Wednesday 16 March 2016, 7.30pm at the Winding Wheel, Janet Murphy will give a new talk on the Black & White Buildings of Chesterfield. Adult £7, Concession £5.45
Come and hear how and why they were created – and what their fate is to be. A unique part of Chesterfield’s architectural history
In order to widen Knifesmithgate all the buildings on the north of the road were demolished and new ones built further back. At first sight the range would appear to be one continuous building; however it is several different buildings. The first to be erected was for R.J.Stokes Ltd – the one without a projecting upper floor. Next was the Gas Board Showroom, the building to the right of it. Next came the main entrance to the Victoria which led to the billiard hall on the ground floor and the cinema above. Possibly Greaves furniture store was built at the same time or shortly afterwards. Then came the range of shops on the left, with the restaurant on the floor above and the ballroom on the top floor. Finally the original King’s Head was demolished to make way for a new King’s Head. All the buildings have a colonnade so that shoppers would not get wet when it rained.
The next stage of the street improvements was to extend Knifesmithgate as far as Glumangate, which meant demolishing the buildings in between the two streets with exception of the two buildings which were originally part of T.P.Woods bottling plant. They can be seen on the left; as well as being the only original ones, they are the only ones without a colonnade.
The present building is the remaining two-thirds of a building which was originally built about 1500. Its original use is unknown but it may have been a medieval guildhall. By the 1680s it was the home of two families. From 1800 there was a period of major alterations during which the lost third was demolished. By 1829 part of the building was a public house called the Peacock. About 1880 the building was bought by the local Brampton Brewery and the street frontage was completely remodelled; the timber framing was covered and the ground floor clad with green and cream ceramic tiles.
The Peacock remained open as a public house until 1973 and the following year it was damaged by a fire when the timber framing was revealed once more. The rediscovery of the original building played an important part in the opposition to the planned redevelopment of the town centre which would have resulted in the demolition of the Market Hall and many of the attractive buildings on Low Pavement including the Peacock.
After a spell as the Tourist Information Centre, the building became Peacocks Coffee Lounge.