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Matlock: Dale Road, 1909-19
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Dale Road & The Old English Hotel

Dale Road 1909

Matlock's National Reservists & the Call-up Card, shows Henry Clay and his nephew John

From the Vernon Lamb Archive

VLA4894, National Reservists

VLA5209, National Reservists

Little had changed in the street scene from the previous image. Annie Wall was still at the Old English in 1909[1]. Three years later, in 1912, the hotel's licence was renewed on condition that the Nottingham Brewery would deal with the ruined buildings behind the hotel. Nothing had been done about them since the fire of 1885. It was agreed that they would be pulled down and replaced by a shrubbery[2].

Dale Road was relatively quiet when the above photo was taken. An open topped car was driving down the centre of the road, though it was almost certainly stationary to allow the photographer to take his picture. Further back down Dale Road is another form of transport - a horse drawn cart. Closer to the camera, The Old English and the Oriental Cafe next door were open for business.

Part of Frisby's sign can be seen on the side wall, over the top of Coronation Buildings, but there were only a handful of people out and about. It must have been summer as several shops had sun awnings shading the windows.

In 1917 William Clay, who had become the proprietor of the Old English, had lent a room to a large number of discharged and disabled soldiers who formed an association to protect their interests regarding pensions and other matters. Mr. W. E. Williams presided. At the outbreak of War in 1914 it had been proclaimed that disabled and discharged soldiers would not want for anything, but there had subsequently been a case in Matlock where a discharged soldier's pension had been reduced and the men were, quite naturally, concerned. Henry (Harry) Clay, William Clay's brother, was the Secretary of the Old Comrades' Association and spoke at the meeting. The association had 6,000 members in Derbyshire and Harry was concerned that if they formed something else they would have less power, especially in ensuring that future Parliamentary candidates for the Division took note of their interests. The Derby and District Labour Party were also proposing to form a branch of the Discharged Soldiers' and Sailors' Association in Matlock although there was not a branch in Derby as there were already two rival associations there. The Matlock and District men decided to form an association on their own account, with a view to affiliating themselves to a recognised association at a later stage. A temporary committee was formed, with Mr. Williams as Chairman; G. Hudson, secretary; G. Kirkland, treasurer; W. Gregory of Cromford, Mr. Halliwell of South Darley, Mr. W. Beard of Matlock, Mr. A. Lea of Whatstandwell, Mr. Fern of Bonsall and Mr. J. Smith of Tansley were all appointed to the committee[3].

William Clay departed following the death of his eldest son (the web mistresses grandfather)[4] and the Old English was then run by Mrs. Jenny Walters[5].

By 1919 Matlock was emerging from the effects of the First World War. Amongst the most important events in the town in 1919 were the Peace Celebrations. The first event was held on the Hall Leys on Saturday 19th July, at the same time as the Council were considering the provision of a memorial to the fallen[6]. It seems to have been a relatively low key occasion, consisting of sports for the children and tea for the older residents. Few buildings, apart from the tram shelter and the Post Office, were decorated with bunting[7]. There was to be a separate gala for discharged soldiers on 23 August, with the date changed from July because initially wives and girlfriends were not invited[8].

Matlock, Riber & Starkholmes Newspaper Cuttings. There are several short reports for 1919.

"Dale Road, Matlock". Valentine's Select Type Series, No. 61575 registered in 1909. Posted in Matlock on 18 Apr 1923 and sent to someone at a school in France. A coloured version of this card was posted in 1910.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Susan Tomlinson.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Belper News", 6 August 1909.

[2] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 8 February 1912. Matlock's Sobriety.

[3] "Belper News", 10 August 1917. Soldiers Interests. Protection Society formed at Matlock.

[4] Names on Matlock's War Memorial : WW1, Surnames A - J. John Clay is also listed on Matlock Bath's memorial.

[5] "Belper News", 28 November 1919.

[6] "Derbyshire Courier", 12 July 1919.

[7] "Belper News", 25 July 1919.

[8] "Derbyshire Courier", 26 July 1919 and "Derbyshire Courier", 23 August 1919.