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Matlock: Dale Road & Marsdens, 1928 & Early 1950s
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Marsdens and London County Westminster & Parrs Bank Letterheads

Parr's Bank Letterheads

Letterheads for Westminster Bank

Hall & Co, early 20th century

Dale Road, two early
Edwardian views

Dale Road & the
Queen's Head Hotel

Dale Road & the
Moore's bakery

Marsdens Outfitters, Drapers and Costumiers[1] has long disappeared from Dale Road but it was, in its day, a wonderful shop. 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].


The first enlargement from the top image shows three Dale Road buildings next door to the drapery that were affected by a serious fire in February 1899. The back part of Marsden's grocery and provision store, next door to the drapery in Derwent House and the closest to the camera, was "burnt out through the roof" in the fire; the sub-manager was a Mr. Slater who lived on the premises with his family. He was not insured. Fred Else's stationers next door was completely destroyed; he also sold toys and fancy goods and his shop had recently been restocked. Fortunately the family were away but he kept firearms and cartridges in the house that exploded as the fire intensified. Fire also affected Parr's Bank (destroyed "up to the line of the block"), but the resident manager - Mr. Jewitt - and his wife, child and servant also escaped. Parr's had only recently absorbed into or had been taken over the Derby and Derbyshire Bank[4] and, miraculously, everything belonging to the bank was saved. Unbelievably, the spaniel owned by Mr. Else was found in the basement the following day by insurance inspectors[5].

The Treadgold's, who lived opposite, not only provided enormous help in salvaging items etc from the bank but also gave shelter to Mr. Jewitt and his family as well as that of Mrs. Arthur Marsden. Treadgold's shop suffered relatively minor damage, though had plenty of broken windows, but it would have been very different if the wind had been blowing in another direction. Mrs. Abbott, landlady of the Queen's Head, had opened up the Market Hall for rescued goods and took the Slater family in; the children were wrapped in blankets and counterpanes. As Mr. Balguy, the general manager of Parr's and who had formerly lived at the bank, said "We have a roof over our heads and that is all"[5].

William Boden, a builder living on Matlock Bank, was commissioned to reconstruct the bank almost immediately. The two other premises had to be almost totally rebuilt[6]. Once the work was completed Parr's Bank changed buildings (it is the NatWest today). James Potter, a local solicitor, moved his offices and also the Magistrates' Clerk's Office from Holt Chambers into the former bank (Bridge Chambers) and the firm still occupies the building (2017)[7]. Unfortunately, the small garden and the stone columns and entrance porch have been removed at some stage. It has been suggested that Potter's had once been a temperance hotel but there is no evidence to support the theory[8]. Marsden's menswear was eventually housed in the grocery and provision store building.

Second enlargement of the top image

A little further along Dale Road in the early 1950s was W. H. Moore's bakery, with the Hovis sign below the first floor window that can be seen in the second enlargement of the top image. Moore's was established on Dale Road some time before 1881[9]; although Moore had opened his first premises in Brampton in 1863, but he quickly transferred back to Matlock. His parents, Peter and Eliza, set up their own business when they arrived on Matlock Bank in the late 1840s but their son branched out on his own.

Next door was the Manchester Store[10], 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[11]. Lennard's shoe shop (with the white signs) was on the opposite side of the sideway (Lennard's Corner)[12]. The name Lennard'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 and 4. Enlargements of sections of item 1.
5. 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 1912 | 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] When the Derby & Derbyshire Bank opened this branch at Matlock Bridge in 1877 it was "under the superintendence of Robert Chadwick ("Derbyshire Times", 14 July 1877). The late Frank Clay, who knew his daughters, confirms the location in notes about the Matlocks held by the webmistress: he was "bank manager where Westminster Bank was eventually". See Matlock Bath: Heights of Abraham, Wooded Slopes

[5] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 6 February 1899 and "Derbyshire Times", 11 February 1899. Mr. Balguy was living on Dale Road in 1881.

[6] "Derbyshire Times", 4 March 1899. Preliminary Sale Announcement by Joseph Hodgkinson, the Auctioneer and James Potter that (Lot 1) two valuable site in Dale Road occupied by Messrs Marsden, Grocer and Messrs Else stationer, recently burnt down.

[7] "Derbyshire Times", 31 May 1902. Several Good Rooms, suitable for Offices (in the building late Parr's Bank) advertised to let by James Potter.
This was quickly followed by "Derbyshire Times", 21 June 1902. Potter's Notice of Removal.

[8] There had been a temperance hotel nearby, in Riversdale House. This was Brown's Hotel. For more informatio see Matlock Bridge: Bank House, formerly Riversdale House, about 1902 and Matlock Bridge, Pic Tor Walk, 1909.

[9] 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 both nineteenth century trade directories and twentieth century trade directories.

[10] This business, Manchester Store, appeared in trade directories from 1895. See Kelly's 1895 Directory (under Loverock & Son). Earlier than that it was Loverock & Son. An early advertisement was published in Matlock & District Amateur Operatic Society, The Mikado, 1908 (scroll down). Also Matlock: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1950-1966 (7) - two items.

[11] There is more information about Hall & Co., in the early 20th century.

[12] 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.