipt, signed by May Furniss.
Note how much the business had expanded since the 1903 invoice.
Unfortunately, the war years were not kind to the Furniss family
business; it experienced some financial difficulties which resulted
in William having to give up the
Crown Square Garage he had built.
It was disposed of by private sale after a public auction was unsuccessful.
It was not a good time to sell. By 1925 the premises
were being used by Joseph Allen & Sons," jobmasters,
motor car proprietors & funeral furnishers".
When he returned home after the war William Henry set up in business
in his own right and in 1924 W. H. Furniss was one of three local
bus companies running a service between Matlock and Cromford.
Sometimes the rivalry between the bus proprietors or their employees
came to a head as it did in 1925 when a Furniss driver objected to
the actions of a North Western driver and assaulted him in Matlock
Bath. In the ensuing court case a local solicitor, Mr. Brooke Taylor,
observed that "there
was a deal of rivalry and a certain amount of hostile rivalry between
the bus services".
North Western were not allowed to pick up passengers in Matlock Bath
but were clearly doing so, flouting the regulations that were in
Following the closure of the tramway in 1927, W. H. Furniss was
dealt a blow when the Council left him off the list of bus companies
they were considering for the new bus route up the Bank; they informed
him that they didn't consider his bus suitable.
However, he continued to run a bus service, though not up the Bank.
On 30 May 1928 Matlock UDC considered a list of applications for
vehicle licenses. William Furniss (senior) applied for licenses for
3 vehicles and 3 drivers whereas William Henry Furniss applied for
licenses for 5 vehicles, for 4 drivers and 1 conductor. Mr. Furniss
Snr. owned a Motor Landaulette (for 6 passengers) and a motor charabanc
(which would carry 14 passengers). W. H. Furniss owned a Motor Landaulette
(also for 6 passengers), three motor charabancs (which would carry
14, 18 and 28 passengers respectively) and a motor omnibus that was
designed to carry 32 people.
Along with several other local firms they sold their bus business
to North Western in the early 1930s. W. H. Furniss had by then diversified
and he and his sons became motor haulage contractors.
On the right is the back of a
tram ticket, dating from 1904, that advertised William Furniss's
businesses and his wife's Apartments.
Furniss bus tickets (left and below) are very rare and the bus
company's name is only on the back of the ticket. Interestingly,
the ticket doesn't bear a punch hole - it was probably considered
to be too expensive to buy a Bell Punch machine for such a
small operation - so the conductor presumably tore a portion
from the bottom corner to ensure that it could not be re-used.
advertisement, the Autochrome Album of Matlock & District (scroll
down the page)
Road & the Steep-Gradient Tramway
links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web
 Waite, Glynn (2012) "The Matlock
Cable Tramway", Pynot Publishing, 50 Main Road, Holmesfield,
Dronfield, Derbyshire. ISBN 978-0-9562706-5-8.
 The Furniss family were living on Rutland Street in the
1891 census and at Matlock Bridge at the time of the
 In 1881 William Furniss lived at 89
Exeter Street, Ardwick (RG11/3897 f53 p40 s207)
 Robert Staniford was listed in the
1891 census and Kelly's
1891 Directory, Matlock Bank and Moor and Officials.
He was a bill poster in the 1901
Times and Chesterfield Herald", 22 May 1897.
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 14 January 1899.
1895 Directory (William Snr) | Kelly's
1899 Directory (William Snr) | Kelly's
1908 Directory, Matlock (William Snr) | Kelly's
1908 Directory, Matlock Bath (William Snr) | Kelly's
1916 Directory, Matlock (William Snr) | Kelly's
1916 Directory, Matlock Bath (William Snr)
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
15 January 1910. Fire at Matlock Bath. The stabling adjoining the
New Bath Hotel, which were sublet to William
Furniss, caught fire.
 Reminisces of the late Frank Clay.
Private papers © Ann Andrews. This would have been 1913-14.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
2 May 1912. The agreement was to be signed within next few days.
 Mary E Allen was the daughter of James
and Sarah Allen. Her brother, Albert William, was to die in the
early stages of the war. see Matlock
 See Matlock's
National Reservists & the Call-up Card.
 Beresford, Charles (2007) "The
Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War".
Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8.
 See both Matlock's
War Memorial and Matlock
Bath's War Memorial for John Clay and George Boden.
 They advertised in the following post
war trade directories: Kelly's 1925 Directory (William, Field House,
Smedley Street; William Henry, Premier Garage, Bakewell Road, with
offices on Causeway Lane; Also Premier Garage, Matlock Bath) |
Kelly's 1932 Directory and Kelly's 1941 Directory (William Henry,
motor haulage contractors, Field House, Smedley St).
 From documents in Glynn Waite's collection.
 Kelly's 1925 Directory.
 "High Peak News",
10 Oct 1925. Rival Bus Drivers. Researched by Glynn Waite.
 Glynn Waite extracted this information
from an Omnibus Society publication about North Western buses,
which gave details of the vehicles the company inherited from other
firms (and the dates) and what subsequently happened to them, although
not all were traced.