Grosvenor Road

(Adapted from Frank Mansey’s “A Guide to Ripley’s Heritage Part Two : South pages 29-32.)

Grosvenor Road was developed in 1904. It was originally a jennel (or ginnel) called White Lion Jennel, after the coaching inn round the corner on Market Place. It became Grosvenor Place, then Grosvenor Road. From the Market Place on your right not far from the top is Clarke’s shop, founded by Mr. W. E. Clarke who lived on the premises with his wife Ada. She was the sister of D. H. Lawrence and he was a frequent visitor to Ripley. Through three generations the firm has expended into several other adjacent premises.

Looking down Grosvenor Road with Clarke’s on your right in the 1950s

Across the road, the bottom one of five shops with similar frontages is a more recent addition to the large Grosvenor House that stands behind it. That was built by Mr Henson who moved from Nottingham Road in 1903. Mr. Stalley, a dentist, later lived there, and then it became the Grosvenor Club for a while. Before the shops were built, Smalleys had a green grocery business in front of the house.

Next below there, the garden and Manse of the Baptist Church were replaced by  Kwik Save which opened in 1984,  briefly became Sainsburys and then The Original Factory Shop.

The passageway takes up the space where Mr. George Lee had his home, Grosvenor House, originally the  Baptist Chapel. He was an auctioneer and estate agent who, with his son, founded the business that operated from the shop which stands immediately below the Library. They amalgamated with Mr. S.W. Coupe (or Cope) in 1905, and Mr, Coupe’s son William Ogle Coupe later took over to run the business of Lee, Son and Coupe until 1968. It was taken over by Harrison Smith and Company in 1970, and the Halifax Building Society took over from them in 1997. Miss Daphne Coupe was the last occupant of the house that was demolished in 1970.

A row of cottages also used to stand where the Library now is. In the early part of the 20thcentury they were turned into a “Nursing Home”, and there are still people around who were born there. When the home closed it reverted to being cottages until they were demolished to make way for the new County Library and local Education Offices in 1973.

Cope’s House around 1970.

A little further down the road is a public house that was originally called the Cross Keys, then Chasers, then in 1998 The Olde Wreck, and in 2004 just The Wreck.

Next to this were, in the early half of the 20th century, a chip shop and Watsons’ furniture shop, both with living accommodation above and behind. In 1929 the Co-operative Society took the premises over to open their foreign meat and wet fish shops respectively. When those businesses were moved to the new superstore, these shops lay empty for some time until they were converted into a wine bar. After another major refit, the building was reopened in its present role, and called Victors, in 1999.

The Co-op meat shop and the Cross Keys

If as soon as you have passed these premises, you turn and look at the rear, you will see that part of them has a pyramid shaped roof. The building under that roof was the original Primitive Methodist Chapel in the town, built in 1850. The front of the premises was extended over the old graveyard when they were converted into the chip and furniture shops.

In the gap next to the above building, a doctor had his home, and then Mr. A.L. Miles the dentist lived there with his family, having moved from Greaves Street.

There used to be another building at the bottom of the road, where the paved area is. It was variously occupied by, among others, Mr Holmes’ provision shop “late with Mr S. Fletcher” whose Church Street shop had closed, the Co-op confectionery and tobacco department, and Mr R.S.D. Cash the solicitor.