Updated 19 May 2013

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Marsden the Auction, 1823-1960

    An attempt to discover some of the early history of the famous auction and stationary business in the Market Place, in the centre of Wirksworth.
    If you have more information about MARSDEN's, please e-mail

Marsden the Auction 1823-1960

    Two separate businesses, "Marsden the Auction" and "Marsden the Hardware" face each other across the Market Place in the centre of Wirksworth (see streetmap of centre, click on numbers 8 and 22). There appears to be no connection between the people who ran the businesses except the surname. "Hardware" lasted for 220 years and "Auction" for 130 years.

    Jill Banks writes:
    I am interested in learning something of the history of George Marsden, Printer, Stationer, Bookbinder and Music Seller of Market Place, Wirksworth. I know the business was operational in 1880, but do you know when it started, and when it closed? Kelly's Directory lists it in 1925 but I am sure in lasted much longer as in the book "The Wirksworth Story" it is shown in photographs on pages 66 and 68 at the time of the repaving of the market place, which I presume was 1979 or 1980. Did "Off the Roll" take over the premises direct from Marsden, or was there something else in between?

    The MARSDEN business of printing, auctioneering etc seems to have started with John, who was born in 1803, probably living in Winster. He probably moved to Wirksworth around 1823. In 1825 he married Lydia STORER. In 1825 he is described ad a Higler, in 1829, 1832 and 1834 as a Hawker and in 1837 as a Hosier. In 1841 the Census describes him as an auctioneer, and a Tradesman's Directory in 1846 as an auctioneer and appraiser.

    From a postcard, posted 1904. George Marsden's is the property on the extreme right. At the time described as "the stationer, an estate agent, a publisher (postcards) and a surveyor". Around 1920 described as: "What is now Hilton's was A.J. Marsden, the stationers with the auctioneers office over the shop. This was a big shop and sold general stationery material, newspapers etc". In 1989 it was number 20, a Fairtrade shop.

    Market Place
    Drawn about 1979.
        Library  18         19      20     21   21a 22
                 Charity  Fish+        Butchers 21b Estate
                 Shop     chip   Fairtrade          Agent
                          shop   shop           Flats

    Tradesmen's directory for:
    1846 MARSDEN John (Wirks.St.John's Street) Auctioneer & appraiser

    George Marsden was born in 1835 and died in 1904.

    The following entries tell their own story:
    George MARSDEN in the Wirksworth Census
    1901, 1891, 1881, 1871, 1861, 1851, and 1841,

    In Wirksworth Cemetery:
    [QC166]..... GEORGE MARSDEN/at rest/February 27th 1904/in his 71st year/and also of his beloved wife/ANN MARSDEN/at rest/October 19th 1918/in her 80th year/also of/FLORENCE CHARLOTTE/their beloved daughter/who fell asleep/March 28 1926/in her 59th year.
    (Marble cross & kerb)

    From the website of Noel Wheatcroft & Son:
    "In 1960 the practice of George Marsden & Son of Wirksworth was purchased, this Company was established in the Victorian times and with them came the acquisition of beautifully bound copies of sales particulars dating back to the beginning of this century, which the firm still treasure to this day".

                            |                 |
                            |                 |
                         Youlgrave          Wirksworth
                           1776              1781            1769
                           John      1801    Sarah   1812    John
                           1807        |               |     1820
                                       |               |
          |---------|-----|------|-----|--|          |-|------|
          |         |     |      |        |          |        |
          |        1803  1805   1806     1808       1818     1820
         Jonathan  John  Sarah  Richard  Samuel[1]  Anthony  Jonathon[2]
         1802       |                               1822
                    |              1804
                   John     1825   Lydia
                   1861       |    1865
                    |     |       |
                   1832  1834    1836
                   Mary  George  Sarah
                          |                1839
                         George    1862    Ann
                         1904        |     1918
               |       |         |          |         |
              1863    1863      1869       1874      1876
              Mary    Florence  George[3]  Arthur[4] Susan
              Evelyn  1926      1938        

    1-----Samuel was baptised 1808sep16 and born 1808feb02, so he was probably conceived 1807may02. John MARSDEN died 1807jun21, about 7 weeks later, so could have been Samuel's father.

    2---- Jonathon was baptised 1820aug21 and born 1820jul26, so he was probably conceived 1818oct26. John MASKREY died 1820mar9, about 4 months later, so could have been Jonathon's father.

    3----George Marsden junior played cricket for Derbyshire 1894-1898 as a batsman aged 25-29. The author came across the following information and his career statistics:

    4----When Arthur J took over the business from his father George about 1900, he practised as "George Marsden & Son" and was signing business letters in that name as late as 1928 (see Dale Farm).

                            George Marsden
    Full name George Allen Marsden
    Born June 28, 1869, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
    Died January 7, 1938, Diep River, Cape Province, South Africa 
         (aged 68 years 193 days)
    Major teams Derbyshire
    Batting style Right-hand bat
    Bowling style Legbreak
    Batting and fielding averages 
    class         mat  inns  no  runs  hs    ave   10  50   ct  st 
    First-class   30    46   6   417   37   10.42   0   0   12   0 
    Bowling averages 
    class        mat  balls  runs  wkts  bbi  bbm  ave  econ  sr  4   5  10 
    First-class   30   0       0    0    -     -    -    -    -   0   0   0 
    Career statistics 
    First-class span  1894 - 1898 

    George MARSDEN received a letter from Florence NIGHTINGALE
    (the famous nurse), dated 17 Oct 1878, who lived at Lea Hurst
    (East of Cromford). NIGHTINGALE was ordering the printing of
    200 copies of a "little book" that she had written, and she 
    had just seen the Envoi (concluding part of the book).

    Nurses' Shipwreck                   Lea Hurst
                                        Cromford Derby
                                        Oct 17/78
    Mr George Marsden
    I am much obliged to you for your promptitude
    in sending the enclosed.
    The little book is now in a very pretty & suitable
    form. The copy I return & the copy of the 
    Envoi returned are those I prefer.
    The Envoi, I presume, will be sewn in at the
    beginning or is it usual to have it loose?
    There are two or three displacements of letters
    which I have marked in pencil. Otherwise there
    are no corrections or alterations necessary.
    Would you be so good as to print off 200 (two
    hundred) copies, breaking up the type
    & send me with your Acct. the copies
    at your earliest convenience.
                  & oblige yr obed Serv
                 Florence Nightingale 

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