Bikes by Trek , Whyte , Marin & Willier


of Matlock

The History of Stanley Fearn's
An Epic Drama spanning a Century


Contrary to rumour Stanley Fearn's has not been here forever - though it may seem like it at times! Bikes have been sold in the Matlock area by four generations of the Fearn family.

William and a young Stanley.

William Fearn was the Postmaster at Darley Churchtown. He is seen here with Stanley outside the Post Office.
The building,now a private dwelling and without the thatched roof,can still be seen near St.Helen's Church. William started selling cycles around 1904 and Stanley was soon involved, at first working with his father and then from about 1912 on his own, selling cycles and motor cycles.

William and Stanley outside their Darley Dale shop.

Adverts for Royal Enfield and New Hudson cycles can just be made out in the windows.

Stanley eventually moved to Matlock, where he traded from a couple of different locations before settling in Bakewell Road at the site of the present shop around 1926.Today the buildings are virtually unchanged from all those years ago. Essentially three separate structures, they were originally separate businesses, all built around 1925-1927. Stanley initially had just one, in later years acquiring the other two.

Stanley with motorcycle and sidecar outside one of his early shops.

We're not sure whether this building was in Darley Dale or Matlock,but it was probably Stanley's first shop.

Fearn's cycle shop in Crown Square, seen to the left of the gas-powered bus.

This was a time of serious fuel shortages during WW1 and this bus (also called a charabanc) had been converted to run on gas, which was carried in the huge bag on the top.

The shop occupied part of the building in Crown Square which is nowadays Holland & Barrett's.

Photograph by Mr. C. R. Taylor. Courtesy of

BSA motorbike catalogue from Stanley Fearn's 1920.

The machines range from 90 to 130, but the average adult weekly wage back then was only about 2.
Virtually nobody in the town would have a car, and at these prices a new motorbike would have been an impossible luxury for most people.
It was probably a very rare event for Stanley to sell one.
To see all the catalogue please click here.

Geoff with a 'Fearn Special', strangely this never caught on.

Stanley's eldest son Geoff joined the business in 1930 straight from school at 14. He served in the RAF as an aircraft fitter during the war returning to become a partner. The shop was then renamed "Stanley Fearn and Son".

Geoff serving a customer with petrol.

As well as cycles and motor cycles, the shop also had a thriving petrol business with four pumps. In those days there were lots of small petrol stations scattered around. Today Matlock has only three stations, but as late as 1965 the town had at least eight. Our pumps were sited next to the footpath with "swingarms" which piped petrol high over pedestrians to vehicles at the roadside. Not surprisingly you do not see this sort of thing any more!

"Young Andrew left that tap running again then?".

Immediately behind the shop runs the River Derwent. In about 1980 major flood defenses were completed in Matlock. Prior to that hardly a winter went by without a flood scare. Sometimes the water barely broke over the bank, but sometimes it was a bit more serious.......

As a young boy Geoff's son Andrew remembers thinking the floods were really exciting. (For some reason his Dad did not think they were such fun).

Geoff as many of our customers will remember him,with his white coat and flat cap.

Andrew joined the business in 1977. Geoff continued working full time until he was seventy, and then worked part time until he suffered a stroke five years later.


These days we are a limited company - Stanley Fearn Cycles Ltd. but we usually just refer to ourselves as "Stanley Fearn's"

We are now purely a cycle shop - no petrol or motorbikes, but the modern cycling scene is a very exciting and technically advanced thing. In recent years there have been massive advances in equipment and frame materials. We stock several leading makes and are proud to be the leading dealer in the area for Trek and Whyte, who are two of the best brands available in Britain today. Both brands have very impressive ranges and give excellent after-sales service. Undoubtedly the biggest thing at the moment is the rapid growth of the electric bike market. See our cycling pages for more information on electrics and all our other bikes.

For over ninety years now the old buildings have carried on more or less unchanged. Sometimes we think about knocking them down and replacing them with a smart new shop, but we are really quite fond of them in their funny old way. We think we might carry on as we are for a few years yet!

Aidan and Andrew C1994
Aidan is (still) the hairy one !

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