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Matlock: Crown Square, 1937-39
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Peter Holmes advertisement

Bank Road, about 1910

Crown Square & the Bank, 1919-27

Crown Square & the Bank After the Tram, 1928-3

After the closure of the tram in 1927 a very small central island, little more than a plinth for the street lamp on it, was initially introduced into Crown Square. However, by the time of George VI's coronation in 1937 the traffic island had been considerably enlarged, grassed and planted with flowers[1]. It was surrounded by a very low decorative fence at that stage. Quite when the fence disappeared is uncertain, but it is possible it was removed during the war when the road signs were also taken down.

Street furniture was introduced in and around Crown Square at the same time as the new roundabout was built. There were road directions attached to the lamp post on the roundabout, keep left signs, Belisha Beacons and marked pedestrian crossings. Railings had been added at the road junctions, although not initially outside the Crown Hotel. Bollards were placed in the middle of the road at three of the four crossing points. Curiously, there were no bollards at the Bank Road junction, although there was a crossing; instead a single bollard was put on the roundabout opposite the junction. However, Bank Road was also a minor road and a "Halt at Major Road Ahead" sign can be seen on the edge of the pavement outside Orme's. This is the sign with a triangle enclosed by a circle.

In late 1934 the Minister of Transport, Mr. Hoare-Belisha, had ordered that a scheme for pedestrian crossings which had been tried out in London earlier in the year should be extended to the provinces. In future pedestrian crossings were to be marked by 4" square steel studs set into the road and Belisha Beacons set on 7 foot high black and white poles on the edge of the pavement. These were intended as signs easily visible to motorists as a way of cutting down accidents[2]. By August 1935 it was reported that the Ministry of Transport were very satisfied with the response by the local authorities of all urban areas to the statutory request for systems of pedestrian crossings and beacons on their main streets[3]. Presumably, the Crown Square roundabout was enlarged at that time.

The side entrance to the Crown Hotel seems to have been taken down and closed off in the 1930s, certainly before the photographs for these two postcards were taken. The top image shows the garages, formerly stables, at the side of the hotel. Greaves furniture store was by now on the Bank[3]. The second card below shows the newly built Lido and Lido Cafe behind the Crown. They were erected on the former Imperial Gardens in 1938[4]. It also provides a good view of the Town Hall and Smedley's Hydro. Judging by the shadows, the traffic and the number of people around the top picture was taken on a Sunday morning.

Bank Road and Crown Square

1. "Matlock, The Square". Photochrom Co Ltd., Tunbridge Wells, Kent. No. 85442. This is a photograph. There are two other versions - sepia and colour version. Not posted.
2. "Bank Road, Matlock". J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks. No.15123. Not posted.
Postcards in the collection of and provided by and © Susan Tomlinson.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] From photograph of Crown Square in 1937.

[2] "The Times", 10 Nov, 1934. Belisha Beacons For Whole Country.

[3] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Monday 19 August 1935. More Pedestrian Crossings.

[4] See Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (2)

[5] Matlock Lido: Liquidating a Former Tourist Asset