The sweet return of Derby’s Pyclet Parlour

It’s a Derby original, dates back to the 1860s and was first sold from a barrow in the city’s Victorian Market Hall, but from this month even more visitors and locals alike will be able to tuck into this tasty treat.

Few outside Derbyshire may have heard of the Derby Pyclet, a flattened crumpet with sweet and savoury toppings, but this local specialty has been a firm favourite since the Monk family came up with the recipe in 1864.

Sold for over a century by the family in the city’s markets – and given a new lease of life with new owners a decade ago – its last market stall closed 18 months ago, and since then the Pyclet Parlour has been “delivery only” to the local area.

But it will make a welcome return to the city centre this month with the opening of a new café and bakery in Sadler Gate, within the Cathedral Quarter, on 11 September.

Generations of the Monk family made and sold pyclets in the city until the 1970s when the businesses closed, before a chance discovery saw the recipe resurrected in 2011 and the Pyclet Parlour was born.

From 2012 until 2016 it returned to its historic home, Market Hall, before moving to a new stall in the city’s Eagle Market, which closed just before the Covid pandemic.

Now the Parlour will be back, switching from a market stall to a standalone café in a three-storey bakery building – a dream come true for owner Katie Gibson, a former customer who fell in love with pyclets.

A shop and dining parlour will take up the ground floor, while the second floor will be the production kitchen along with overflow tables, and the third will house two Derbyshire themed dining rooms, the Kedleston and the Ladybower, overlooking Sadler Gate, a historic thoroughfare associated with coachmen and Saddlers, now home to shops, cafes and restaurants.

Katie also plans to include a pyclet history trail through the building too, offering diners and shoppers a glimpse behind the history and heritage of this local delicacy.

Similar to a crumpet, pyclets are traditionally made using buttermilk, but are thinner and lighter, and eaten toasted, with butter, or topped with a savoury or sweet topping.

Over the years, the bakery has come up with some winning taste combinations, which are set to be on the menu of the new café and shop, from breakfast specials to lunch time treats, including eggs benedict and breakfast oatcakes, along with Welsh rarebit and posh pyclets.

It is a far cry from 1864 when the Monk family opened their new Pyclet Bakery in Edward Street, Derby, with the men baking, and the women selling their products from barrows under the Guildhall arch in Derby’s then new Market Hall.

In 1914, Emily Monk took over the barrow, where she sold pyclets “every day bar high days and holidays” until 1963. After her death, a family friend, Rose, continued the tradition until a combination of the oil crisis and the rise of supermarkets led to production ceasing in 1974, with the bakery split into four houses.

Fast forward to 2011 and Mark Hughes bought his first home, a converted shop, and discovered the history behind it after his solicitor recognised the name Monk on the deeds – and the pcylet story began again.

After some experimentation, they came up with a recipe, and after their new pyclets proved a hit with friends, they took out a pop-up stall at Derby Market Place. After nine months of baking from a domestic kitchen, and selling from the stall, they opened a bakery in the Market Hall in 2012. The latest chapter in the story began in 2016, when Katie Gibson took over the Pyclet Parlour.

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    Katie Gibson, Derby Pyclet Parlour