Tradesmen in Baslow and Bubnell, 1841-1901

Document Ref B 1 (4a) a
Compiled by David Dalrymple-Smith, © Copyright May 2005

‘Victorian Baslow’

This article analyses all the Tradesmen, in the Baslow (and Bubnell) Censuses from 1841 to 1901. Locations are based on the Tithe award.

“Tradesmen” includes all Craftsmen, and Industrial and Factory workers. No distinction is made between Masters Journeyman and Workers. People with other occupations are included: the few with two Tradesmen occupations are included twice, Apprentices are noted separately at the end.

Where possible I (David) have identified groups working together, and individuals who have continued over several census years. Perhaps a half fall into these groups, the rest appear in one or two censuses only and their place in Baslow Society cannot be determined.

Tradesmen in Baslow and Bubnell

1  Blacksmiths etc9158766758
2  Saddlers Tanner 455233222
3  Wood workers434542628
4  Masons1812138115572
5  House Tradesmen30242214502020180
6  Clothes & Shoes20303623231515162
7  Cabdriver Carters 1 213916
8  Industrial71171 5435
9  Miscellaneous587721133
Total in Baslow & Bubnell1090948903811843864797 

Each of the above groups is now described in turn.

1.  Blacksmiths etc



Two families dominated the trade.

The Marples lived and worked from premises at Bridge End, now known as the Old Forge. James Marples (b.1784) was in charge in 1841 and was succeeded over the next 60 years by his son Thomas (b.1816), Thomas's widow Mary (b.1818), their son James (b.1846), and in 1901 by his widow Mary (b.1858)

The Briddon family, 3 journeymen and their widowed father, all Blacksmiths, were in the village from 1851. They lived at Bridge End, so I would guess that they worked for the Marples rather than having their own premises. Horatio (b.1818) was still working in 1871.

John Bowler (b.1826), from Brampton, had married a local girl by 1851 and in 1871 was a Master Blacksmith. Other Blacksmiths tended to be Journeymen or Workers.


Another branch of the Marples family provided nearly all the Millwrights. From 1841 to 1901, there were John Marples (b.1794), his son John (b.1827) and grandson John (b.1857). Thomas Matley (b.1827), who lived with his father at Bubnell Cliff Farm, is described in 1851as a Millwright and a Peak Stone Maker employing 4 men.


The Staley family, working from their home at Woodside, Nether End, were the predominant Wheelwrights. From 1871 they were Joiners as well. Stephen (b.1874) and his son George (b.1813) were working in 1841, followed by George's brother Stephen (b.1839) and his son Joseph (b.1867)

William Somerset (b.1798) was a Wheelwright from 1841 to 1871. Two other Wheelwrights are recorded, one in 61 and one in 1881.

2.  Saddlers & Tanners



Mathew Marples (b.1796) of Bridge End was the Saddler from 1851 to 1871. He was assisted first by a journeyman, then by his brother Jacob, then in 1871 by his nephew George Taylor (b.1839) who had come to live with him. George, his Widow and his son John Henry Taylor carried on at Bridge End until 1891.

Meanwhile Edwin Goodlad (b.1861) had arrived at Nether End by 1891, and can be remembered long into the 1900s plying his trade at Nether End in an upstairs room near the Devonshire Arms.


Charles Cawton (b.1805) with 2 Journeymen, Israel Randle (b.1822) and Joseph Riley (b.1815) were the Tanners at White Lodge on Calver Road from 1841 to 1861 after which the Tannery closed down.

There is no further mention of Charles Cawton who was a bachelor. Israel Randle later became a Hall Porter at Chatsworth, and in this retirement, Sexton. By 1871, Joseph Riley had become Manager of the Gas Works. The Tannery was later occupied by Samuel Hibberd, Carpenter and Builder.

3.  Sawyers & Woodmen

Woodman   3216


Half of all the Sawyers came from the Bettney family, who lived across the brook at Nether End. Joseph (b.1813) was working from 1841 to 1881, helped initially by his father and latterly by his sons. It is perhaps relevant that Heathy Lea Mill had become a Sawmill by 1891.


Woodmen, including woodcutters, forestry workers etc., was an infrequent occupation in the village. They were all local people, until 1901 when the numbers were swelled by 5 workers from outside the area.

4.  Masons


“Stone Mason” was the most common occupation in Baslow, especially up to 1881. The Millstone Edges would have provided a convenient source of stone and the products, including millstones, troughs etc as well as building stone, would have been “exported” to surrounding areas.

Most were local to Baslow or nearby villages. The main Stone Mason families were the Sheldons, and the Kays from Robin Hood. Matthew Green (b.1820) was a Tomb engraver as well as a Stone Mason.

Included in the total is John Gilbert (b.1806), a Marble Mason from Sheffield who was in the Village from 1851 to 1881.

Four Quarrymen are included in the above total.

5.  House Tradesmen

Plasterers    7  

The increased number of House Tradesmen in 1881 in is entirely due to an influx of Lodgers and Boarders, probably employed at the Baslow Hydro which was nearing completion at this time. From 1851 to 1901, there was a total 150 in this group of whom 80% were born in Baslow. In 1881 only 32% were local.

Carpenters and Joiners

A Joiner is “a worker in wood who does lighter and more ornamental work” than a Carpenter who “constructs the framework of houses, ships etc.” In general, persons tended to keep to the same trade over the years. The names Gregory, Hibbert, Merrel and Staley recur in this category.


The leading family of Painters was the Hibberts, with continuous service from 1841 to 1901. James Hibberd (b.1790) lived in Orchard Cottage in 1848. The names Hetherington, Leech and Woodiwiss also recur.


There were one or two local plumbers each year. George Merrill (b.1802) 1841 to 1861, lived next door to the Marples the Blacksmith. William Hudson ( b.1828) 1871 to 1881 lived up Bar Road. And John Clark (b.1831) assisted by his sons worked from 1881 to 1901. Merrill and Clark were also Glaziers.


There were no local Plasterers. The seven noted in 1881 were all temporary residents

6.  Clothes and Shoes

Dressmaker 915814910
Seamstress  6 1  

Dressmakers and Seamstresses

Three quarters of women with skilled qualifications were in these categories. Most of the dressmakers (46 out of 65) were unmarried and living at home. For some reason, nearly all Seamstresses appear in 1861 and tended to be older, widowed and described in other years as Dressmakers.


I (David) have included in this section Cordwainers which the dictionary defines as “a maker a shoes and other articles from fine soft leather”. Shoemaking, the second most common trade, must have been an export business for Baslow. It has continued in nearby villages until recent times.

Numbers dropped from 14 in 1851 to 3 in 1901. Perhaps the closure of the tannery in the 1860s contributed to the decline.

Many local families were represented, including Boden and Hawley who appear in 5 consecutive Censuses, and Brightmore Cocker Taylor and Wallace who appear in four.


There were 4 main Tailors during the period. Thomas Marples (b.1815), born in Stannington, Yorkshire, was at work in 1851, and was still working aged 87 in 1901 - possibly in Church Cottage.

James Ponsonby (b.1815) of Church Terrace was present from 1841 to 1881.

Joseph Marsden Senior (b.1776) and his son Joseph junior (b.1811) provided the service from his house in Eaton Hill, from 1841 to 1881.

John (b.1790) and Henry (1805) Cocker, possible unrelated, were working 1841 to 1871: John, unmarried, lived in Daisy Bank with his spinster sister who was a Grocer.

William Glossop (b.1841) was in business in 1891 and worked into the 1900s up Bar Road.

7.  Carters & Cab Drivers

Cab Driver    137
Carter 1 2  2
Total 1 2139

These figures exclude Carters on Farms but include Bus & Coach Drivers. The increase in the latter over the last two years is only to be expected. George H Hulley (b.1871) was a Coach Driver in 1901.

8.  Industry & Factory Workers

Industry711715 4


Industrial activity, such as it was, can be divided in three periods.

  1. In 1841 and 1851, there were two families of Handloom Weavers, the Barkers and the Haskeys (or Askey); the latter included a 7 year old described as a Bobbin Winder. Benjamin Birley was a Framework Knitter. In 1851 there were two female, teenaged, Cotton Operatives.

    John Riley (b.1790), who lived in Over Lane near the present Village Shop, was recorded as a Smelter in 1841 and as a Labourer and ex lead smelter in 1861. It is possible that he had worked at Cupola, up the Sheffield Road.

  2. In 1861 and 1871, there were 8 entries for Lead Miner half of them the Askeys noted in the previous paragraph.

  3. In 1891 and 1901, there was an Armour Plate Worker, a Warehouseman, a Fitter a Stationary Engine Driver, a Pipelayer and 4 Stokers.

9.  Miscellaneous

House Trades 412   
Indoor Trades11311  
Other Trades 42333  
Misc 1 2 11

House Trades

George Hulley was a Thatcher 1851 & 1871. Two Chimney Sweeps appear in 1851.

Indoor Trades

Thomas Jepson and his son Charles made brooms (or besoms) from 1861 to 1881. There were Upholsters each year between 1841 and 1861, with a Straw bonnet Maker in 1851 and a Milliner in 1861.

Other Trades

Other village Tradesmen included 1841 & 1851 William Cundy (b.1782) a Cooper: he who lived where the Alma now stands. John Brightmore (b.1804), a Gunsmith, lived in Bar Road (Ladywell House) from 1841 to 1881.

In 1841 there was a Skinner, and a Printer.

The more unusual crafts were Landscape Gardener, an Ornamental Engraver, a Photographer, a Scissor Smith, an Etcher and a Dyer. It is not known where they plied their trade.


The final miscellaneous group are collected here.

George Sheldon, formerly a Stone mason, is described as a Builder and Employer in 1901: his firm survived into the late 1980s.

Samuel Hibbert a Carpenter in a family of Carpenters, moved into White Lodge in Calver Road and by 1901 has become a Builder. He also owned a Quarry, perhaps the one at the top of Bar Road.

Samuel Herman (b.1801) appears in 1871 as a “Clerk and Hot House Builder”.

George Riley managed the Gas Works in 1871.

“Farmer & Jobber” in 1851 completes the list.

10.  Birth Place of Tradesmen

Baslow 706648483434300
5 miles 1212844646
10 miles 57214726
Derbyshire7563 33494
Adjoining County 149732121387
England & Wales 14492323
Scotland/Abroad411 31212
Unspecified18      18
Born in Baslow 64%65%70%48%57%49%49

These figures show the mobility of the population even in Victorian times. The increase in “outsiders” is noted above under House Tradesmen. The proportion of Tradesmen born locally is similar to the figures for all male inhabitants, thought there were rather fewer incomers in 1871 and more in 1881.

N.B. The Census for 1841 does not distinguish persons born in Baslow from those born elsewhere in the County.

11.  Apprentices

Mason 4     
All Others1432 3 

There were few Apprentices - 39 in all, half of whom were Saddlers or Shoemakers, and most were 1861 or before. 12 were apprenticed to their father.

12.  Bubnell

Bubnell - entirely owned by the Duke of Rutland - had extremely few Tradesmen (and no Retailers). Henry Green and his son Matthew were Quarrymen and Masons from 1841 to 1881. Otherwise there were single year entries for 2 Masons, a Joiner, a Blacksmith journeyman, 2 Dressmakers, and a farmer's son who was a Millwright and Peakstone Maker. The brother of the Schoolmistress at Bubnell Hall was an Ornamental Engraver.

Two families were Handloom Weavers, one of which later changed occupation and became Lead miners.

The Duke must have had a policy maintaining the farming character of Bubnell. With its virtual absence of Tradesmen and no Shops, it would have relied on Baslow entirely for its services.


All were male except for the Dressmakers, Seamstresses and Hat makers, 4 widows carrying on their husband's trade, 4 teenagers in the cotton trade in 1851, and a single female Upholsterer.

Place of Work

Only 3 persons over the entire period are defined as working outside the village, 2 Cotton Spinning Operatives (perhaps the Mill at Calver, or Bakewell)) and a Chatsworth House Painter.

An unknown number could have been employed elsewhere, notably by The Duke of Devonshire at nearby Chatsworth.

Secondary Occupations

Several Tradesmen had two, usually related trades - mostly mentioned above.

A few had a secondary occupation. Three Cab Drivers were Grooms, 2 Sawers and a Carter were also Labourers, and a Carter and a Carpenter were also (small) farmers.

Only 4 others had a trade a a secondary occupation - two Labourers were a Sawyer and a Thatcher, a Toll Collector was a Shoemaker, and a Farmer was also a Jobber.

Tradesmen Names in the Baslow Censuses of 1841 to 1901

Some families tend to be associated with certain trades. I have identified all the Tradesmen, and selected all instances when a surname appears 4 or more times within one Trade. One person can have several entries if he appears in more than one Census.

Askey (Haskey)Leadminer4LeechPainter4
Askey (Haskey)Weaver6MarplesBlacksmith10

The above information was contributed by David Dalrymple-Smith in May 2005.

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