May 2022

Spital House – a short history

Our Hasland book
Our Hasland book’s front cover features Spital House.

Spital House stood on the east side of Spital Lane about midway between the junctions with Hady Hill and Calow Lane (opposite the present Co-op).

Early ownership

It appears to have formed part of the Foljambe family’s estate centred on Walton Hall, although when they acquired this part of their property is not clear. It passed to their successor, Sir Paul Jenkinson Bt, who married into the Revell family. It then fell to Richard Turbutt of Doncaster, to the Babington family and to John Woodyeare.

Among the larger houses in 1670 were those of Mr Shawe senior, Mr Shawe of Spittle, Mr Wheeldon and Mr Jenkinson of Spital. The property is likely to have been one of these.

The site of Spital House on Spital Lane is approximately where the modern bungalow, to the centre of this photograph, is sited.

The 19th century

We’ll fast-forward into the 19th century, but there’s more about the intervening history in our book.

In 1801 John Woodyeare included Spital House, together with about 100 acres of land adjoining and 22 acres at Grassmoor, in a sale of portions of the Walton Hall estate. Neither Spital House nor most of the land was sold. When a further attempt was made to dispose of the estate in 1812, after Woodyeare’s death, the sale included Spital House and 75 acres of land in Spital and Hasland. Spital House was described as ‘calculated for the residence of a very respectable gentleman’. It was not as big as Walton Hall, the main mansion on the estate.

A closer look at our book’s front cover. It’s a water-colour of Spital House, painted about 1813 – reproduced by courtesy of Derbyshire County Council.

In 1813 a sale by private treaty was agreed with Sir Thomas Windsor Hunloke of Wingerworth Hall of the entire Woodyeare estate. In 1821 part of this estate, including Spital House and some adjoining land, were offered for sale by order of the court of Chancery during an action involving the trustees of Sir Windsor Hunloke’s will.

It may have been John Charge, the Chesterfield attorney who was also clerk of the peace for the county and practised from 23 West Bars who bought the Spital House estate from the Hunloke trustees in about 1821.

Charge died in 1849; his widow in 1850. Elizabeth left her property to be divided between her nephews and nieces, the children of her sister Jane. The Spital House estate passed to the Revd John Boyer, who was living there by the start of 1852 but later moved. On her death John’s wife left £1,000 to meet the cost of building new almshouses on Saltergate to replace those in the parish churchyard.

Edwin Mason, the head of the firm of George Mason & Son, the tobacco manufacturing business founded by his father, with works at Spital, was the next owner. Mason also bought all the land in front of the house through to Mansfield Road. He  died in 1887, aged 58, after which his two sons lived there at varying dates.

Spital House and the surrounding area from the 6″ Ordnance Survey map. The Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway is the line running roughly left to right across the map. (Derbyshire Sheet XXV, revised: 1914, published: 1921. Courtesy National Library of Scotland –

Enter the railway

In 1892 it was announced that the Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast Railway was to run immediately behind the house. By March 1893 the railway company had purchased Spital House

The LD&ECR’s general manager, Harry Wilmott, lived at Spital House until the company was absorbed into the Great Central (as the MS&LR had become) in 1907. That year the new owners sold 52 acres of 25 accommodation and building land belonging to the Spital House estate, described as suitable for either house-building or works that required railway access.

By 1912 Spital House itself had been let to John Morton Clayton, one of the principals of Joseph Clayton & Co. Ltd, whose tannery was nearby on Clayton Street. Clayton left or a few years later.

Spital House was taken over by an Anglican order of nuns, the Sisters of the Poor, who were resident there by 1921, when it was proposed to build the Spital Hotel opposite. They vacated in 1932, when the property was advertised to let as either a private house or ‘dancing rooms’.


Spital House was briefly used as a kindergarten and preparatory school run by Mrs Annie Dixon, previously of 79 Saltergate. After this closed, the property became a lodging house. An inspection in February 1936 discovered eleven tenants living there, seven in conditions of overcrowding which were unlawful under the 1935 Public Health Act.

Spital House was to the left in this recent view of the area. The coach house to the property is to the centre and has been restored as a residential property.

During the Second World War Spital House was used by Chesterfield corporation for storage, but when this ended the property was taken over by squatters. In March 1950 the Railway Executive (as owners of the freehold in succession to the Great Central and LNER) had the squatters removed. The following month the Executive was reported to be demolishing the building, described as dangerous and lacking water or sanitation, at the request of the local authority.

What did Spital House look like?

The watercolour painting, on the front of our book, is said to date from c.1813. It shows the main (west) front from the opposite bank of Spital brook, appears

It was an E-  plan house of two storeys and attics, built of local coal measures sandstone, with stone-flagged roofs. There were brick-built chimney stacks at the north end and towards the southern end of the main range, and in each of the wings. On the ground floor the central doorway had a pedimented surround. The windows appear originally all to be have been two- or three-light mullioned windows with hood-moulds over, although by the early 19th century some had been replaced with sash windows. These features (except perhaps the chimney stacks, which may have been altered) appear to be consistent with an early 17th-century date of construction.

By c.1813a single-storey extension had been built on the north end of the original house which was enlarged by the early 20th century – upwards. A two-storey bay had been built in the internal angle between the north side of the north wing and the extension.

In the garden to the rear of the house, the painting on our book’s cover shows what appears to be a small ‘temple’ with a pediment supported on four arches. This would have disappeared when the LD&ECR line was built through the grounds, if not before.

Immediately to the south of the house stood a long, low building which appears to have been a stable block. This was not demolished in 1950. It was sold in 1984 and converted into a private residence. Other outbuildings further south again remained derelict at the time of writing, as they had done for many years, although a boundary wall was rebuilt in 2020–1. The buildings presumably date from the late 17th century or early 18th. A mounting block on the pavement outside the stables has been jumped off by generations of small children.

Some years after Spital House was demolished, a bungalow was built on the site, set in a precipitous garden created from part of the LD&ECR embankment.

Find out more about our book on the History of Hasland here.

Sources used in this blog are fully referenced in our ‘History of Hasland …’ book. Though it is now out of print copies should be available in Chesterfield local studies library.

This post was originally devised to help publicise the publication of our now out of print book on Hasland. It was edited on 4 April 2024 to remove references to the book’s forthcoming publication.

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Eyres of Chesterfield’s sad demise

In this blog we’ll look at one of the unfortunate but less obvious results of the demise of Eyres of Chesterfield – the disappearance of its company history on their now removed website. But thanks to the Internet Archive at least part of the site has been preserved.

This isn’t to detract from the problems and hardship that are caused to employees and customers of a company that reaches the end of the road – these cannot be underestimated.

Pre internet days – front page of a brochure published in 1925 to mark 50 years of Eyre & Sons Ltd. In fact it’s fairly brief on the company’s history – this is all you get in the 75-page brochure. The rest mainly features available products including pianos and gramophone record players along with the more traditional bedroom and living room furniture. Note what latter became the Stephenson Arcade – then Eyre’s Arcade on Stephenson Place. At this time the company were also involved in furniture removal, and decorating. The brochure’s front cover was also keen to promote their ability to furnish hotels and undertake bar fitting.
Missing – presumed lost. Part of the now disappeared Eyres of Chesterfield website. The summary history text may have been preserved by the Internet Archive.

It’s a fact that many companies now publish the only readily accessible history of their business on their website. Largely gone are the days when companies used to produce hard copy product brochures which might contain a useful potted company history.

Eyres was a longstanding and formerly prosperous Chesterfield company. Latterly it had been situated in large retail premises on Holywell Street and Stephenson Place, in the centre of the town. According to the company’s own website – now disappeared following announcement on 20 April 2022 that it had ceased trading – it was first founded in 1875. An Isaac Eyre of Barrow Hill, near Chesterfield, ‘was left jobless, and needed to find another way of earning income to raise his family.’ He started out buying and selling sewing machines and mangles – ‘Victorian Eyres was born’.

The enterprise grew into his first premises at 3 Holywell Street. His son joined Isaac, by which time they were making furniture. (There was a substantial cabinet making factory at one time on Tapton Lane). 1891 saw the concern move to larger premises – which remained the site of the business until its sad closure. Eyre & Sons Ltd was registered in 1894, in 1897 the website claimed ‘Eyres became the largest Furnishing Store in the Midlands. Their reputation spread so far that people came from miles around to buy their furniture.’

Usefully the former Eyres website gave an out-line of the company’s later history. In the mid-1980s there were 12 stores trading, but in 1985 most of these closed down. ‘Charles Summers formed Eyres of Chesterfield in his great Grandfather’s original premises.’ Charles became a member of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Markers – a City of London liovery company – in 2019.

The now removed company website also contained some historic and modern photographs and the usual run-down of products sold, along with information about the ‘Artisan Café’ and the store’s gift department. All of this has now disappeared, though some of the photographs can still be found elsewhere on the web.

In Worksop and Mansfield the Eyres business has been completely separate since the mid-1980s. The Eyres of Worksop website fills in some of the details.

There was a 6 week break in trading in 1985 when all Eyres stores were sold to a property company but soon enough a new company, Eyres of Worksop, was formed and leased the building from the property company. The present company has continued to run for the past 30 years and the building itself was bought in 1991. So one way or another, with only two small hiccups, Eyres have provided an excellent service with a vast selection of goods and aim to do so well into this century.

Eyres (of Worksop) website

The Companies House website (which contains information on companies, such as accounts and incorporation documents) shows that Eyres of Chesterfield had been formed as Chaselodge Ltd at the end of December 1984. But Chaselodge had almost immediately changed their name to Eyres of Chesterfield Ltd.

You can search for the Eyres’ former website and view it (and other ‘disappeared’ ones) on the Internet Archive, but depending on which browser used the illustrations may not be present and the original layout may not have been preserved.

Another extract from the 1925 brochure. The middle photograph is of the ‘magnificent carpet saloon’ A recent newspaper report stated that this was a former chapel. It was not, though as we have previously written, a former medieval wayside chapel was not far away, but this disappeared many years previously.
Our final extract from the 1925 brochure shows this bedroom suite. This may well have been made at Eyre’s own cabinet factory – a large corrugated iron clad building at the bottom of Tapton Lane. Eyres also owned Ryland Works – a trade wholesalers with premises latterly off Newbold Road. These premises replaced a building off Stephenson Place, which had had its top storey gutted by fire many years ago. In the 1970s the surviving ground floor was used as Eyre’s second hand furniture shop.

This post was edited on 22 May 2022 to add reference to the Internet Archive.

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Hasland book launch date 15 June 2022

Our new Hasland VCH spin-off book is to be published at a launch event on the evening of 15 June at the Devonshire Arms, Hasland.

Our Hasland book

The book will be the first authoritative account of this large parish.

Until 19th-century boundary changes, the township (later civil parish) of Hasland (near Chesterfield) included not just what people think of as Hasland today but also Corbriggs and Winsick, Grassmoor, Birdholme and the St Augustine’s end of Boythorpe. It formerly included much industry on Derby Road. We’ve recently been featuring some of the many varied subjects covered in the book in our blog. You can rad more about why Hasland has been chosen for our first township based spin-off book in our blog.

With colour plates, of just over 200 pages, A4 in size, we think that this will be a landmark publication in the history of the area. The book will be available for £20 at the meeting. We also hope to make it available in Waterstones bookshop in Chesterfield and by post from the publisher (additional postage of £5 will apply).

The launch event, which is free to attend, will be held on Wednesday 15th June starting at 7.30pm in the function room at the Devonshire Arms, Hasland. To find out more about the launch event visit our events page.

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Lost Chesterfield Industries – the Tube Works: part 2

The final part of our concise overview of the Chesterfield tube works is presented in this blog. It’s an edited version from our forthcoming VCH spin-off book on Hasland, with some new information added about the concern’s more recent years.

This 1950s map shows the tube works facility on either side of Derby Road. In 1956 the works occupied over 16 acres on a site of 36 acres. The premises towards the top (northwards) of Byron Street are that of Bryan Donkin & Company. (Ordnance Survey , 6-inces to 1 mile, sheet SK37SE – A, 1968. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland, National Library of Scotland – Map Images (

The1950s saw a programme of programme of modernisation and expansion. In 1950 a new factory to make small cylinders from steel tube was opened (the Alma Works). For a time the company was the largest producer of cylinders in the world. A new hot mill for weldless steel cylinders was opened in 1955.

In 1956 the works occupied over 16 acres on a site of 36 acres. By that date the company had made over 8 million cylinders for compressed and liquid gases for use in shipyards, steel mills, mines, aircraft, hospital and many other locations.

The largest of the presses at the Derby Road plant was installed in the 1960s, remaining in use until the site closed. In these years products included the traditional range of seamless steel cylinders for all kinds of gases, hot- and cold-drawn seamless steel tubes, seamless steel headers for boilers and superheaters, seamless steel water and steam boiler drums and pressure vessels, and stainless steel drawn and extruded tubes.

In 1962 the Tube Works occupied 50 acres, had over 2,000 employees, and produced 2,000 tons of cylinders a month. The works had its own St John Ambulance unit, medical and dental surgeries, and a large sports and social club with its own premises at Bank Close, off Hasland Road. In 1963 the stainless steel businesses of Accles & Pollock and Talbot Stead were amalgamated to form TI Stainless, to which the stainless division at Chesterfield was added in the 1970s.

In 1974 new forging plant was installed at Derby Road for the manufacture of industrial cylinders. The company also made tubes from sterling silver for ICI which were used in photographic processing.

This September 2005 view shows how the large shed-type structures that were part of the Tube Works dominated the Derby Road part of the town. This photo was taken from the top of The Pavements car park. (Courtesy Philip Cousins).

In 1970 the company claimed to be the world’s largest maker of precision steel tubes in sizes up to 660 mm. in diameter for automotive, nuclear and others.

In 1987 the stainless-steel portion of the business, now known as TI Stainless Tubes, was acquired by the Sandvik Group and was renamed Sterling Tubes Ltd. Investment of over £2m. in new plant followed and around this time the company was exporting over 70 per cent of its output. In 1976, 1982 and 1987 the company received the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. In 2001 Sterling Tubes’ Chesterfield and Walsall manufacturing sites were closed.

TI Chesterfield’s letter stamp, proudly proclaiming that they were ‘tube and gas cylinder makers to the world’. (Collection Philip Cousins).

1988 saw the remainder of the business, TI Chesterfield, purchased by United Engineering Steels, a joint venture by the British Steel Corporation and the GKN Group, and renamed Chesterfield Cylinders. In 1995 the plant became part of BSC Forgings Division, which two years later was bought by United Engineering Forgings. In 2001 it was taken over by EuroCylinder Systems of Germany who sold the specialised cylinders business to a management buy-out in 2004. The former high volume manufacturing division for standard cylinders appears to have been closed. The surviving company’s name was changed to Chesterfield Special Cylinders (trading as Chesterfield Cylinders). The company had to relocate, achieving this by a move to Meadowhall in mid-2005.  Just before the move to the new premises the company updated its logo to CTCO. This resurrected initials first used, it was claimed, in 1927 as a cylinder head stamp, for Chesterfield Tube Company. Housing now covers the entire main entire site, with a leisure park having been built in then late 1990s on the former site of the 1950 new factory (Alma Works).

The new Cinema World complex is under construction on the site of the former TI Chesterfield’s Alma works in early 1998. The gates in the foreground and the lamp standard are remnants of the former works entrance. Not only was a manufacturing facility once here, but also a well-equipped apprentice training centre. (Collection Philip Cousins)
End of an era. Discarded industrial cylinders make a sad sight looking over their probable birth place, then being cleared for housing. An April 2006 view. (Courtesy Philip Cousins).

Please note that the photographs in this blog will not appear in our Hasland book.

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