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Matlock: Thomas Stephen Bridge & his Family, 19th & 20th Century
People who lived in the Matlocks : Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings

Wine shop/off licence and family home on Bank Road
owned by Luke Bridge, possibly photographed in the 1890s.
Adah, Luke's wife, is standing in the doorway.
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The Fleet family to whom the Bridges were related by marriage

Bank Road, 1901-5

Bank Road 1930s

About Hand & Sons

The Bridge family's association with Matlock began shortly before 1841 when Thomas Bridge was to be found working as a baker and living in Matlock Town[1]. He was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Bridge of Edensor, where he was christened on 8 Dec 1816[2]. Probate records in 1813 for John Bridge of Edensor, Richards's father, indicate that Richard was a husbandman[3].

Later in 1841 Thomas married Harriet Spencer Bunting at St. Mary's, Wirksworth[4]. He died in Matlock in 1846[5] leaving behind his widow and three children - Andrew Bunting Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge and Luke Bridge[6]. They all went to live with Harriet's father, Andrew Blackwell Bunting, on Lime Tree Lane[7].

Luke, the younger of the two boys, became a stone mason. On 29 June 1871 he married Adah Helena Wilkinson, daughter of Christopher Coates Wilkinson, at Sheffield's Cathedral Church of St. Peter & St. Paul. Both gave their address as South Street Park[8]. They were living in Matlock in 1873; Luke had probably always lived in Matlock, but his whereabouts in both 1861 and 1871 are not known[7]. Between their marriage and 1881 the couple had several children who did not survive infancy[9]. They spent the early years of their married life on Lime Tree Lane but moved to Bank Road in the 1880s, where they remained for the rest of their lives[10].

Luke Bridge and his wife Adah, date unknown but before 1908.


Luke Bridge

Adah Bridge, nee Wilkinson

In 1884 the Derbyshire Times published a notice about an application for a licence that was to be made by Luke Bridge, He described himself as a shop and beerhouse keeper and was applying for an Excise licence to sell wine at a retail shop in Matlock that he owned. Although he didn't provide the full address the application, it was clearly for the Bank Road premises shown in the photograph at the top of the page. At the 1886 Brewster Sessions Luke applied for a wine off licence, which was granted by the court[11]. He then advertised in local trade directories[12]. He had probably bought the premises from Mrs. Durandean as Else and Sons advertised a Bank Road retail outlet that stocked both English and foreign wines as well as spirits, beer, stout and mineral waters in 1883[13].

Luke Bridge tried, unsuccessfully, to become a Councillor in the local elections of May 1908. A few months later he was working on a small building contract at Kegworth when he became ill and passed away there on 8th August, aged 61. He was interred at St. Giles', conveyed there by Messrs. Hand and Sons' hearses and coaches; the funeral director was George Ballington[14]. They both had premises nearby, so would have been a natural choice.

Adah subsequently applied for the beer licence to be transferred to her, and this was granted[15]. Unfortunately, she didn't survive her husband by many months and died suddenly on 11 March, 1909, also aged 61. She, too, was buried at the parish church and Hands and George Ballington provided their services once again[16]. The off licence was given to their son George Luke Bridge and their daughter Mary Brailsford (nee Bridge), but was then run by William Brailsford, Mary's husband. He was in business on Bank Road for many years but later handed the concern down to his son Billy who subsequently passed it on to co-workers[17].

Twin brothers Thomas Stephen Bridge and Andrew Bunting Bridge (the younger), who were born
on 7 May 1886 in the family home on Bank Road.
They were possibly 4 or 5 years old when this picture was taken of them in their sailor suits.

We now turn to Thomas Stephen, one of the twin sons of Luke and Adah, who was first employed by a blacksmith but later became a general house painter, plumber and gas fitter. He married Sarah Alice Fleet in Matlock on Monday 31 Jan 1910[18]. His bride was the daughter of Daniel Fleet, an insurance inspector who lived on Bakewell Road at the time. The Fleets had moved to Matlock from Chester.

The photograph on the left includes Sarah Fleet and her sister Eva. It was taken by the Marine Studio, Bootle (now Merseyside). Sarah was born in Kelsall, Cheshire in 1879.

The photographer has induced two of the girls to hold a couple of parrots, although they don't appear to be overly thrilled by the experience.

The Thomas Stephen Bridge/Sarah Alice Fleet marriage was a first for Matlock. Whilst marriages that involved the bride and groom being taken to the church by motor car were not unusual in the larger towns and cities in the U.K. by this time, theirs was the first Matlock marriage where a car was used instead of a carriage. The bride and her father Daniel were driven to All Saints' church for the ceremony by Messrs. Hand & Sons and afterwards the bride and groom were conveyed to the bride's parental home by car. It was described as "a pretty wedding" by the Derbyshire Courier ; the bride was dressed in mauve and her sister Ida wore green. Fred Bridge, Thomas's younger brother, was best man. They later left for their honeymoon, catching the 4p.m. express as they were travelling to Kelsall[18].

Sarah Alice Bridge, nee Fleet

Thomas Stephen Bridge

Thomas and Sarah Bridge

From the left:
Tom, Dan, Ida and Sarah Bridge, 1915.
Possibly taken late 1914 - Sep 1915 while
Tom was on leave from Sandling Camp

It is almost certain that three of the four photos of Thomas and Sarah, above, were taken
in Vernon Lamb's studio. The backdrop, carpet and chair appear in other photos in
the Vernon Lamb Archive. Mr. Lamb was a near neighbour and possible friend of the family.

In 1911 Tom and Sarah were living at Laburnum Rest in Upper Hackney. They subsequently moved to the Holly Tree at Hackney and Tom was granted a transfer of the licence from William Holmes at Matlock's Brewster Sessions in February 1913[19]. At some stage Sarah decided that she did not want her children, Dan (b.1911) and Ida (b.1912), growing up at an Inn[17]. Tom therefore went to Canada on 20 Jun 1914, departing from Liverpool and with the objective of finding work and a new home. On the ship's paperwork Tom declared that his wife Sarah Alice was then residing in Bootle Liverpool, having left the Holly Tree Inn. She had moved in with one of her sisters whilst Tom was overseas[17].

The First World War began whilst he was there so he joined the Canadian 19th Battalion, CEF in Toronto, eventually being sent to France in September 1915. He fought in Flanders near Ypres and sustained injuries to his legs and feet; he was sent to hospitals in both Folkestone and Sheffield to recuperate. Following his recovery in the Sheffield hospital Tom was assigned to the Canadian Military Police in Sandling Camp. When he was stationed in Flanders he occasionally met former friends from Matlock who were enlisted in the Notts and Derbys regiments. His diary mentions Frank White, Tommy Wildgoose and a Mr Bradshaw from the "Dimple". He also wrote that he tried to visit the grave in Sanctuary Wood where Lew Dickinson was buried (see the entry for Lew on Matlock's War Memorial)[17].

Sarah Alice returned to Matlock when Tom was fighting in the war and she and their children remained in the town for the war's duration; letters back home to Sarah were simply addressed to the "Dimple", Matlock. In 1919 Tom returned to Canada, this time taking his family with him. They settled in Toronto, where Thomas ran a plumbing business for 25 years. He also acqured and ran a hockey arena in a converted aircraft hangar in the city for many years; it was one of the few in the city. When he retired he moved to Port Sydney, Ontario where he spent the rest of his life. He died and was buried there in 1959[17].

Images in the Vernon Lamb archives with connections to the Bridge family






Image supplied by and copyright © the Bridge family collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews. With thanks to Bob Morton and Barbara and Debbie, both nee Bridge, for additional information.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Thomas Bridge in the 1841 census.

[2] From Family Search. His father, Richard, had married Elizabeth Hawkins at Edensor on 19 November 1797 and he was buried at Edensor in 1839. Thomas had siblings (christening date, it is not known if all survived childhood): Richard, 1798; Sarah, 1801; John, 1805; Luke, 1809; Ann, c and bu 1812 (mother's name given as Ann at burial) ; Mary, 1813.

[3] Administration of the estate of John Bridge of Pilsley in the parish of Edensor, Husbandman, was granted to Richard Bridge on 14 Oct 1813. The Testator had died in August (Stafordshire R O).

[4] See Strays, Surnames B for his marriage. There are images of Wirksworth Parish Church in the Derbyshire Picture Gallery in another section of this web site.

[5] See his burial in 1846. The ages provided for the death of Thomas vary. The PR and death information shows he was 29 whereas the age of 39 is recorded on his headstone, which also gives his parents names as Richard and Elizabeth.

[6] Andrew Bunting Bridge was christened at St. Giles' in 1842 | Elizabeth Bridge was christened there in 1844 | Luke was born in 1846 and was also christened at St. Giles'.

[7] The family in the 1851 census, living on Lime Tree Lane. They were still there in the 1861 census, although Luke was not at home. Andrew Blackwell Bunting, Harriet's father, had died in 1856 and was buried at St. Giles'. Probate records indicate that he left a Will, but it is not yet found. Luke's family were still on Lime Tree Lane in the 1871 census, but Luke was not with them.

[8] Marriage certificate. Adah was living at 239 Hanover Street, Sheffield (Eccleshall Bierlow) with her sister Matilda and two brothers in the 1871 census. She was born in 1847 and christened at St. Mary's in Tickhill on 9 May 1847.

[9] The parish register records the death of a son Godolphin William and possibly two daughters, Matilda Graham and Helena, between 1873 and 1879.

[10] See: the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census

[11] "Derbyshire Times", 16 August 1884 and "Derby Daily Telegraph", 1 September 1886.

[12] Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1887 - Bridge, Luke, dealer in wines, spirits &c. | Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's 1899 Directory

[13] "Derbyshire Times", 24 January 1883. Sale at Mrs. Durandean's of Household Furniture and Stock in Trade. She was listed in the 1881 census.

[14] "High Peak News", 15 Aug 1908. Death of Mr. Luke Bridge.

[15] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 25 September 1908. Matlock Petty Sessions. Adah Helen Bridge asked for the transfer to herself of a beer licence at Bank Road, Matlock which had been held by her late husband, Luke Bridge. Granted.

[16] "Matlock Guardian", 20 March 1909. Death of Mrs. Luke Bridge.

[17] Family information. Thmas Bridge died on 7 Jul 1959 and was buried at Christ Church Anglican Cemetery.

[18] "High Peak News", Saturday 5 Feb 1910 and "Derbyshire Courier", 5 February 1910. Hands cars can be seen in the Vernon Lamb Archive.

[19] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 13 February 1913. Matlock Brewster Sessions. Wednesday.