Chesterfield Industry in 1913

Just prior to the First World War, the ‘Chesterfield Yearbook and Directory’ for 1913 published a brief review of industry in the Chesterfield area. Though by no means a complete list, it does summarise just what manufacturing could be found in the area during this period.

Once regarded by many as the ‘uncrowned King of Chesterfield’ this is CP Markham, taken from the 1913 yearbook. At this time he was an alderman and deputy mayor. He had wide ranging industrial interests including ownership of Markham & Co. and was sometime chairman and managing director of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. He died in 1926.


Messrs. Robinson and Sons, Wheatbridge Mills. Manufacturers of cardboard boxes and surgical dressings, employing some 1,600 hands. These works are situated in the West Ward. The Wheatbridge Works, for the manufacture of bandages, lints, and medicated dressings, and round and square boxes, are the largest of their class in the country. At Holme Brook Works, cardboard boxes and cases of all descriptions are manufactured. At Bump Mill Works, cotton lint and bleaching is carried on. Furnace Hill Works are now used for cleaning cotton wool, etc. Garden Pond Works for bleaching; and Walton Mill for various purposes.

Markham and Co., Broad Oaks. Engineers and founders. Large business in iron and steel construction. Probably the most important firm in the building of colliery winding engines in England. The works cover a large area by the River Rother, and the large electric crane is one of the engineering sights of the town. Principal: Ald. C. P. Markham. Employees number over 1,000.

Plowright’s Works, West Ward.  Extensive and growing concern. Colliery machinery of all descriptions are manufactured. About 300 hands.

Chesterfield Tube Co., Derby Road. These works cover many acres and some of the most ingenious work of its class is produced here. The works have been extended several times during its existence. About 300 hands. The specialities are weldless steel tubes.

Bryan Donkin and Co., Derby Road. Under the energetic manage­ment of Councillor Clark, these works have been extended several times. Manufacturers: Gas plants, engines, valves and fans, electric motors and appliances are made here on a large scale. About 200 hands.

Potteries. These are amongst the oldest industries of the neighbour­hood and employ many hands in their workings. Situated chiefly at Bramptonand Whittington Moor (see Trade Directory).

Furniture. Eyre and Sons and J. White and Sons, cabinet manu­facturers, are situated in Tapton Lane, and are of a very extensive character.

Tanners. The works of J. Clayton and Sons are very extensive. These works have been established a good number of years and leather is sent from this tannery to all parts of the world. The firm were pioneers in chrome tanning. The Johnston Leather Company’s processes for the production of pliable motor leather and waterproof sole leather are carried on here.

Railway Wagon Works, Tapton. Established by the late Ald. Edward Eastwood. Close beside the Midland Railway main line. Principal: Ald. G. A. Eastwood.

Coal Mines. Chesterfield is on the fringe of the North-East and Mid Derbyshire coalfields and many of the greatest colliery undertakings are situated within a few miles of the Borough. The nearest collieries are:

  • Grassmoor Collieries 2 miles
  • Bolsover Collieries 5 miles        
  • Holmewood Collieries 6 miles
  • Bond’s  Main  6 miles
  • Clay Cross  Collieries 5 miles
  • Renishaw Park Collieries 6 miles
  • Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co. 3 miles
  • Staveley Coal & Iron Co.   5 miles
  • Creswell Colliery 7 miles.

Iron Works, etc. Staveley Coal and Iron Company, Old Works; Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Devonshire Works; Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co.; Clay Cross Iron Works; and Renishaw Iron Works are all within a six mile radius of Chesterfield.

Building Stone. Stone of a good quality is quarried within a few miles of the Borough. The chief quarries are at Ashover, Alton, Stannage, Freebirch, and Loads.

Boots and Shoes. The works of Messrs. Dronfield, in Hipper Street, are well equipped and a good output is maintained here. Messrs. Harrison and Sons’ factory is in Silkmill Yard.

(pp. 61 and 63).

From the directory part of the yearbook (p. 154) are listed the potteries:

  • Barker Potteries—Chatsworth. Rd.
  • Briddon Potteries—Chatsworth Rd.
  • M. Knowles & Son—Chatsworth Rd.
  • London Potteries—Chatsworth Rd.
  • Oldfield Potteries—Chatsworth Rd.
  • Pearson & Co., Ltd.—Whittington Moor
  • E. Wright & Sons—Wheatbridge Road.
Another 1913 directory and yearbook view – this of Alderman George A Eastwood, son of Edward Eastwood. The family built up a considerable fortune, which cannot just be explained by their operations in the railway wagon business. George donated various parks to the area, including Eastwood Park and House which he gifted to the borough council.