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It's Curtains – and Carpets – for the Scarsdale!

Last weekend's AGM in Chesterfield, which resulted in this post on the former Yellow Lion, also gave me some time to wander around the town for the first time in a couple of years and take a few photographs. A slow saunter through the market – snap! A brief stop to listen to a busker – snap! And of course the town's famous crooked spire sitting atop St. Mary's Church – snap! It was whilst I was emerging from the churchyard that I spotted this building. Interesting enough for its architecture and more interesting on account of the details on the façade. In fact sufficiently more interesting to warrant a little digging when I arrived home.

scarsdale vaults chesterfield
The former Scarsdale Vaults.

The building seems to have had a bit of a complicated history, closely tied in with the building next door, which at one time housed the offices of the Scarsdale Brewery and before that was the Scarsdale Hotel, having initially been built in the middle of the eighteenth century as dwelling house. The pair are now numbers 40 and 42 on St. Mary's Gate.

Scarsdale Vaults Chesterfield
40 and 42 St. Mary's Gate, Chesterfield.

A George Mugliston bought the house and accompanying land in 1833 for £900 and in the early 1840s was running a brewery behind the property with sons Edward and Robert. In 1841 he was recorded in the census as a wine and spirit merchant in St. Mary’s Gate...

Extract from the 1841 census.

...and on his death the commercial concern was continued by his sons Edward and Robert. Robert was caught by the 1851 census but Edward missed out by dying earlier that year.

Extract from the 1851 census.

Robert only just made it himself, joining the choir invisible in the autumn of 1852, when the ownership of the business passed to Edward's son, George, who was only twelve at the time.

George junior didn't have it for long for it turns out that his grandfather had mortgaged the property back in 1834 and, as the loan hadn't been repaid, it was sold in 1853 to brothers John and Frederick Dunnell who built the vaults in 1854.

It appears that solvency and this property aren't particularly good bedfellows, for the brothers used the property as collateral against a loan which they failed to repay, and having been made bankrupt, Dunnell's Vaults was sold and eventually found its way into the hands of the Scarsdale Brewery, which was established in 1865.

In 1866 the brewery opened the Scarsdale Hotel next door at number 42 St. Mary's Gate and both the vaults and the hotel were run by William Green. After William's death in 1875 there were yet more bankruptcies involving the hotel and the brewery but the Vaults always seemed to come back to life. In 1895 the brewery and associated properties were bought by lacemaker, and four-times mayor of Nottingham, Thomas – later Sir Thomas – Birkin in whose family it remained until being bought by Whitbread in 1958. It was during the Birkin's tenure that William Sheppard was at the Vaults.

Scarsdale Vaults Chesterfield
The Scarsdale Vaults c1890.

The building by the brewery of the new Highfield Hotel, still serving on Newbold Road, spelled curtains for the Scarsdale Vaults as it closed in 1928 to allow the transfer of its licence to the new property. The building has since been in retail use and currently is home to Holywell Carpets.

Dawn Rhode's site, and in particular this page, was of great help in producing this post.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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