It shows a group of young men posing in the doorway of the shop, including the shop's owner, John Dean (1853-1918), at right. John Dean was born in Kirk Ireton, son of farmer and publican Samuel Dean. After attending James W. Beeson's Excelsior Academy in Wirksworth, John became a draper's apprentice in Wirksworth by 1871. On 16 March 1881, John married Annie Mary Harvey, daughter of a Derby druggist, and they initially lived in a house at 3 Bramble Street. The 1881 Census on 3 April showed them at this address, together with John's younger sister Sarah Jane, and a boarder by the name of James E. Hurd. Hurd was, by then, John Dean's partner in a drapery business located, according to the 1881 edition of Kelly's Trade Directory (on microfiche from the Derbyshire Family History Society), at 18 St James' Street (south side).
They appear to have moved from this address to 54 St Peter's Street some time after 1881. The second photograph, a more general view looking north up St Peter's Street from immediately south of St Peter's church towards the intersection with East Street, includes the same shop premises as that shown in the first photograph, but with signage showing clearly that the partnership of "Hurd & Dean" was still in existence (see below). However, it must have been taken prior to 1887, as Kelly's Trade Directory for that year shows only John Dean to be in business at number 54. There is another firm, "Hurd & Bentley, general drapers, silk mercers, hosiers & glovers, milliners & dress & mantle makers" shown with premises at 38 Corn market, one half of which may have been Dean's former partner.
The detailed image shows several people, once again, standing in the doorway of the shop, but this time they appear to be looking at something happening in the street, rather than posing for the camera. Examination of the larger version of the photograph shows, apart from three horse-drawn trams, which must have been a regular sight, a procession of horse-drawn wagons parked on the east side. The waggons are piled high with rectangular bales, identified on the front one as containing tea! The sign above the shop windows of the premises on the north-eastern corner of St Peter's Street and East Street demonstrate that at least part of the building was occupied by the Star Tea Company. Kelly's 1887 directory confirms that company occupied offices in St Peter's Chambers at this address, presumably on one of the upper floors, as the Midland Drapery Company were on the ground floor.