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Matlock: Dale Road & Marsdens, 1928 & Early 1950s
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Marsdens Business Letterheads

Hall & Co, early 20th century

Marsdens Outfitters, Drapers and Costumiers[1] has long disappeared from Dale Road but it was, in its day, a wonderful store. The main part of the store dealt with women's and girls' clothing and hats, alongside fabrics, haberdashery and household linen. The hat department was something special. It was at the rear of the shop, so overlooking the river, and was down a flight of stairs. The gentlemen and boys were catered for next door in a long, narrow shop that had, if memory serves, a parquet floor. Young boys would go there with their mothers to buy their Sunday best suit and a cap. Marsdens also sold school uniforms. When you had purchased your item the money was placed in a cylinder by the salesman or woman. The store used a cash system whereby the money containers travelled along wires from various points in the store to the cash office. Your change and receipt returned the same way. Marsdens' cash office was located between the main shop and the gents outfitters. The shop can be seen in both the top image dating from the 1950s and in a photograph from 1928 immediately below.

Marsdens, 1928. The first shop in Matlock to be lit by electricity.
Scroll over the image to see a photo of the store in 2016,
including what was the gents outfitters[2].

When the 1928 photograph was taken Marsdens Ltd. had been in existence for more than half a century and they then had one of the largest drapery, millinery, dressmaking, outfitting and tailoring businesses in the county. At the time Henry Marsden acquired the business, he developed and extended it in several directions, and by 1928 the firm had what were described as handsome premises in the town combined with the largest stocks. The managing director was then Mr. Arthur Marsden, who was also the Chairman of the Matlock Chamber of Trade. It was Arthur Marsden who was responsible for making costly structural alterations shortly after the First World War that resulted Marsdens taking the appearance of a large modern town store. It was the first shop in Matlock to be lit by electricity, the firm having put down their own plant before the Derbys. and Notts. Co. laid their cables[3].

Enlargement of the top image

A little further along Dale Road in the early 1950s was Moore's bakery, with the Hovis sign below the first floor window that can be seen in the enlargement of the top image. Moore's was established on Dale Road some time before 1881,[4] having arrived in Matlock in the late 1850s. Next door was the Manchester Stores[5], where the female in the white skirt and dark jacket can be seen looking at the window display; their "little shop" was originally in the Market Hall but moved further along the road to "up-to-date premises" after the First World War. Their new shop had previously housed the Crompton and Evans Union Bank[3]. Hall & Co. is a little further along - with a narrowish entrance to the back of the shop on its right[6]. Lennard's shoe shop (with the white signs) was on the opposite side of the sideway (Lennard's Corner)[7]. The name Lennards's can still be seen on the tiled floor of the entrance today. Then there were a couple of other businesses and finally the Old English Hotel which is a little obscured by the street furniture.

One the right hand side of Dale Road in the top image, on the corner and displaying the large R.A.C. "Inn" sign, was the Queen's Head Hotel; at that time is was run by Mr. Hardy whose advertisement is below.

Queen's Head Hotel advert

1. "Dale Road, Matlock". Postcard in the collection of © Ken Smith and scanned for this website by Ann Andrews.
2. Mounted photograph of Marsdens shop, Dale Road, said to have been taken in 1928. © Susan Tomlinson collection. 2016 view of the store (seen when you scroll over the main image) was taken for this web site by and is © Susan Tomlinson.
3. Enlargement of a section of item 1.
4. Advertisement from "The Matlocks, Derbyshire", guide book published in the 1950s. Geo. Hodgkinson, Printer, Matlock.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Marsdens was a family run firm. See, for example, Kelly's Directory 1891 | Kelly's Directory 1908 | Kelly's Directory 1916. Also see Matlock: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (3).
[2] After Marsden's closed Harry Briddon took over the main shop. What had been the gents and boys section, was separated off as it was in a different building, and became a dress shop. It is now part of NatWest Bank.
[3] "Derbyshire Times", 29 September 1928. Chamber of Trade Meeting.
[4] The Moore family can be found on Dale Road, then Dale Crescent, as early as 1881 - see the census for that year. But they were in Matlock before that. William was in Matlock Town in 1871 and Peter was living on the Bank and the whole family were on the Bank in 1861. They are also listed in nineteenth century trade directories and twentieth century trade directories.
[5] Advertisements for Manchester Stores were published in trade directories from 1895. See Kelly's 1895 Directory (under Loverock & Son). Earlier than that it was Loverock & Son.
[6] There is more information about Hall & Co., in the early 20th century.
[7] The first trade directory reference for Lennards is Kelly's 1916 Directory. The manager was wounded during WW1. See Newspaper Cuttings Jul 1914 - Nov 1918 (July 1917), though the article spells the store as Leonards.