Sunday, 23 December 2012

Echoes of our Past ~ NEWS..... 22nd December 1894

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS
What was in the local news this weekend in 1894?

 *Christmas at the shops –

The Derbyshire Times wrote “may none lack the necessary coin of the realm to produce some of the luxuries so lavishly provided by those distributors who give their time and thought to get them together”.  A quote that would still stand the test of time to this day, shopping was on the minds of the townspeople way back over 100 years ago. 

But what was on offer for the residents of Chesterfield?  What was the town like back in 1894?
The population was increasing and the town was growing in an expanse out from the town centre.  New buildings had been erected in the town, shops had been built with handsome frontage. Crowds were said to pass through the main areas of business, housewives “seeking the best in the market”. 

Chesterfield was boasting “a finer show of meat could not be found within 50 miles of the old Borough”.  Bullocks, heifers and pigs would have been slaughtered for the resident’s consumption that Christmas.  Mr S E Redfern was said to have a “marvellous display” at his High Street shop, with its star attraction being a shorthorn bullock named “Masterpiece”, which when alive had won prizes at Birmingham and Smithfiled shows.  Mr Dempsey who kept a butcher’s shop on Glumangate was also attracting the crowds to view his many grand bullocks, a lamb and a calf all would have made the mouths of the Chesterfield people water longingly.   Even if they could not afford such luxury, it cost nothing to look.
Apparently, Pork was a firm favourite with the townsfolk and up to Thursday 20th December Mr S Hadfield a butcher on the High Street, had slaughtered around 100 pigs and expected this figure to reach 120 by Christmas.  The pork would be jointed and also made into sausages and pork pies.  Mr George Haag, a noted pork butcher with shops on Beetwell Street and South Street had made 250 stones worth of pork pies alone.

What about the turkeys and game? Chesterfield was privileged to have two fine poultry sellers; Mrs A Warner in the Market Hall and Mr W Bramwell on Burlington Street and Packers Row.  Mrs Warner had for sale; 1,200 turkeys, 800 geese, 1,000 hares, 1,000 braces of pheasants and many other smaller game including fowls and wild ducks.  Mr Bramwell held smaller numbers but still made a grand show with; 600 hares, 400 geese, 500 turkeys, 700 rabbits, 350 braces of pheasant, 150 ducks and a large number of partridges.
For the sweet toothed out there in Chesterfield then there were many confectioners;  including Mrs Green of Corporation Street, Mr F A Bingham of Glumangate and Mr Wardell of Burlington Street.  Jams and marmalade could be purchased from the Midland Fruit Preserving Company.  Mrs Ann Shentall was praised for her striking display of fruit and vegetables decorated with “exquisite flowers” in her shop on Glumangate.  One may even obtain a Florida orange, grown in Chesterfield by Mr Meggitt.

Other than food what else would adorn the shop windows in the hope of luring the shoppers in to spend their shillings? 

Tobacconists could be found in Chesterfield; Briddon’s on Burlington Street had counters and shelves full of cigars, packets of cigarettes and a wide array of pipes.  Mr Green’s window in Holywell Street was especially worthy of mention due to his “delightful profusion, with a blending of colours to make the whole thing striking”.

Christmas was a great time for the wine and spirit merchants of Chesterfield to sell their wares.  One of the main men in this trade was T P Wood & Co, whose premises on Market Place had been decorated by the gardener employed by Hady House a man named Mr Clements.  This must have been a true spectacle of greenery and festive blooms of holy and berries.   Not forgetting Brampton Brewery and Tadcaster Brewery who would “render every facility for persons desirous of obtaining beer or stout in bottles or in small or large cases” the townspeople would like now, consume a large amount of spirits, beers and wines.
Whilst the residents were shopping they would need to be wrapped up warm, Mr J Smith of Burlington Street a hatter and outfitter sold ladies and gents gloves, mufflers, ties, caps and shirts to name but a few of his products.  For those who had a few coins in their purses then gold and silver jewellery could be purchased from Mr Roper, jeweller in Market Place.  Watches, clocks and other fancy goods were all available to make a wonderful Christmas present.
The Derbyshire Times did call out to the residents to think “who made the nick-knacks they purchase?” According to them, most would be “Made in Germany”.  They asked “when will this land maintain its own people first?  Cannot these fancy goods be as easily and well made at home?”

And so our “stroll” around Chesterfield in 1894 for our Christmas shopping is at an end.   What would the residents think of our super store shopping of today?  It seems that all of the businesses of Chesterfield were trying to make money from the Yuletide Season, may be it wasn’t as different as we think from 1894 to 2012.

*Suicide –
Mr Job Moorhouse of Littlemoor, Newbold has died after an attempt to take his own life. On Thursday 20th December he attempted to cut his own throat with a razor in his bedroom.  His wife called for medical assistance.  P C Whittaker heard of the incident and called on the house and stayed the rest of the afternoon. 

Job was confined to his bedroom but his injuries were not life threatening.  Sadly, the man was intent on finishing the job he started and during the afternoon he asked his wife to fetch him something from downstairs.  She obliged and Job quickly locked the bedroom door.  He then made a severe gash to his throat and died afterwards. 

Job was well known in Chesterfield, he had retired a few years earlier after running a provisions merchant shop and running a business as a pig dealer.  He was also a member of the Methodist Church and was a lay preacher.
His later insanity was said to be derived from his liking for drink.  The inquest was held at the Goldsmiths Arms, Newbold and a verdict of “suicide whilst temporarily insane” was reached.

*Child burnt -
On Thursday 20th December a child named Ernest Wright was admitted to the Chesterfield
Hospital, after being burnt whilst playing in front of the fire.
*Assault –
A tailor from Saltergate named Arthur Moore was up in front of the Chesterfield Borough Bench accused of being drunk and disorderly and assaulting Sarah Whitham.

He was found by PC Skidmore in the Shambles, where Arthur’s friends were trying to take him home. 
Sarah Whitham was Arthur’s sister-in-law, he had married her sister.  She stated that Arthur and her sister had lived apart for some time.  Arthur had visited Sarah at her shop and threatened to shoot her, then struck her on her face with his fist. 

Arthur was found guilty and imprisoned in Derby Gaol for 2 months with hard labour.

*Mr George William Wainer of Eastwood to Mary Heald of Selston at the Parish Church Selston on 15th December
*Elizabeth Parsons aged 57 years on 14th December at Newbold

*Gwendoline Clark aged 1 year at Newbold on 18th December

*Lilian May Woofenden aged 20 months on 14th December at Whittington

*Harold Heath aged 16 months on 16th December at Newbold

At Chesterfield Workhouse –
*Anthony Jerrison aged 76 years on 6th December
*John Hughes aged 71 years on 8th December
*Henry Carding aged 26 years on 12th December
*Football –
Chesterfield had a busy week ahead with games to be played at the Avenue Ground on Whittington Moor as follows –
Saturday 22nd December - Chesterfield V Attercliffe
Monday 24th December – Chesterfield V Barnsley
Wednesday 26th December – Chesterfield V Sheepbridge

A special Christmas Day match was to be played by Chesterfield V Sheepbridge Works
Christmas 1894, as described in the Derbyshire Times 22nd December page 5 –
Next Tuesday (Christmas Day) the world over English families – many members of which have long been parted – will gather together.  Under the scorching rays of an Eastern Sun our Indian friends will meet.  In Canada where the ice holds everything in its cold grasp, under the summer, cloudless, sky of Australia and Africa, amid the snow or mist of England’s shores, English men and women will gather round the table.  Gaps there will always be, but it is not a time for vain regrets.  It is a day of joviality and thankfulness – the home-day of the year of that great family of Englishmen – on the world over. 
Some will be there whose Christmas board will be bare, and whose Xmas day will be ushered in amid want and sorrow.  A helping hand and a kindly thought for them will sweeten our own Christmas joys.”


  1. Living in Canada, but loved reading about Chesterfield in 1894 and Mr George Haag. my great grandfather and his Pork pies :) Thanks Georgina OSullivan

    1. Thanks Georgina, glad you found your great grandfather mentioned. I have just reread the post, didnt Christmas sound so special back then!