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 CafĂ©’ 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.