The Smithfield - Derby

History of The Smithfield


Opened as the Market Hotel in an attractive building with a curving facade built in very traditional style probably around 1840. Renamed the Smithfield in July 1982. To let as 'A most complete beer house in the Smithfield Market, Derby in 1855 and two years later described as an 'old licensed public house in Smithfield Market'.

In 1863, the short-lived Convent of the sisters of Mercy on Nottingham Road - allegedly designed by A.W.N. Pugin - was taken down, and one of its gates incorporated into the inn. This survives rather incongruously as a gothic brick arch with stone dressings, bricked up and stuccoed over, the vast oak and iron furnished gates themselves surviving behind. It was let again in 1870 to John Meyer who was also a horse dealer. By this time the rather ad hoc beast market in the area outside the inn (intended to draw dealers away from the west end of Friar Gate), had been drastically remodelled for the Corporation by H.I. Stevens and Edwin Thompson to form the 'New Cattle Market', which survived until the coming of the Inner Ring Road. It was taken over by the first of a remarkable pub dynasty between 1926 and 1984. Marting Conneelly was landlord 1926-49; his brother Percy William Conneelly from 1953-78 and his sone John (latterly with his own daughter Dianne) from 1978-84. Percy's wife was from the Harrison family, long landlords of the Railway Tavern, Canal Street. Bass from 1965, previously Offiler. Clientele changed from farmers in 1968 to journalists from 1981, the new Evening Telegraph offices having opened nearby. Since then if has become rather quiet, journalists being these days actively discouraged from drinking during working hours.

Owned by the Headless Pub chain of John Evans who also has the Flower Pot, since 1996.

Courtesy of 'The Illustrated History of Derby's Pubs' by Maxwell Craven, available in all good book stores.

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