Near the top end ……
The next was Mr. Solomon Beardsley’s bread and confectionery shop.
He built a bakehouse at the rear.
In 1871 this was 5 Bath Street.
Of at least 12 children, Solomon Beardsley was born on October 28th 1831, the third son of John, grocer/baker and draper of Bath Street, and Catherine (nee Skevington)…. ‘Solomon’ was the name of his paternal grandfather.
His first wife died leaving him with four children.
Solomon’s first wife, whom he married on July 6th 1851, was Eliza Mellor, youngest of the ten children of William, lacemaker of Anchor Row, and Rhoda (nee Palmer).
Eliza died on December 14th 1858, aged 29, four days after the birth of their fifth child, William.
The children of Solomon and Eliza……
1] Lizzie who married Potter Hardy, of Kirk Hallam;
In 1875 Solomon’s elder daughter Elizabeth(born August 9th 1851) left Ilkeston after her marriage to Kirk Hallam farmer Joseph Potter Hardy, son of John and Anne (nee Potter), to live at his home, Vine Farm.
However, six years later, she returned to the Bath Street home of her parents to die there, aged 29, on April 29th 1881.
Both their children — Eliza Annie and John Potter — had died in infancy in 1880.
And finally in 1885, Joseph Potter Hardy died in Kirk Hallam, aged 32.
2] Catherine, who married Mr. Northwood.
On January 21st 1883 Catherine (born November 3rd 1853) married widower James Northwood, roll turner at Stanton Ironworks and later butcher of Bath Street, and lived in that street for a time before moving to Poplar’s Farm in Kirk Hallam. Eventually they moved to Nottingham where James continued his trade.
3] John the first died on September 22nd 1855, aged one week, and John the second (born on November 16th 1856) married Hannah Maria Sisson in 1884, she being the daughter of coalminer Ephraim and Ann (nee Smith).
By the end of the century John had inherited the family bakery and brick manufactory and later retired to live at ‘Hildene’ in Longfield Lane.
4] … and Willie, who died when a young man.
William (born December 10th 1858) left Ilkeston for a time but returned to live with his parents. Working with his brother John as a brick manufacturer he died at the latter’s residence of 7 Bath Street in April 1899, aged 40, suffering from bronchitis.
Mr. S. Beardsley’s second wife was Miss Sudbury, who had lived with her mother in Anchor Row.
Perhaps the responsibility of raising four young children without a wife led Solomon to marry again only a few months after Eliza’s death.
His second wife was Matilda Potter Sudbury, living in Anchor Row with her unmarried mother Hannah and uncle Alfred, lace manufacturer — both children of stockingweaver William and Sarah (nee Thompson).
They had one little daughter, Annie Maria.
In fact five children followed Solomon’s second marriage …Hannah Maria who died on April 21st 1875 in her fifteenth year; Henry who died in June 1863, aged five months; Frank who died on March 1st 1883, aged 18; Matilda who died on August 28th 1880, aged 12; Harry who died in infancy, on November 23rd 1870.
All were buried in Stanton Road Cemetery.
Solomon had established himself in Bath Street as a grocer and baker in the mid 1850’s.
Ilkeston peppered with a rash of infectious thefts
To reach the back kitchen of Solomon’s premises from Bath Street an open and exposed yard had to be crossed. This, however, did not deter Robert Pepper.
In late March of 1866 he paid an uninvited and unwelcome clandestine night-time visit to this kitchen and left shortly afterwards with two brushes, a towel, a looking-glass, a basket, boots and a cap — the property of Solomon and his apprentice John Hind — while the house occupants slept soundly in their beds.
About a week later Robert’s wife Mary took the boots to pawnbroker John Moss and pledged them with him for 4s 6d. Almost immediately John passed them over to Inspector Brady and just as speedily the Inspector called on the Peppers, taking them both into custody.
A week before the theft from Solomon’s kitchen, Robert had made a similar visit to the home of coalminer Samuel and Esther Riley in New Street. This time he left with an iron pot, an iron saucepan, and a coal pick — all these items were reclaimed by the Inspector from the Pepper’s home when he arrested the couple, and later identified by Esther Riley.
Robert was eventually prepared to ‘take the rap’ for the theft of all this ‘loot’ — his wife was ‘as innocent as a baby’ he claimed. He was believed and so Mary was released.
Also recovered from the Pepper house at the same time were another towel, aprons, shoe brushes, a zinc bucket and a couple of wooden buckets, a mop, an iron kettle, a water jug and a pie dish — all ‘missing’ from premises close to those of baker Solomon and coalminer Samuel.
After an appearance at the Petty Sessions on the same day as his arrest, Robert was committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions. The period from his arrest to his remand was less than half a day.
As you may have guessed from the number of Robert’s ill-gotten articles in his possession, he was not a stranger to criminal activity.
At his appearance at the Derby Assizes in July — where he pleaded guilty to the thefts — it was revealed that Robert had been convicted for similar offences several times before, and had twice been sentenced to penal servitude for four years.
Robert was born in Nottingham in 1840, and worked with his father, Robert senior, as a chimney sweep — it was helpful to the ‘family business’ that he was just over five feet tall.
In 1854 he stole a pair of trousers and found himself in prison for six weeks; in 1855 he stole a shirt for which crime he received two months in prison — both convictions under the Juvenile Offenders Act 1847 (amended 1850).
At the age of 16 — and thus no longer subject to the above Act — he was convicted of stealing a watch and sentenced to four years penal servitude. He was released in October 1859, but a year later was back inside, serving another four year sentence of penal servitude for larceny. He was released on license from Dartmoor Prison in January 1864.
Between the time of this release and committing the spate of robberies in Ilkeston, Robert found the time to get married, at Ilkeston Independent Chapel, to Mary Freeman alias Fish, illegitimate daughter of Sarah Freeman (who later married William Fish).
Perhaps he soon tired of married life, or it did not live up to his expectations, or perhaps he was a compulsive thief ? … for whatever reason, within a year Robert was facing another period in prison.
For his Ilkeston robberies he was sentenced to seven years penal servitude, towards the end of which, in February 1872, he was again released on license.
Solomon was not simply a baker .. he later kept cows, dealt in corn and operated a brick-making works at Rutland Wharf with William Pounder.
He also kept three pigs in a stye in Burr Lane which drew complaints from neighbours. The Local Board investigated this and found them ‘in tolerable condition’.
However the complaints resurfaced just over a year later and the Board now found them in an intolerable condition!!
His drift now numbered “14 or 15 pigs, and a great quantity of manure in a most offensive state, and emitting a most offensive effluvia in the neighbourhood”.
Eventually and some time later, in 1869, Solomon was served with an order to remove manure at the corner of Burr Lane and to discontinue keeping pigs there. The Pioneer gleefully and rather mischievously reported at length the Board’s discussions subsequent to this order and Solomon’s unsuccessful defence of his pigs and their habitat.
“Where does my nuisance spring from?” asked Solomon. ‘The neighbours say it doesna spring from the pigstees. I’ve bin an’ seen them, an’ they complain only o’ th’ privies. I’ve only three or four pigs there: don’t think there’s six.’
And of the manure, he confessed ‘I’ve bin so busy, or else it would a’ bin shifted afore’.
This was at the time of the feud between some Liberal members of the Local Board and Conservative John Wombell of the Ilkeston Pioneer. (See The 1869 Election Crisis).
By reporting Solomon’s remarks in his ‘Derbyshire vernacular’ the newspaper was, in the opinion of Board member, Radical Liberal and Market Place draper William Smith, “calculated to bring contempt and ridicule on Mr. Beardsley and the proceedings of the Board, and the Board ought not to submit to such an indignity”.
Consequently it was resolved that “while we wish to give publicity to the business transacted at this Board, we repudiate such reports as have recently appeared in the Pioneer newspaper; and it is agreed, that should similar reports appear in future, the reporter so committing himself be prohibited from attending the Board meetings”.
In July 1870, in the Nottinghamshire Guardian…
Nine months later, at the 1871 census, it appears that John Briggs may have responded to Solomon’s ‘ad’ … he was then the 15 year-old assistant baker living with his master. His parents, watchmaker William and Mary (nee Barlow), were not far away … in South Street.
In 1871 Solomon lost his horse in a severe thunderstorm when the animal was struck by a vivid flash of lightning and died immediately. Again, gossip was spread. There were subsequent rumours that the baker had worked the animal to death and so an autopsy was performed by Samuel Revill, veterinary surgeon.
His report stated “I noticed particularly the heart, and found it quite sound and perfectly healthy and free from any symptoms of rupture. I have no hesitation in saying that the horse died from the effects of lightning”.
During the same storm several people testified to seeing a ball of fire rolling along South Street into the Market Place where it exploded harmlessly.
The Pioneer was often very harsh upon Solomon.
For example, under the heading of ‘The “Wise” Baker Again’, the newspaper reported upon his appearance at Ilkeston Petty Sessions in December 1874. He was accused of refusing to weigh bread in the presence of a purchaser and with selling an unweighed loaf which was half an ounce underweight.
The total cost to Solomon of these misdemeanours was £5 9s.
Not the first time for Solomon !! A couple of months before, the baker had been making deliveries at Stanton by Dale and didn’t have a correct beam and scales with him so that he might weigh the loaves in the presence of his customers. Solomon was vehement that he had done no wrong and expressed his view forcefully to the magistrates when he appeared at Ilkeston Petty Sessions. The Bench was suitably unimpressed and fined Solomon 40s, instead of the usual 20s.
In June 1876 Solomon was at it again, this time in Mapperley. Although he had an explanation, backed up by his son William, his previous convictions counted against him and he was ‘clobbered’ with a £5 fine plus 10s 6d costs.
At the same time Solomon’s baker brother Amos was found guilty of the same offence .. fined £2 and 10s 6d costs …. spot the difference ?!
In August 1878 another batch of Solomon’s bread was under forensic investigation.
The baker had supplied shopkeeper Frederick Cook of Cotmanhay Road with half a stone of bread which was then divided into loaves… one of which then began a rather convoluted journey.
Described as a 4lb loaf, it was purchased by Henry Cripwell, joiner of Granby Street, and taken home by him … whereupon instead of being eaten it was weighed. Henry discovered that it was ¼lb too light and so it made its way back to the shop and then took a trip to Derby where it was tested by the Inspector of Weights and Measures. It was indeed too light.
The police were called and the loaf was taken into custody, to be returned to Ilkeston.
A couple of weeks later all concerned were at Ilkeston Petty Sessions where Henry sued Solomon over the missing ¼lb of bread…. but in vain.
The two protagonists had not been the best of mates; a history of ill-feeling existed between them. Solomon argued that he had only left a batch of bread at the shop and that the shopkeeper had been responsible for the ‘light-weight’ loaf. The magistrates agreed, dismissed the case, and suggested that Henry should have summoned Frederick Cook instead.
About 1887 Solomon and his family moved into St Mary Street.
In early 1892 Solomon’s partnership with William Pounder — trading as Beardsley and Pounder, brickmakers of Rutland Wharf and Gallows Inn — was dissolved.
Solomon died at his home, Holmfield House in St. Mary Street, on April 22nd 1895 and was buried at Ilkeston General Cemetery.
His wife Matilda died at the Bath Street home of her step-son John Beardsley on November 12th 1901.