On This Day: ‘Death of a Distinguished Derbyshire Woman’

From the Derby Mercury, 4th October 1893:

Death of a Distinguished Derbyshire Woman

The death is announced from New York of Mrs. Mary Monroe, on the 15th September, in her 98th year.  Born in Derbyshire, England, February 1, 1795, she early in life developed a passion for travel, and was counted at the time of her death the most travelled woman in America.  In 1830 she passed Easter week in the city of Rome as a guest of the Pope.  She was a friend of Lafayette, and was twice a guest of Sir Walter Scott, and she counted among her friends the Duchess of Kent.  When 70 years of age she travelled for 20 weeks alone, visiting every part of Great Britain and Ireland in order to investigate the condition of the working classes.  Her husband was an officer of the Customs service of the United States.

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper online at the libraries area of the council website.

On This Day: ‘Hathersage New Road’

From the Derby Mercury, 9th August 1820:


The Hathersage new branch of turnpike road was opened on Thursday, by the Wellington coach running that line in the early part of the day, on which were placed some of the trustees of the road, the surveyor, the undertakers, and as many workmen as could sit upon the roof thereof.  On arriving at Hathersage, the passengers were met by hundreds of the inhabitants, and the venerable Major Shuttleworth, with his usual liberality, supplied the company with ale, spirits, punch, &c. while the coach pulled up in the front of his mansion, the bells of the church ringing, and the populace rejoicing at being accommodated with a better and easier line of road, which they had so long wished for.  On arriving at the George Inn, the workmen had a treat given them, and spent the remainder of the day in making merry, having finished their labours.  

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper here.

Derby Olympian: Horace Bailey (1881-1960)

Horace Bailey

With the Olympic football tournament having already kicked off around Britain, we look back at Derby’s gold medal-winning goalkeeper from the first time London hosted the Games.

Horace Peter Bailey was born in Derby on 3rd July 1881 to Peter Bailey, an iron and brass moulder/iron foundry foreman, and his wife Sarah.  By 1891 the family had moved to 36 Dairy House Road where they lived for over twenty years.  Horace attended St James’ Church Boys School in Derby in the early 1890s.  That decade St James’ had footballing success in the Derbyshire Boys’ Junior Shield; having lost in the final in 1893, they won the competition in 1894 and 1895.  Horace wasn’t in the 1895 team (he had probably already started work) but I’d be interested to know if he was involved in previous years – I haven’t found much information so far.

After leaving school he was employed as a clerk with the railway whilst also playing football as an amateur.  He kept goal for Crich, Ripley Athletic and Leicester Imperial before joining Leicester Fosse (later Leicester City) in 1907, and in his first season there the club won promotion to the First Division.  Horace made his debut for the England Amateur football team in February 1908.  He also won five caps for the main England team that year, starting with a 7-1 win over Wales.  The other four games were played during their central European tour; the first internationals they ever played against countries other than home nations.

That summer London hosted the Olympic Games, stepping in at short notice for Rome, as the Italians had to divert their funds to cope with the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.  It wasn’t until October however that the football tournament was held, and the England Amateur team (with Horace in goal) represented Great Britain.  Over the three matches he only conceded one goal: the team beat Sweden 12-1, the Netherlands 4-0, and Denmark 2-0 in the final to win gold.

The 1908 GB Olympic Football Team: Horace Bailey is on the back row, fifth from left

After making 68 appearances for Leicester Fosse, he came to the aid of injury-stricken Derby County for the last few games of the 1909-10 season.  The Rams were in the running for promotion to the First Division, but away to West Bromwich Albion they only drew 0-0, meaning they finished one point behind the league champions Manchester City and lost out on the second place promotion spot by goal difference.  From the Derby Mercury, 6 May 1910:

The hero of the match was the “Rams’” new amateur goalkeeper.  Despite serious injuries he kept his charge intact from frantic onslaughts.  True, the occasions when he was called upon were few, but once or twice he saved in magnificent style.  All praise to him for a thorough sportsman, his indomitable pluck served his new love well in the hour of danger.  And it meant much to him, for so seriously hurt was he that he has had to forego a trip to Copenhagen with an amateur team, a trip he had set his heart upon.

Horace joined Birmingham (later Birmingham City) in 1910 and finished his career there after making 50 appearances for them.  He was reserve goalkeeper in the Great Britain squad that won gold again at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, but didn’t get a game.  On 6th August 1913, Horace married Minnie Dorothy Smith, the daughter of a jeweller, at Hazelwood parish church.  During the First World War, he enlisted with the Royal Engineers 109th Railway Company, reaching the rank of corporal, and was posted to Italy.  Interestingly his army service record lists his height as 5ft 8¼, which was not very tall for a goalkeeper even back then.  Though after the war he moved to Bedfordshire, where he died on the 1st August 1960, his old school magazine reports that he kept “up his connection with (St James’) school through its Old Boys’ Association”.


Derby Mercury, 18 Mar 1896

Derby Mercury, 6 May 1910

Derby St James’ Church Boys’ School Magazine, No 14, May 1929 (D6560/4/14)

Hazelwood marriage register, 1847-1933 (M281 vol 3)






On This Day: ‘Local News’

From the Derby Mercury, 23rd July 1851:

THE DERBY POLICE FORCE – The members of this force have received leave of absence, in detachments, for a week to visit the Great Exhibition, and the Watch Committee has presented 1l. to each man, from the police fund.  The first detachment, consisting of Sergeant Hill  and seven men, left Derby on Saturday last, to return next Saturday.

LATTER-DAY SAINTS – On Sunday last, a party of the above sect visited Belper.  They selected a spot on the outside of the town, and many of the curious visited the place of meeting, but were greatly disappointed.  Instead of a sermon it was a lecture.  The orator professed to be a chemist, and spoke more upon art and science than religion.

PILSLEY WAKES AND TAP-DRESSING – The romantic little Peak village of Pilsley exhibited an unusually gay and animated appearance last week, in consequence of the inhabitants having provided unusual attractions for their friends.  The custom of well-flowering, as practised at Tissington, had been adopted, and the floral decorations exhibited were of a most ingenious, effective, and pleasing character, and reflected great credit on the parties by whom they had been designed and executed.  A party of bell-ringers from Mottram, with no fewer than 42 hand-bells, contributed to enliven the proceedings in the intervals of the dancing and rustic sports…One little singular and rather amusing incident we cannot refrain from noticing.  A large common grass snake had been caught and apparently killed, and the ingenious villagers had formed the reptile body into “the Duke’s crest”, and placed it, attached by damp clay, to an ornamental device composed of flowers, crystals, &c.  It turned out, however, that “The snake was only scotch’d, Not killed-” and on the sun shining out inconveniently warm, his snakeship, not exactly comprehending his elevated position, nor entirely enjoying his novel and incomprehensible lodgings – watched his opportunity, and glided off, displacing some of the delicately-arranged finery, by which he was surrounded.      

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper here.