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Dale Road, Market Hall

Dale Road & Marsdens, 1928 & Early 1950s

Dale Road & The Old English Hotel

Vernon Lamb Archive

VLA5054, Group outside Queen's Head, 1910-13

VLA4922, soldiers, Queen's Head

The top postcard was addressed to Mr C Wardman, Farmer, Horse Dale, Bonsall and was posted at Matlock. In the days before using telephones became commonplace, writing letters and postcards was the fastest way to communicate, with same day delivery locally as shown by the very unusual message!

"Sending churn up tonight Friday on bus leaving Matlock at 6.35. Fill to top. Take no notice of the Post Card".

First published in 1903, the card is very similar to the previous images. The shopkeeper, wearing a long white apron and standing outside the door of the watchmaker's shop on the left hand corner of Dale Road, is presumably Harry William Barnwell.

Half way down Dale Road on the left hand side is an open carriage, travelling away from us and towards Matlock Bath. Almost directly opposite it is the Market Hall building, with some wares stacked against one of the shop fronts.

We can also see, on the left, part of a parapet wall that was attached to the County Bridge. In 1928 the steering gear of a heavy steam lorry laden with tarmacadam and belonging to Messrs Greatorex and Son had failed at this point. It was being driven from the station and crashed through both the wall and railings that were fixed on to part of it1]. Instead of replacing the railings and the wall it was decided to build a substantial buttress next to the shop, then the chemist's shop of Mr. A. E. Davis, and set the parapet wall somewhat further back from the road. This work was undertaken in 1929[2].

A woman carrying a folded parasol, in green skirt and cream coloured blouse and wearing a hat, has paused outside the relatively recently remodelled Queen's Head Hotel on the right of the picture, perhaps at the request of the photographer. In 1903 the Hotel was the headquarters of Matlock and District Canine Society. Various clubs and organisations held their annual dinners there that year including F Company of the 2nd Sherwood Foresters and Matlock Football Club. The firm of Joseph Hodgkinson also held auctions at the Queen's Head at this time.

A very slightly different view of Dale Road, called Dale Crescent here. It is of a similar date.
Whilst the road traffic was very light, it is interesting to note that both carriages are on the
'wrong' side of the road by today's standards, but the horse that is being led by its rider is on
the 'correct' side of the road.

The 1880 Ordnance Survey map of Matlock shows that just a short section of Dale Road had been developed by then and the only buildings on the right hand side road were the Market Hall and the Queen's Head Inn. There were also a few buildings on the left but further along was undeveloped. The Queen's Head was ideally placed for the drovers who came down Steep Turnpike in earlier times and then continued their journey up Salter's Lane[3]. It was also, like both the New Bath and the Old Bath Hotels in Matlock Bath, a meeting point where things of importance were discusses as illustrated in the advertisement below.

(Derby Mercury 13 July 1764)
Notice is hereby given,
That there will be a MEETING of the Lords of the Manor,
and Freeholders and Copyholders,
within the Parish of Matlock in the County of Derby, on
Thursday the Twenty-sixth Day of July 1764, at the Queen's-
at Matlock Bridge, to consider of an Application to Parliament,
for an Act to inclose and divide the Commons belonging
to the said Parish of MATLOCK, at which meeting all Persons
who have Estates in the said Parish are desired to attend.

Property sales were also held at the Queen's Head, with the earliest found to date taking pace in January 1767 when the hotel's proprietress was Lidia Woodward[4]. Mr. Fletcher was the landlord by 1769 and still there in 1806[5]. There is then a gap until the end of the 1820s when we find Anthony Walton, who was also a stone mason, at the inn[6]. He was followed by Timothy Spencer who later went to the Wheatsheaf in Matlock Town[7]. Francis Roper was the next innkeeper, though he died in 1848 aged only 37[8]. His wife Elizabeth then carried on their business[9].

Major changes to the right hand side of Dale Road were proposed in March 1866 when the Matlock Bridge Hotel and Market Company (Limited) was formed to purchase Queen's Head Inn, together with its garden and other premises belonging to it. It was hoped to erect a commercial hotel with a market and assembly rooms adjoining to form one block. The sum of £10,000 was to be raised in 2000 shares at £5 each[10]. A few months later it was announced that John Wildgoose of Matlock Bank and Mr. Stone of Cromford had been awarded the contract to build the market hall and work was to start in a fortnight. The Inn, however, was to be "let for the present, and the building of the Hotel stands over until more shares are sold"[11]. An advertisement then stated that it was to be let for one year from 29th September[12]. The remodelling of the Queen's Hotel was left incomplete for many years[13].

A Mr. Langley was at the Queen's Head in early 1869 but later the same year it was advertised to let for a period of four years[14]. The licence was transferred from John Smith to James Blackshaw the following year and there followed a period of stability[15]. He lost the licence in 1890 after managing the Inn for twenty years, although the changeover was far from amicable[16]. William Clarke Abbott, formerly of the Cross Keys, Belper and who was born in Australia was the next person to run the hotel[17]. After his death in 1898 his widow, Millicent, took over the reins for a short while.

The Queen's Head Hotel had been sold in June 1898, during the Abbott's tenure, by Messrs J. and W. Heathcote of Derby on the instructions of the trustees the late Sir John Smith of Derby. The property was described as "forming the block in front of the exit from the railway station, and comprising the Queen's Head Hotel, Assembly Rooms and Market Hall". It was knocked down at £9450 to Mr Hanson of the Kimberley Brewery Company[18].

William Squires became the licensee in 1900[19], so he was at the hotel when these cards were posted. He was granted a theatrical licence for the Assembly Rooms in 1907[20]. He left the hotel in 1913 and passed away at Derby in 1917[21].

The Queen's Head is no longer an hotel.

This shows the Inn as it looked in the late
nineteenth century, before alterations were done
so that it formed one block with the market hall.
The hotel shown on the postcards is a very
different building, by this time in keeping with the
Market Hall next door - something planned when
that building was first proposed.

1. "Dale Road, Matlock". Valentine's Series postcard, no. 39924. British Manufacture. The original black and white / sepia version of this card was registered by Valentine in July 1903.
Posted, but date unreadable. The stamp is a George V one penny, printed between 1912 and 1924. Another card was posted in 1908.
From the collection of, kindly provided for this website by and © Ray Ash.
2. "Dale Crescent, Matlock". No publisher, but No.74728. Posted on 28 April 1908 in Gloucestershire. © Ann Andrews collection.
3. A small section of the undated image of Matlock Bridge published in the "The AutoChrome Album of Matlock & District". Scroll down the page to see the full image, which must have been taken some years before the probable publication date
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derbyshire Times", 2 June 1928.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 4 January 1930. Matlock Improvements, No. 7.

[3] Information from the late Frank Clay.

[4] "Derby Mercury", 6 Jan 1764 - Advert for sale of land at Northwood, Darley. Also "Derby Mercury", 13 January 1764 - "At Lidia Woodward's, the Queens-Head at Matlock-Bridge". Lidia was buried at St Giles, Matlock 17 Aug 1788. See burials. She was the widow of James Woodward, Yeoman, of Matlock. See Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames W-Z.

[5] "Derby Mercury", 1 December 1769, "Derby Mercury", 1 July 1784 and "Derby Mercury", 20 November 1806. This was almost certainly either Joseph Fletcher who died in 1814, or a combination of him and his son Joseph, a victualler who died intestate in 1810. See Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames C-G.

[6] "Derby Mercury", 19 January 1831. Anthony Walton can be found in Pigot's Directory for Derbyshire, 1828-9 | Glover's Directory for Derbyshire, 1827-29 | He died in March 1831 and was buried at St. Giles'. His Will was proved in 1831.

[7] Timothy Spencer was listed in Pigot's Directory, 1831 | Pigot's Directory for Derbyshire, 1835.

[8] "Derby Mercury", 6 March 1836. This was the earliest record found of Francis Roper living at the Queen's Head.
Mr. Roper is shown in the following Trade Directories: Pigot's 1842 | Bagshaw's 1846 |
He died in 1848 and was buried at St. Giles' in 1848. See Pre 1858 Wills. He married Elizabeth Hodgkinson at Wirksworth on 14 Oct 1833.

[9] Elizabeth Roper was the daughter of Joshua and Lydia Hodgkinson of Cromford and was born in 1806. She is listed in: Kelly's 1848 (as Mrs. Roper) | White's 1852 | Kelly's 1855 | White's 1857 | White's 1862 | Kelly's 1864 |
Elizabeth was also buried at St. Giles on 8 Feb 1892, aged 85. See Wills.

[10] "Derby Mercury", 21 March 1866. From the Company's prospectus.

[11] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 31 August 1866.

[12] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 7 September 1866 - To be Let for one year from 29th September - Queens Head Inn ... all that well-accustomed Inn known as the Queen's Head, now in the occupation of Mrs. Roper, situate Matlock Bridge, Derbyshire. - For further particulars apply to Mr. W. G. Wheatcroft.

[13] Comment from Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[14] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 12 March 1869. Langley was also there the previous year. The advert for a four year let was in the same newspaper on 24 September 1869.

[15] "Derby Mercury", 30 Mar 1870. The Petty Sessions granted the transfer of the license on 23 Mar. James Blackshaw can be found in Harrod's Directory 1870 (though the entry reads Blackwell) | the 1871 census | Kelly's 1876 | the 1881 census | Kelly's 1881 | Kelly's 1887. James was the son of James and Sarah Blackshaw and was born in Thulston. Read an 1886 newspaper report about a soiree he hosted at the Assembly Rooms.

[16] "Derbyshire Times", 21 March 1891. A Late Landlord asserts His Authority. "James Blackshaw, Matlock, was charged with being disorderly and refusing to quit the Queen's Head Hotel, Matlock, on the 26th ult." Mr. Blackshaw does not seem to have read a document he signed in 1890 but was assured that it would be "all right". If he was to be believed the matter does not seem to have been handled well. Nevertheless, he was in financial difficulties. See the Names in the London Gazette for 1890 and 1897.

[17] "Derbyshire Courier", 27 Sep 1890. Mr. Abbott applied for transfer of licence to him at the Brewster Sessions held on 24 Sep 1890. His death, at the age of 43, was reported in the "Derbyshire Times" of 26 November 1898. He can be found in the 1891 census | Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's 1899 Directory (although he had died by this time). His widow was still in Matlock in the 1901 census, although no longer at the Queen's Head.

[18] "Derbyshire Times", 11 June 1898. Sale of the Queen's Head Hotel and other property at Matlock.

[19] "Derby Mercury", 29 August 1900. Brewster Sessions, Matlock. William Squires of Derby was granted a temporary transfer of licence from Mrs. Millicent Abbott. The final transfer to him was agreed at the Brewster Sessions of 26 Sep 1900

[20] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 May 1907.

[21] UK Probate records.