Picture Gallery> Derbyshire Pictures Index> This page
The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Derbyshire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Ashbourne Market Place, early twentieth century
market place

Whilst this looks a quiet rural scene it would have been very different, and even chaotic, in late November/early December 1745 when Charles James Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his Army passed through and stayed overnight in Ashbourne. They were on their way to Derby but came through the town again on their homeward journey after they inexplicably turned round, having decided to retreat[1].

The Market Place, paved with limestone setts, is roughly triangular in shape and is bordered by slightly raised pavements on its west and north east sides. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner seems to have run out of steam when he reached this part of the town in the mid-twentieth century as he thought that there was "not much" in the Market Place although numbers 12-14 were early eighteenth century and the Market Fish Restaurant was timber framed, though its exterior was not original[2].

This view looks north towards what is today the Buxton Road. On the left is The Coffee House, managed in 1881 by Thomas Etherington and then by his father George who was the proprietor in both 1891 and 1901. He subsequently handed over the business to William Dugmore Shorthose[3]. George, who had moved to Church Street, died in 1912 aged 85.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 24 December 1863.
TO be LET, and may be entered upon at Lady-day next, that old-established and well-accustomed INN known by the sign of the GEORGE and DRAGON, situate the Market Place, Ashbourne. There is good and extensive stabling, the Inn has long enjoyed a large market connexion.—Enquire of Mr. Hollis, Market Place, Ashbourne.

The George and Dragon is the white rendered three storey building on the corner of Union Street. It holds a very dominant position in the Market Place and is Grade 2 listed today. The inn's sign, between the two windows on the top floor, is a very flamboyant gilded and painted depiction of St George and the Dragon. John C Prince from Ilam was at "The George" in 1901 with his brother Francis T Prince, an 18 year old veterinary student. By 1911 John Thomas Colwell from Lyddington in Rutland had taken over[3]. It is unclear quite how old the building is, but early trade directories show it was an inn from 1828, if not before[4].

Whilst it looks as if it is part of the Market Place, the double fronted shop just behind the George and Dragon used to be on the corner of Union Street. It was a family run grocery and bakery run by Edward Slater; his name is on the board above the shop's entrance[5]. It was eventually demolished, along with the shop next door (coloured white above).

There were a few businesses to the left of The Coffee House, not included in the picture, that are worth mentioning. The first was Elke's Dining Rooms, next to the Coffee House. Charles Henry Elke, who was there in 1887 was to move to Uttoxeter in 1908 and founded Elke's biscuits[6]. A little further down were the shops run by the Adin family who were in business in the Market Place for well over a hundred years[7]. Another familiar surname was Spencer. John Spencer, who had been slightly lower down in the Market Place, moved into Elke's premises with a confectionery and bakery.

Taking pride of place in the centre of the top image is the newly built Cottage Hospital. A hospital for the town had been talked about in the 1880s as part of the Royal Jubilee commemoration but the scheme was abandoned through lack of interest[8]. It was eventually built and opened in October 1903 by the Princess Christian[9].

The square western tower of St. John's Church, to the right of the hospital, almost seems to be part of the houses lower down the hill. St. John's was formerly Ashbourne Free Church and opened on 28th May 1871. It had been endowed with an annual income and a vicarage by Francis Wright esq. of Osmaston Manor[10]. The monument and drinking fountain on the right commemorates the life of Francis Wright, who died in 1873. The money to erect it was raised through a public subscription, at the behest of the inhabitants[11].

market place
Henry Hadfield Cubley's painting, circa 1900, shows the buildings above the Union Street
junction, so just past Slater's shop, with the properties on the right above the King Street
turning. Cubley was probably standing close to where the donkey's head was in the top image.
Some properties closest to the left hand edge of the painting were later demolished.
The number of steps up to the various premises emphasise the steepness of the slope.
Whilst the square tower on the skyline must belong to St. John's church it seems to be
slightly out of position. Buxton Road was shown as Low Top
on the 1 : 2500 Ordnance Survey maps for 1880-81 and 1900.

Ashbourne is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes A, which has more about the town.

The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames A - B | C - F | G - L |
R - S | T - Z

The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Charters, Documents & Deeds : Places A - B, mentions Ashbourne

More about the artist (under Matlock)

1. "Market Place, Ashbourne". Valentine's Series, No.41871 Printed in Great Britain. Unused but first published in 1904.
2. "Old Houses, Market Place, Ashbourne". Ralph Tuck & Sons "Oilette" [Regd,] Postcard 1665 No.1584 [or1684]. Art Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen. Posted on 6 Jun 1905 in Germany.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] This was known as the Jacobite Rising or the Forty-Five Rebellion and he and his troops reached Derby on 4th December that year. Bonnie Prince Charlie was also known as The Young Pretender. His grandfather was James II and his father's half sisters were Queen Mary and Queen Anne.

[2] Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953), "The Buildings of England, Derbyshire", Penguin Books.

[3] Extracted from census returns. Thomas Etherington's son, Neville, was born at the coffee house in 1886 (this from his g granddaughter, Jeannie, with grateful thanks).

[4] The following people advertised in various nineteenth trade directories: Thos Oakden, victualler (Pigot 1828-9, Glover 1827-9); Mary Stubs (Pigot 1835); Mary Frith (Slater's 1850); Thomas Waterfall (Harrison 1860); Jno Bramwell (Wright's 1874).
Next was Richard Peake (Kelly's 1881 - Richard Peake, George & Dragon commercial hotel, horses and carriages on hire, refreshments for tourists & others, Market place, Kelly's 1891 and 1895 - Richard Peake - entry the same as 1881).

[4] Edward Slater, who was born in Hulland (1901 census), lived above the shop and his son Charles worked for him. In 1912 (Kelly's Directory) his advertisement described his firm as grocer & provision dealer, brewer of hop. Their Market Place business was still advertising in 1928 (Kelly's Directory).

[6] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 27 November 1908
Ashbourn. Presentation to Mr. C. H. Elkes. At the Lodge room. Marketplace. Ashbourn, Thursday evening. There was a presentation by Bro. C. H. Hikes, Chief Templar of the Dove, to mark his retirement from the neighbourhood as he had begun a new business in Uttoxeter.

[7] In 1911 John C Adin was a glass, earthenware and hosiery dealer in the Market Place. The property was large - 14 rooms with a yard (Adin's Yard) at the back, according to the census. They had been trading for around 50 years by this time and were there for more than another 50 years.

[8] Information from various newspaper articles, including the "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal" 24 December 1886 and the "Derbyshire Courier" of 30 April 1887 and 3 May 1887.

[9] "Derbyshire Times", 17 October 1903. Notes by the Way. The Princess Christian was Helena, third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She had married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein but remained in the United Kingdom. She was a founder member of the Red Cross and President of the Royal British Nurses' Association.

[10] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1891 and 1928.

[11] "Derbyshire Times", 10 May 1873. "Ashbourne. Memorial of Francis Wright, Esq.—A wish having been expressed by many of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Ashbourne that a memorial should be erected to the memory the late Francis Wright, Esq., of Osmaston who has been so many years intimately connected with this town ... and has ever been ready to assist in any good work ... to promote the prosperity and well being of the inhabitants". The public meeting to decide what form the memorial should take was convened by Mr. E. Bradley.

Derbyshire Pictures Index
Next page
Previous page
Also see
Our Genealogy
Images of
Matlock & Matlock Bath

Derbyshire Maps

Dovedale, from Hartington to Ashbourne, 1908

Visitors to Matlock Bath - Elkes Girl Pipers, 1937