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Matthew Hobson and apprentice

Higher up, (from the doctor’s house), on this same side was Matthew Hobson’s corn, seed and grocery shop.

Adeline is here writing about Matthew Hobson junior.

We are now at the site of the old Liberal Club on the east side of Lower Market Place where stood the house and shop of Matthew Hobson senior. He owned land in Boot Lane — later Stanton Road — and had acquired his Market Place premises in 1825, premises with yards, barns, stables and other outbuildings attached. From about 1789 they had served as the old Anchor Ale House but remained as an inn only for a relatively short time. As well as this dwelling Matthew gained a row of eight tenements built by John Shaw, timber merchant of Trowell, standing in Anchor Row.

Matthew married Millicent Hodgkinson in June 1809 and in October of the following year their only son*, Matthew junior was born. Millicent died in November 1825, aged 39, and after the death of his father on August 29th 1835 son Matthew took over the family interests and continued to live in the Market Place house, as miller and grocer, for about 20 more years.
*I believe that there was also a daughter — Mary Ann — born to Matthew and Millicent in May 1823, but she died, aged 10 years 5 months, in November 1833 and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard.

Writing of an experience about 1845 is John Cartwright  who lived in South Street at that time…
“It was (Matthew Hobson) who first caused me to tell the time by the clock. When a very little fellow I was sent to Hobson’s shop pretty frequently, and one day previous to handing me the required goods, he said, “What o’clock is it, Johnnie?” at the same time requesting me to look at the church clock. Not caring to acknowledge my ignorance, I guessed the time, and got over my difficulty. Feeling ashamed of myself, I resolved to go straight home and take lessons on ‘grandfather’s clock’ at once, and did not stay on the way back either to watch the cricket practice on the Rutland Ground, or even to play marbles with my old school fellow, Henry McDonald, a nephew of the Messrs. Carrier; neither did I resume play until I had mastered the art of telling the seconds and minutes and hours by the clock.”

Matthew and his wife lived here (in the Market Place) until he acquired the Field House property.

Field House off Field Road was built about 1854 for Matthew and his family, near the site previously occupied by a windmill, which had been moved to Derby Road. The house was demolished in 1939.
Matthew left his Market Place residence and went to live there with his first wife, Hannah (nee Taylor) whom he had married in November 1832. She was the daughter of John Taylor, farmer of Little Hallam and his wife Hannah (nee Cocker).
Hannah Hobson died 30 years later – on June 13th 1862 at Field House.

Being an ardent Non-conformist – attending the Independent Chapel in Pimlico — Matthew had no wish to have his wife buried at the Parish Church, but what was the alternative? Despite the fact that Ilkeston now had a rapidly expanding population and the churchyard at St. Mary’s was filling up, the town had no cemetery to cater for those like Matthew who wished a non-denominational burial. Consequently he decided upon what the Ilkeston Leader described as ‘an extraordinary burial’ for his wife. Her body would be interred a few yards westwards of Field House, amongst a grove of trees. As well as the mourners who were protected from inclement weather by a spacious tent, her burial attracted several hundred spectators, all of whom were allowed to view the coffin as it lay in its brick-lined grave.

“The greatest decorum was maintained throughout, and many remarked as they retired, that a burial so extraordinary would long be remembered in Ilkeston”.

Four years later, Hannah Hobson’s remains were removed and re-interred at the newly-established Ilkeston General Cemetery on Stanton Road in ‘Hobson’s Closes’.

After his wife’s death, he married the lady who had been his late wife’s companion.

By the time of his first wife’s reburial, Matthew had married his second wife, Jemima Grammer, oldest daughter of farmer Thomas of Greasley Castle, and Martha (nee Taylor).

Just before Christmas of 1877 Philip Paul of Pimlico, a domestic servant employed by Matthew, noticed that where there should have been 38 fowls in Matthew’s fowl-house there were now only 31. Blood, feathers and foot-marks were found near the entrance. Was someone making provision for the season’s festivities?!
The police were brought in and somehow Inspector John Cowley was directed to the house of John Skinner. The latter was led to the fowl-house where his boots exactly matched the imprints left at the scene of the crime.
At his subsequent trial John was jailed for nine months, with hard labour.

Matthew was a member of the Local Board from its formation until he resigned in 1876, and before the establishment of that Board he was for many years surveyor of highways.
Elected back onto the Local Board in April 1881 as a Ratepayers’ Association candidate, Matthew resigned in April of the following year when his wife Jemima became seriously ill. (Henry Clay senior of the Mundy Arms was ‘co-opted’ to take his place … a decision that was to have ramifications)
Though holding opposing political views, ‘Rambler’ conceded that with an honest disregard of political ties, Mr. Hobson has endeavoured during his brief term of office, to conduct local affairs in a spirit worthy of the imitation of those who may occupy the same important and honourable position in the future”. (IP April 1882)

Matthew died at Field House on August 12th 1884, aged 74, two years after the death of his second wife, Jemima and from when his health started to deteriorate.
His obituary in the Ilkeston Advertiser reminded Ilkestonians that Matthew was “a Liberal and Nonconformist of the staunchest character”, “an ardent advocate of the adoption of the Local Government Act”, “a founder of the ratepayers’ association, a promoter of the Ilkeston General Cemetery, an undenominationalist in educational matters” and “the chief promoter of the British School”, had a deep involvement in local charity work, and “like his father before him, he held to the Independent form of church faith and order”.
“Up to the last he took a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the town, and his loss will be deeply regretted by a large number of our readers”.
The Pioneer added to the list.
Matthew’s ardent Liberalism inclined towards Radicalism and “his purse and influence constituted him the leader of the party for many years”.  In later life these tendencies ‘cooled’ so that “in parochial affairs (he) repeatedly voted for the ‘best men’ irrespective of politics or religious proclivities”.
“It was on his motion that the Town Hall was erected, and he strongly interested himself in obtaining the holding of Petty Sessions and a County Court at Ilkeston. The Cottage Hospital scheme, and other charitable movements generally found in Mr’ Hobson a ready patron and supporter”.

(Matthew and Jemima) had several children.

 There were at least five children.. Jemima (1865), Henry (1867), Millicent (1868), Mary (1870), and Frank (1874).

Matthew Hobson also had the mill in Derby Road, his miller was the late Paul Hodgkinson.

At the time of his death Matthew held much property and land (freehold and copyhold) in the district, including his Market Place grocer’s shop and the eight houses of Anchor Row, a house and shop and attached land in South Street (occupied by builder John Manners), several houses and land in Nottingham Road, two cottages in Pedley Street, over 16 acres of land by the Erewash Canal and 15 acres at Little Hallam.


Paul Hodgkinson.

Paul Hodgkinson afterwards took over the shop in the Market Place and lived there.
He also had the mill in Derby Road.

Gap alert!

I suspect a connection between Matthew Hobson senior’s wife Millicent who was born in Mickleover and Paul’s family, several of whom were born in Littleover and Mickleover though later living in Kniveton.
What that connection (if any) is, I have yet to establish.

Martyn Taylor commented …

In her letters cited in Old Ilkeston, Adeline Wells surmises that Paul Hodgkinson (1823-1889), who took over Matthew Hobson’s shop in the Market Place, may have been related to Matthew Hobson senior’s wife, Millicent Hodgkinson (1786-1825). He was indeed. Millicent’s brother John (1782-1856) was Paul’s father. I have researched the Hodgkinsons extensively, my mother being one of their descendants.

Born in Kniveton, Derbyshire in 1828, a son of farmer John and Mary (nee Spencer), Paul Hodgkinson was initially an apprentice of Matthew Hobson, then his manager, and then principal of the grocery and millering businesses.

In September 1849 he married Sarah Fletcher, daughter of Mapperley farmer John and Eliza (nee Taylor, the daughter of John and Hannah (nee Cocker)).

Mr Hodgkinson was a very precise and methodical man, whose steady measured walk was quite in keeping with his unobtrusive nature’. (Sheddie Kyme)

Reminiscing once more, John Cartwright ….
“Sometime (about 1845) I took to studying Mr. Paul’s profile with a view to a pencil sketch, which sketch was made from my mental notes on reaching home. This ‘likeness’ was completed in due time, and laid before the original, who was so pleased with the attempt that he made the young artist a present of a shilling, which was then a very big sum to me; but it was not the present that was everything. I felt proud to think that my work was appreciated. At that time Mr. Hobson lived on the premises, and he and Mr. Joseph Bailey, lace manufacturer, were staunch friends. Just as Mr. Paul had given me the piece of silver, Mr. Bailey passed through the shop, and was shown the sketch, when he exclaimed, “Why, Paul, that’s you, and a capital likeness, too”. My old schoolmaster, Mr. Milner, afterwards complimented me on my work, and suggested my drawing a similar one in crayon; but the second, although commenced,, has not yet been completed, although at this moment, I am in possession of the very box of crayons, holders, wash leather, &c., complete that were used by me at that time, and the year 1845 is marked on the box”.

In the summer of 1880, into Paul’s Market Place shop walked William Henry Edmunds with some good news. He was the son of ‘Mrs Edmunds’ whose large wild beast show was soon to come to town, and he was an ‘outrider’ with the task of publicising the forthcoming visit. He had a pony and cart, containing posters of the show, and needed corn and feed not only for this animal but for several of the show’s horses soon to arrive.
Pound signs may have flashed before Paul’s eyes as he visualised the prospect of this bumper future order, but then William Henry calmly slipped into the conversation that he was in immediate need of four shillings — could Paul lend it to himThe shopkeeper smelled ‘a rat’ but his customer assured him that a ground in town had already been reserved for the show, and Paul was persuaded to hand over three shillings.
Just as William Henry pocketed the cash and left his shop, nagging doubts remained in Paul’s mind and he contacted the police.
His ‘customer’ was arrested, detained in the lock-up, and subsequently charged with obtaining money by false and fraudulent pretences.
The wild beast show was not on its way to Ilkeston and William Henry Edmunds had no connection with it.

Paul was a Congregationalist in religion and a Conservative in politics.
For many years he and his family lived in this Market Place site until he sold his business premises to a League of Gentlemen with Liberal intentions looking for a club house.
He moved into his new residence of Kniveton House, Derby Road, about 1884 and died there on February 25th 1889.
His wife Sarah died on June 9th 1898 at the same address.

There were two children, John and Sarah.
Sarah married Mr. Thompson. She died when her first baby was born. John died a year or so later.

Their daughter Sarah married mechanical engineer John Ralph Melland Thompson, son of Richard Melland Thompson and Elizabeth (nee Hodgkinson) in September 1875 and she died at the family’s Market Place home in August 1878, aged 23.

Their only other child was John Fletcher Hodgkinson who continued to live with his parents and work with his father until he died in October 1882, aged 30.

Both children were buried in the grand family vault in the General Cemetery, later joined by their parents.

Paul’s brother John was the oldest child in the family. In 1838 he married Mary Hurd, daughter of Kniveton farmer John and Hannah (nee Blore), and both of them were National School teachers.

In later life they moved into Ilkeston where John farmed in Nottingham Road. He too died at Kniveton House in May 1893.


(The Volunteer Movement)