Derby : Its Rise and Progress

By H.W. Davison

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2016

Derby - Its Rise and Progress

TOWN ANNALS (1833-1905)


February. Petition signed for a reduction of the duty on soap.

March., The Town Hall clock illuminated with gas.

April. Petition signed for the abolition of the house and window tax.

July. Sheridan Knowles and Ellen Tree in the "Hunchback", etc., at the Theatre, which was "well and fashionably attended as in its palmy days". The famous actor also gave a lecture on elocution in the Lancasterian Schoolroom in aid of the Infirmary Fund.

August. An omnibus began running daily between Derby and Leicester.


January. An influential meeting of Dissenters was held in Brookside Chapel to discuss their grievances regarding marriages, burials, church rates, etc.

February 12th. During the Shrove Tuesday game of football about two thousand of the people out on strike walked in procession to Duffield to avoid complications.

May. Resolved that the news-room in the Market Place be closed on Sundays, and that no newspaper be taken home on Saturday nights.



July. Rejoicings over the abolition of slavery in the British Colonies. Public breakfast in Green Hill Chapel.

December. The royal mail-coach service between Derby and Manchester accelerated, the journey occupying six-and-a-half hours.


April. The Arctic navigator. Sir John Ross, and his lady passed through the town.

August. Mr. and Miss Vandenhoff at the Theatre in "Coriolanus".


March. Organ opened in St. John's Church.

During the Assizes a strong wind threw down a weather vane, which fell on the roof of the County Hall, the noise creating a panic in the crowded court. The judge, the barristers, jurymen and audience fled, leaving wigs, gowns, hats and umbrellas, and for half-an-hour the court was suspended.

A vase of Etruscan biscuit-ware, ordered by the Marchioness of Hastings for the Princess Victoria, was on view at the China Factory.

July. There were at this time no oil lamps and 210 gas lamps in the streets.

August. An accident occurred to the Union coach, owing to a wheel coming off near Spondon. The coach being full, several passengers were bruised and shaken, and one lady had her leg broken.

September. Decided that the Town Hall be lighted with gas, a disturbance having occurred in the Borough Court, and the audience, taking advantage of the ill-lighted building, hooted the Recorder.

December. Heavy snowstorm throughout the south of England. On December 27th, the London mail-coach was over twenty-one hours late at Derby.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.295


July. Funeral of King William IV. The shops were closed and the church bells tolled.

July 25th. Contested election for the borough Strutt and Ponsonby against Curzon and Colvile.

August. The "Queen Victoria" coach commenced running through Derby between London and Manchester.

August 19th. Completion of the work of covering in the brook-course from St. Peter's to St. James* bridges.


April. An omnibus called "Protector" began running between Derby and Ashbourne.

June 28th. Festivities in honour of the Coronation of Queen Victoria. The town was gaily decorated, the school children, to the number of 4,600, walked through the streets and took tea in the afternoon. The employers invited their workpeople to dinner; at the China Factory one hundred and fifty people sat down to dinner and tea.

On the same day, the congregation of the Roman Catholic chapel marched in procession, preceded by their beadle, from Chapel Street to Bridge Gate to lay the foundation-stone of their new church.

August. Stormy meeting held in St. Peter's parish to oppose the church-rate.


January. New Year's ball held at the Mechanics' Institution. Dr. Francis Fox, a local leader in the education movement, made sixteen gallons of coffee for the company with his patent coffee pot.

January 28th. A great Chartist meeting held on Chester Green, the principal speaker, in the absence of Feargus O'Connor, being George Julian Harney. The authorities anticipating trouble, enrolled thirty-nine extra police for the occasion, but there was no disturbance.



February. A town's meeting held to advocate the abolition of the Corn Laws.

A requisition to the Postmaster, signed by many persons, asking that their letters be not forwarded to them on Sundays.

March. All Saints' Parish Workhouse in Walker Lane offered for sale.

June 4th. Railway between Derby and Nottingham opened for general traffic.

August 12th. Derby and Birmingham Junction Railway opened.

September 3rd and 4th. Brilliant aurora borealis, with showers of meteors.

September 25th. The great Exhibition in the Mechanics' Hall had, to this date, attracted no less than 95,804 visitors.

November 30th. The General Post Office removed from Queen Street to the New Buildings in "Victoria Walk".


January. General distress among the stockingers, silk weavers, and others.

June. The North Midland Railway opened for general traffic between Derby and Leeds.


March. Suggestions in the local press for covering over the rest of the Brook course.

November 15th. Mr. John Hullah lectured at the Athenæum on his method of instruction in vocal music.

Contested Election. Result : Strutt (Whig} 891; Ponsonby (Whig), 789; ChancJos-Pole (Tory), 589.


April 1. A calamitous flood in Derby, caused by an extraordinary rise in the Markeaton Brook, From Nun's Street, along Brook Street, to the Morledge, where the brook empties itself into the Derwent, the streets were flooded to the height of 4 to 5 feet. In Jury Street it was 5 feet 9 inches.[81] Damage to shops and houses and goods estimated at over £25,000.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.297


June 26th. Feargus O'Connor, editor of the Northern Star, addressed a Chartist meeting in the Theatre.

August 15th. Trade disturbances, scarcity of food and Chartist agitation. About 400 stockingers and others from Duffield and district came into Derby to organise a general strike, but without effect. A section of the 2nd Dragoon Guards arrived from Nottingham, and order was maintained.

August 17th. The Mayor, Mr. Stephen Gamble, prohibited the holding of meetings, and nothing further occurred of a serious nature.


March 31st. Friday. Bonsall, Bland, and Hulme (a sweep) hanged for the murder of Martha Goddard, an old lady, of Stanley. It is stated that 35,000 to 40,000 people witnessed the execution.

July. Royal Agricultural Show first held at Derby, in Osmaston Park.

August. Corporation Committee's Report published re the state of the Brook course.

December 1st. Friday. Queen Victoria passed through Derby Station on her way to Chatsworth. A large crowd thronged the platform.


January 13th. Joseph Strutt, Esq., donor of the Arboretum, died at his residence in St. Peter's [ Street, aged 79 years. [Ed: a handwritten annotation 'Born 1755']

January 16th. Christ Church, Normanton Road, consecrated.

May 16th. Holy Thursday. Perambulation of St. Peter's Parish. After morning service, the parishioners, headed by the Derby Brass Band, started from the Morledge to "beat the bounds". They reached Normanton about two o'clock, when the children were regaled with buns and ale, about 2,000 buns and 72 gallons of ale being consumed,



November 5th. During the work of arching over the Brook in the Morledge, part of the culvert near the Mill Fleam fell in, killing six men.


April 15th. On removing the centres from the new culvert in the Morledge, part of the arch again collapsed, killing two men.

Derby and Crewe Junction Railway (North Staffordshire) projected.


February 16th. Public meeting to advocate the cutting of a new street direct from the railway station to the Market Place. The opposition of tradesmen on the existing routes, however, defeated the scheme.

July 14th. About twelve yards of the culvert at the Mill Fleam again collapsed, but fortunately the workmen were absent.

September 15th. The new Church of St. Alkmund opened; Mr. Isaac Henry Stevens, Architect.


January. The "electric telegraph" recently opened to London. The Queen's Speech on opening Parliament was received by wire.

February. Operations performed at the Infirmary with the aid of sulphuric ether, an anaesthetic superseded a few months later by chloroform.

June. Miss Helen Faucit (the late Lady Martin) recited extracts from Shakespeare, etc., at the theatre. [She was a cousin of J. Faucit Saville, the Manager.]


February. Scheme for waterworks at Little Eaton under consideration.

July. Great archery meeting held at Litchurch.

August. The Races held on the new Race-course, Nottingham Road. Wm. Denham, Clerk of the Course.

December 2nd. Samuel Tomlinson, a patient at the Private Asylum, Green Hill, was murdered by a fellow-lunatic.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.299


February 28th. Jenny Lind sang at a concert in the Lecture Hall, before an audience of 1,200 people,

June nth. St. Paul's Church, Chester Green, founded.

June 27th. Meeting held to establish a Ragged School.

September 28th. The Queen, Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, and Princess Royal passed through Derby from Scotland, and slept at the Midland Hotel; Manager, Mr. J. Cuff.

October 24th. Public meeting to protest against the Post Office being open on Sundays.

The Chin a Factory on Nottingham Road finally closed.


July. The agitation concerning the Wesleyan "Reformers" - Griffith, Dunn, and Everett still continued. These three ministers were expelled from the Conference in the previous year, and were the originators of the Methodist Free Church body. The followers of Mr. Wm. Griffith built the chapel in Becket Street, in 1857, of which he was minister till his death in 1883.

August. The Queen and Prince Albert passed through Derby, the train stopping to change engines near the Nottingham Road Bridge. A special train of m open carriages conveyed the gentry of Derby and neighbourhood from the railway station to the point where the royal train came to a stand, and the Prince Consort occupied the short interval in conversing with the Mayor, Mr. J. Haywood, inquiring into the state of the crops and other local matters.

December. Meeting of the town and neighbourhood in the County Hall to protest against the "Papal aggression". (The local press full of reports and opinions concerning the newly-formed Roman Catholic dioceses.)



The waterworks completed at Little Eaton.

December 27th. Alarming fire at RatclifFs, Ironmongers, in the Corn Market, at which water was used from the new mains with effective results.


August 5th. Dinner at the Assembly Rooms in honour of Mr. Joseph Paxton (afterwards Sir Joseph), designer of the Crystal Palace for the great Exhibition, to see which, during the summer, many of the artisan class visited London for the first time.


March 26th. Anthony Turner hanged at the County Prison for the murder of Mrs. Barnes.

July. General Election. Result: Bass (L.), 1,252; Horsfall (C.), 1,025; Heyworth (L.), 1018.

August 25th. The Guild of Literature and Art, with Mr. Charles Dickens, played "The Frozen Deep" and "Mr. Nightingale's Diary" at the Lecture Hall, which was filled in all parts.


March 9th. Inquiry by Committee of the House of Commons into the question of bribery at the late election resulted in Mr. Horsfall being unseated and Mr. Heyworth declared elected.

July 13th. Fire at Davenport's Mill, which stood between the present Market Hall and Corn Exchange. Job Mead, aged 21, dropped from a window 50 ft. from the ground, and died from his injuries.

Severe winter. Grouse and wild ducks came into the gardens of the town. Derwent frozen below Long Bridge.


April. Strike of guards and porters at the Midland Railway Station on the question of the Company retaining a fortnight's wages.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.301


September 4th. The distinguished Baptist minister and author, the Rev. J.G. Pike, aged 70 years, was found dead, sitting at his study table, pen in hand, in the Chapel House, St. Mary's Gate.


Scots Greys passed through Derby en route for seat of war. Rejoicings over unfounded rumour that Sebastopol was taken.

November 3rd. The Derby and Manchester mail-coach ceased running. It reached the Bell Office, Sadler Gate, daily at 4 p.m., returning at 8 a.m. The last coachman was William Burditt, and the last proprietors the late Mr. William Wallace Wallis, of Derby, and Mr. William Greaves, of Bakewell.


February 23rd. Jenny Lind again in Derby. May. Peace rejoicings over the close of the Crimean War. "An ox was roasted and given to tEe poor, also a number of sheep in various parts of the town, whilst the many employers of labour gave substantial dinners to their workpeople.

June 23rd. Monday. Enoch Stone, aged 45 years, a silk glove maker, of Spondon, was murdered late at night on the Nottingham Road, "about 300 yards on the Derby side of the third mile post".

August 17th. The gable end of the chancel of St. Michael's Church fell during service.

December 15th. Mr. W.M. Thackeray, novelist, lectured before the Mayor and an appreciative audience on "George III". (Lectures on the Four Georges.)


June 6th. Two cannon from Sebastopol brought to Derby, and after being drawn round the town in procession, with music, etc., were placed in the Arboretum.



September 5th. Rev. Jas. Gawthom died, aged 82 years. He was minister of the Congregational chapel in Victoria Street for 57 years.

November. As an Act of Parliament had recently forbidden the practice of chimney-climbing, subscriptions were raised in Derby to buy for each sweep a "Ramoneur" brush.

December 2nd. Death of Mr. Henry Mozley, Coroner. He was Mayor in 1847.


September 13th. Madame Piccolomini and party gave an evening concert in the Temperance Hall.

October 22nd. Friday. Charles Dickens gave a reading in the Lecture Hall. He had arranged to read his "Christmas Carol", but on request the programme was altered to a series of extracts from "The Poor Traveller", "Boots at the Holly Tree Inn", and chapters from "Martin Chuzzlewit" (Mrs. Gamp, etc.). Opinion was strongly divided, many agreeing with the Mercury that "The 'Christmas Carol' would have been infinitely preferable". The Reporter took an opposite view, and much correspondence ensued, in which it was pointed out that Dickens had changed his plan at the request of his audience.

November 4th. Thursday. New organ opened in St. Alkmund's Church.

December 16th. John Balguy, Esq., Q.C., Recorder of Derby for over twenty years, died, aged 76 years.

December 29th. The Methodist minister, Dr. Morley Punshon, preached at King Street Chapel.


June. Volunteer Corps to be established.

June 9th. Thursday. The Baptist minister, Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, preached two sermons in a marquee on the Holmes. The collections amounted to £153, the balance being given to Agard Street Chapel.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.303


July 14th. New organ opened at St. Michael's Church.

July 14th. Mr. Thomas Cooper, the old Chartist, lectured at the Temperance Hall.


February 27th. During a great gale the top (about eleven feet) of the spire of St. Alkmund's was blown off, carrying away the weather vane and ball through the roof into the church, damaging the pews, the organ, and the floor.

June 8th. The American horse-tamer, J.S. Rarey, gave an exhibition of his powers in a marquee on the Holmes. He applied his system to three local horses (unbroken), his method being to render the animal helpless by strapping one leg in an ingenious manner.


July 12th. Friday. Blondin, the famous ropewalker, performed in the Arboretum. Although the day was wet, a great crowd witnessed his feats, the rope being suspended near the Florentine Boar statue.

December 17th. The new Cattle Market on the Holmes opened for the show of Christmas fat stock.


January 20th. Monday. The Corn Exchange opened with a concert, in which Jenny Lind, Mr. Sims Reeves, and other stars took part.

April 12th. Saturday. Richard Thorley, who had murdered Eliza Morrow in Agard Street, was hanged at the County Gaol. Nearly 20,000 people are said to have been present.

June. Charles Pitt played at the Corn Exchange in Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's "Money".

October 4th. Speech Day revived at the Grammar School, which had recently been removed from the old rooms in St. Peter's Churchyard to St. Helen's House, the Corporation having voted £2,000 towards the purchase money.



January. Martin's pictures, "The Plains of Heaven", etc., attracted large crowds to the Athenæum Rooms.

January 24th. Saturday. Extensive fire at the carriage-building works of Messrs. Holmes on the London Road. The fire, which broke out on Saturday night, employed the brigade until Monday morning.

November. The widening of Iron Gate to be proceeded with.

December. Mr. Edward Foster, centenarian, granted £60 out of the Royal Bounty Fund.

December 29th. George Victor Townley respited. He had murdered his sweetheart, Miss Elizabeth Goodwin, near Wigwell Hall, but through the action of his lawyer, Mr. Leech, a respite was granted whilst inquiry was made as to his sanity. The indignation in the press, both local and national, was very pronounced. On February 12th, 1865, he committed suicide by throwing himself over the staircase in Pentonville Prison.


January. Messrs. Wood and Hazeldine, toll collectors for the borough, sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour for embezzlement.

November 26th. A meeting in the Town Hall to form a Chamber of Commerce.


March. Strike of bricklayers and some allied trades on the question of wages.

April 22nd. Saturday. The lifeboat "Florence Nightingale", purchased by the people of Derby for the port of Sunderland, was taken in procession through the town and launched upon the Derwent at Darley Lane.

July 12th. Wednesday. General Election. Result: Cox (C.), 1,096; Bass (L.), 1,063; Plimsoll (L.), 691; Beale, 608. (The last election under the old franchise of £10 house-holders.)

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.305


July 20th. M.T. Bass, Escl, M.P., gave the Recreational Grounds on the "Holmes" to the town.

July 31st. Monday. E.A. Sothern as "Lord Dundreary", at the Corn Exchange.

September. Frith's celebrated picture, "The Railway Station", on view at Keene's.

October 16th. Mr. S. Walker Cox robbed and left senseless by two men who attacked him on Cherry Tree Hill, Nottingham Road.


May 10th. St. Andrew's Church consecrated.

June. The new Market Hall opened. The Borough Authorities, Freemasons, and others in procession. The Mayor (F, Longdon, Esq.) opened the Hall. The Duke of Devonshire spoke. The Oratorio (the "Messiah") conducted by Alfred Mellon; Messrs. Sims Reeves, Lewis Thomas, Madame Sainton-Dolby, Lemmens Sherrington, Soloists. Public dinner. Concerts and treats to children on following days.

July. The Times commented on the lack of respect shown by the High Sheriff to the Judge of Assize (Justice Mellor) on entering Derby. An absence of ceremony and of display were the chief items of complaint. The Mercury is pleased to notice a marked improvement at the following Assizes.

July 26th. The famous conjurer, J.H. Anderson, "The Wizard of the North", appeared at the Corn Exchange.

November 1st Mr. Geo. Rickman, stationmaster, killed near the railway station, being run over by a train.

December 27th. St. James's Church consecrated.


January 10th. The award in the matter of the burgess-rights in the Siddals and Chequers Closes issued by Mr. E.S. Gisborne on behalf of the Commissioners.



March. Serious floods, causing loss and damage to houses about Chester Green and the Nottingham Road.

May 13th. Walter Montgomery, actor, made his last public appearance in England at the Lecture Hall, before sailing for a tour in Australia. (Committed suicide in London, September 1st, 1871.)

December 21st. Saturday. Extensive fire at a timber yard in Siddals Road, adjoining the Railway Station.


June 18th. Extensive fire at Etches' cheese warehouse near the Railway Station. Much damage done to adjoining property.

4 November. General Election. Result: Bass, 5,081; Plimsoll, 4,753; Cox, 2,523. (The first election under the Act of 1867, giving the franchise in boroughs to all householders.)


April. Trees recently planted along Friar Gate, the cost being met by subscription.

April 8th. Mr. Mark Lemon, editor of Punch, appeared at the Corn Exchange, in the part of "Falstaff".

May. An agitation, revived at intervals both before and since, to establish a stipendiary magistracy in the borough. Numerous complaints concerning the "velocipede mania", the cyclists using the footpaths to the danger of pedestrians.

May 13th. Thursday. A brilliant aurora borealis visible.

May 25th. Tuesday. The demolition of the Piazzas, which formed the east side of Rotten Row, commenced. This improvement, which enlarged the Market Place, and benefited greatly the traffic of the town, was originally suggested by William Hutton in his History of Derby, 1791.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.307


Promenade concerts given by the Volunteer Band during the summer evenings, in the Market Place, in Friar Gate, and other parts of the town.

September. An application to remove the fishmongers from the Market Place, the shopkeepers complaining of the noise and uproar.

October. The question of a Free Library discussed once more.

October 18th. Phelps, the tragedian, at the Corn Exchange as Sir Pertinax Macsycophant in the "Man of the World".

December. The block system of railway signalling established between Derby and Nottingham.

December 4th. A ferocious dog passed through Derby on Saturday night, biting several persons on its way, and appearing at Loughborough about 10 o'clock on Sunday morning.

December. The town partially surrounded by floods, Chester Green and the Derwent Valley generally being submerged. The Markeaton Brook rose and flooded the adjoining property, the cellars in the Corn Market included.


March 1st. Shrove Tuesday. A football was thrown up in Agard Street, and, in imitation of the old custom, was taken into the brook, where an attempt was made to strike it against the ancient goal.

March 29th. A large organ at the Drill Hall was opened by W.T. Best, Esq., of Liverpool.

May 5th. An Art Exhibition was opened in the Drill Hall with much ceremony, many of the county gentry assisting. A silver mace was presented to the Mayor on the occasion. The exhibition remained open until October 31st, being made attractive by various bands of music, etc.



December 17th. Mr. Stephen Glover, the Derby historian, died at Liverpool, aged 77 years. His unfinished History of Derbyshire was published in 1831-3.


January 23. First School Board election in the borough.

Easter Fair. A swing-boat in the Morledge broke down, injuring a number of children.

July 21 st. Friday. A display of fireworks took place, accompanied by a band of music, in the Market Place, to commemorate the final removal of the Piazzas.

November. The question of early closing of shops agitated.

December. Short strike at the Midland Railway Works.


May. Strike in the silk trade.

August 11th. The Derby bellman went round, crying that "Sir Roger Tichborne would meet his friends that day at Loughborough".

August 21 st. The Market Place paved with granite cubes in place of the old pebbles. The market pump about to be removed.

October. The Tichborne "Claimant" and Dr. Kenealy at the Lecture Hall, Derby.

December 17th. Tuesday. The Prince and Princess of Wales attended Speech Day at Derby School, when additional buildings were opened. The town was gaily and lavishly decorated with triumphal arches, Venetian masts, flags and banners, and in the evening the illuminations were general. The occasion drew many thousands of people into the town.


February. Site fixed for the new military dep6t at Normanton.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.309


March. The oak wainscot of the famous "Council Chamber" in Exeter House purchased by Mr. A. Wallis, on behalf of M.T. Bass, Esq., M.P., who caused it to be specially fitted for use in the Committee Room of the New Free Library, in memory of "the "Forty-five".

May 24th. Mr. Matthew Kirtley, Locomotive Superintendent of the Midland Railway, died, aged 60 years.

May 25th. The Star Music Hall, near the Corn Exchange, destroyed by fire, between 1 and 4 o'clock on Sunday morning.

June. The Free Swimming Baths on the Holmes, the gift of M.T. Bass, Esq., M.P., opened to the public.


January. A British Workman's Club opened on the Burton Road.

February. General Election. Result: Bass, 5,579; Plimsoll, 4,938; Cox, 3,642. There was some disorder, and damage to property.

May. Pullman's cars commenced running on the Midland Railway.

November 23rd. A dense fog in the town, during which many people lost their way.


August Mr. Charles Bradlaugh lectured from a dray in the Morledge, the use of the public halls having been refused. An attempt was made to run the dray into the Mill Fleam, but the lecturer made his escape.

October. The Great Northern Railway advanced into the town, demolishing streets of houses, and; ruining the vista of Friar Gate.

November. New China Factory proposed, to be established in the old workhouse ("The Bastile").



September. Rink opened for roller skating. October 25th. The foundation-stone of the Free Library laid in the Wardwick.


March. New series of omnibuses recently established. October. Wood pavement laid in the Corn Market. Tramways suggested as a remote possibility.


January. Mr. Ernest Hobson, eldest son of Wm. Hobson, Esq., proprietor of the Derbyshire Advertiser, lately a student of the Grammar School, obtained the Senior Wranglership.

April. Proposal to raise a fund for the widow of Mr. Simeon Smithard, the temperance entertainer, lately deceased.

July. Proposal to purchase Strutt's Park for the benefit of the town. M.T. Bass, Esq., M.P., offered £5,000 towards the scheme, which was distributed in other directions when the Park project failed.

November 18th. The electric light exhibited outside the Drill Hall. Said to have been its first appearance in Derby, although an electric light of an elementary character was shown from the tower of All Saints' on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1863.


March 24th. Keith's Circus, which stood on the site of the Star Music Hall, burnt down.

July. Gerald Mainwaring, aged 23, shot Constable Moss at the police station, for which he was condemned to death. A rumour, however, gained ground that the jury had ballotted for a verdict, and the Home Secretary, after inquiry, read a letter in the House of Commons from the foreman of the jury, who said, "There was no casting lots for a verdict, the only ballot was for the election of a chairman" (Times, August 12th). In consequence of this irregular procedure, the death sentence was cancelled.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.311


February. A prison van, commonly called "Black Maria", established to run between the Town Hall and the County Prison.

April 27th. Alderman Barber died as the result of being accidentally run down by a carriage between St. Mary's Gate and All Saints'. He was aged 82, and was Mayor in 1843-44.

October. Horse tramcars lately established.


February. Serious floods, Tenant Street being partially submerged. The roar of the river could be distinctly heard in the Market Place. May. The Arboretum to be made a public thoroughfare. Chester Green to be laid out as a Recreation Ground.

July. The Royal Agricultural Show held at Derby, the Prince of Wales paying a visit on the 16th.

A proposal to establish a Telephone Exchange abandoned for want of support.


July. The Salvation Army shocking conventionalism with its new methods. Characterised by the Mercury as "religious rowdyism".

September 12th. Mr. John Brassington, portrait painter, died, aged 84. His studio was in Friar Gate, but his art had long declined through the progress of photography.


May. New Municipal Offices to be built in Babington Lane.

June. Mr. Edward Gurner Gallop, of Derby, placed as Second Wrangler at Cambridge.

June 26th. Death of Mr. Jackson, the Derby aeronaut.

July 11th. The Methodist minister, the Rev. Wm. Griffiths, died, aged 76 years. (See 1850.)

December. A dessert service, the work of the Derby Crown Porcelain Co., presented to Mr. Gladstone by his friends.



April 29th. M.T. Bass, Esq. M.P., died, aged 85 years. He was member for the borough from 1848 to 1883.

August 19th. The Mayor, Henry Fowkes, Esq., died, aged 66 years.

October. A ghost scare in Darley Lane and other shady environs.

October 17th. The statue of Mr. Bass in the Market Place unveiled by Sir William Harcourt, M.P.


March. The new Theatre in Babington Lane opened. It was burnt down on May 12th.


August 5th. Strike of engine-drivers at Derby Station.

October 20th. The Right Hon. W.E. Gladstone visited Derby.


February 28th. Steam fire engine purchased to replace the antiquated "Niagara". The new machine threw a jet high over the weather vane of the Town Hall.


February 3rd. Collapse of Salvation Army Barracks in Nun's Street, two children being killed.

February 15th. Government enquiry into market-rights and tolls in Derby.


February. New direct road proposed from Tenant Street Bridge to Exeter Bridge, but not carried out.


May 20th. Queen Victoria visited Derby and laid the foundation-stone of the New Infirmary. The Mayor, Alfred S. Haslam, Esq., knighted. The decorations and illuminations afforded gorgeous and brilliant spectacles, recalling, although surpassing, those of 1872.

August 25th. Partial collapse of the Old Silk Mill.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833-1905.313


July 4th. General Election. Harcourt (R.), 7,507; Roe (R.), 7,389; Hextall (C.), 5,546; Haslam (C.), 5,363.


October 16th. The electric light installed in the main streets.


Thos. Roe, Esq., M.P., knighted (New Year's honour).

June 20th. William Mycroft, Derbyshire professional cricketer (left-hand bowler), died, aged 53 years.

September 5th. An accident occurred during removal of walls of the old Infirmary, whereby five men were killed.


July 13th. General Election. Bemrose (C.), 7,907; Drage (C.), 7,076; Harcourt (R.), 6,785; Roe (R.), 6,475.


March 12th. Fire at Sowter's corn mill.


July, general festivities in honour of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Henry Howe Bemrose, Esq., M.P., knighted.

July 7th. Extensive fire at Roe's timber yard, Siddals Road. Much damage and consequent distress in the neighbourhood, a subscription list being opened.


March 23rd. P.K. Tollitt, Esq., M.A., appointed Headmaster at the Grammar School to succeed Sterndale Bennett, Esq., resigned.

April 15th. The town parishes amalgamated for civil business.


January 19th. Municipal Technical College on Green Hill opened by the Duke of Devonshire. February 17th. The Very Rev. T.E. Bridgett, O.S.B., died, aged 70 years. He was born in Derby, his father being a silk manufacturer. Educated as a Baptist, he took orders in the Church of England, but afterwards joined the Roman Catholic Church. He was the author of many theological works, among them being The Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More.



October 27th. Sir Robert Ball lectured to a crowded audience in the Temperance Hall, on "The Lances of Heaven".

November. About three hundred Reservists left for the South African War. The crowd in front of the railway station was so great that the soldiers had much difficulty in reaching the train.


May 30th. Fire at Abel's Foundry, Brook Street, the damage being estimated at about £4,000.

May 31st. St. Peter's Church re-opened after extensive restorations.

June 15th. News arrived of disaster to the 4th Derby Militia in South Africa, 36 men being killed, 104 wounded, and the rest taken prisoners.

October 3rd. Parliamentary Election. Result: Roe, 7,922; Bell, 7,640; Bemrose, 7,397; Drage, 6,775.

November 10th. Fire at Britannia Foundry, the damage being estimated at about £4,000.


April 7th. General Sir Henry Wilmot, Bart., V.C ., of Chaddesden Hall, died at Bournemouth, aged 70 years. He served in the Crimean War, in China, and in the Indian Mutiny, during which he won the Victoria Cross. He was for some years M.P. for South Derbyshire.

April 29th. Enthusiastic crowds welcomed the Volunteers returned from the war.

May 31st Fatal quarrel in the Morledge during the Whitsuntide Fair.

June 9th. The Yeomanry returned from the war.

September 15th. Fire at the lace-factory of Messrs. Fletcher, on the Osmaston Road, the damage being estimated at £15,000 to £20,000.

 TOWN ANNALS - 1833 to 1905.315


October 24th. A meeting representing many creeds and opinions presented an address and a purse of gold to Monsignor McKenna, of the Roman Catholic Church, who had resided in the town for thirty-eight years.


September. Several cases of ptomaine poisoning which occurred in different parts of the kingdom were traced to a Derby origin.


February 16th. The Duke and Duchess of Argyll were present at the twenty-fourth annual concert of the Railway Servants' Orphanage, and received an address at the Royal Deaf and Dumb Institution.

July 11th. Walter Evans, Esq., of Darley Abbey, died in Scotland aged 76 years.

December 8th. Mr. Herbert Spencer died, aged 83 years. The Town Council passed a resolution acknowledging the services of their illustrious townsman in the cause of science.


February 12th. Canon Ainger, Master of the Temple, the Biographer of Charles Lamb, buried at Darley Abbey.

July 28th. Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, presented with the freedom of the Borough at the Drill Hall. The electric tram system inaugurated.

August 29th. Mr. J. Gallop, Manager of Smith's bookstall at the railway station for forty-five years, died, aged 71 years. During his business career he had known and conversed with most of the celebrities of his time.


April 14th and 15th. The Labour Co-partnership Association held its half-yearly meetings in the Temperance Hall, the Association having been formed at Derby twenty-one years before.

[81] See table, page 324.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in November 2016.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page:
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library