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Celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897
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Matlock and District marked Queen Victoria's sixty years on the throne in some style on Jubilee Day itself. Bunting was put up and there were lunches and teas, sports and bands entertained the crowds. In the evening there were torchlight processions, lighted candle displays and beacons were lit. The walks in Matlock Bath the were lit with fairy lamps and illuminated boats were out on the river; the Jubilee celebrations in the village are sometimes confused with the first Venetian Fete, but that took place in September the same year.

Both Matlock and Matlock Bath's Urban District Councils had formulated expansive plans for schemes to improve both town and village. Matlock's schemes included laying out the Hall Lees whilst Matlock Bath was less ambition as they wanted a second bridge across the Derwent. Matlock was more successful in achieving its aims and most of the proposed work was completed within the next few years. Matlock Bath's second bridge was not erected until 1969.


Reports of Council discussions about how to mark the event

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 31 March, 1897

The Diamond Jubilee (Matlock Bath)
A meeting was convened by the chairman of Matlock Bath District Council on Friday night to consider what steps should be taken in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Mr. J. E. Lawton, J.P. presided. In the course of his remarks the chairman reminded them what was done ten years ago when some 600l. was raised and a handsome bridge was erected across the river Derwent, thus giving a retreat for visitors and a pretty promenade. Public space was necessary where the visitors could go and enjoy the beauties of the locality There had been much done that was very beneficial, but they must make an effort to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee in an appropriate manner. The town had been offered the whole of the Lovers' Walks complete by Mr Arkwright, on a rental. A debt existed on the promenade of 829l., which cost 40l. in interest to those who held the deeds. After other speeches, the general opinion was in favour of securing the whole of the Lovers' Walks to add to the existing promenade, to throw a second bridge over the river at the lower end of the district, and thus form what would be a splendid attraction entirely free for visitors and residents. A committee was formed to carry out this expression, and to raise a fund for the purpose.

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 26 May, 1897

The Jubilee Celebrations (Matlock).
The local committee of the ministers and principle tradesmen of the town have submitted to the Urban District Council two proposals, one for the adoption of the Free Libraries Act, with which it is proposed to combine at the Town Hall technical classrooms and library ; and, secondly, a scheme for the laying out of pleasure grounds and free promenades along both sides of the picturesque River Derwent. The later scheme is now in the hands of a committee composed of Mr. E. Slack, J.P., H. Challand, W. H. Moore, and H. Hartley to go into the financial part of it, for the District Council. The scheme is for the laying out of the Hall Lees, throwing a bridge across the town brook at Knowlestone Place, to below Pig Tor rocks, and from there on to the extremity of the district, joining that of Matlock Bath. The Council will also ask for terms to purchase what is known as Allcock, to preserve from the desecrating hands of the builder the splendid view of the valley from Smedley Street, opposite the new Pavilion grounds. It has further been decided to preserve and develop all open spaces in the town. A large loan will be asked for from the Local Government Board when the schemes have been properly formulated, to include the 500l. to be contributed to the cost of the alterations to the county bridge, which the County Council will carry out at a cost of 3,700l.

A public meeting has been convened for tomorrow [in Matlock] to consider the celebration of the Jubilee Day itself. It is proposed to hold dinners, and festivities for the children and old people of the neighbourhood. It has been arranged by the Council to light a bonfire on Jackson Tor Rock. At Matlock Bath the committee have arranged to spend 500l. on the erection of a new bridge across the Derwent, to join the new promenade and Lovers' Walks, opened free this year, with the lower end of the town. A donation by an anonymous donor is announced of 25l., provided eleven others are offered before June 7th. The day will be celebrated with a feast for the children and aged people.

H. G. Hartley's shop in Crown Square, about 1904
Sparrow Park, Smedley Street East, 1940s

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 2 June, 1897

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE
On Tuesday night a public meeting was held at the Town Hall, Mr. E. Slack, J.P., in the chair. ... a celebration of the day, to take the form of a dinner to the aged people over 60, followed by a general assembly on the cricket ground for a short 20 minute service the same as the one used at St. Paul's ; the children of the town to sing patriotic songs, afterwards tea to be provided by the school managers in each school, to include every child in the parish ; and finally for there to be sports, &c., the whole to be concluded with a bonfire. The bonfire to be on top of Masson instead of Jackson Tor. ... Bonsall and Matlock Bath asked to join. ...

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 9 June, 1897

It is rumoured that an effort is to be made to commemorate the Jubilee at Matlock by securing an incorporation charter. Mr Job Smith, the late chairman of the Urban District Council, will move that an application be made in the usual form, it being believed that there is a better opportunity this year than at any other period.

Reports of the what happened on the day

Hackney and Farley

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 26 June 1897

The residents of this district showed their loyalty in the truest sense by attending to the stomach by roasting a sheep and a baron of beef. Garlands were erected, flags and mottoes displayed. Mr. W. Hursthouse was chairman of the committee, who had about £15 at disposal. Some 150 children and about the same number of adults had a meat tea. Mr. Allen kindly lent a field for amusements, and Mr. B. L. Barrow, J.P., found material to make a bonfire.

Matlock

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 26 June 1897

The Matlock celebration of the Diamond Jubilee commenced at three o'clock in the afternoon, when there was a grand assembly of the whole of the adults and children of the parish in the cricket ground, in splendid weather. The proceedings were conducted by Mr. E. Slack, J.P., the Chairman of the Urban District Council of Matlock, and he was supported by the Rev. J. W. Kewley, Rev. A. Lowe, Rev. T. M. Shaw, Rev. Jas Wayman, Rev. A. L. Humphries, M.A., Rev. J. Langstaffe, Messrs. G. Hope, J. Sladen, J. Potter, H. G. Hartley, Neville Bennett, G. W. Goodwin, T. Boden, T. Sproul, W. Pride, Rev. Mark Davenport, H. Marsden, T. Stevens, H. Challand, J. Bradshaw, T. Hazlewood, T. H. Williams, R. H. Baker, and many others too numerous to mention. The proceedings were memorable, and the singing, led by the Matlock United Brass Band, conducted by Mr. D. M. Wildgoose, was very effective. The only speech of the day was entrusted to the Chairman of the Urban District Council. - Mr. Slack, J.P., in addressing the crowd [his speech is not recorded here but he paid tribute to Queen and Country]. In the Assembly Room, Mr. and Mrs. Abbott, of the Queen's Head Hotel, had prepared an excellent dinner for 200 old people. In the various schools tea was served to 1200 children. The service was conducted by clergy and ministers alternately. We may add that the whole of the money was taken from the district rates, a sum having been voted by the authority, to meet the charges. The hon. secretaries were Mr. J. Sladen and Mr. B. W. Milward, and they had a large and willing committee to assist them. Decorations were general, and the day will not soon fade from memory. The sports were held in the evening, commencing at six o'clock, and at nine there was a distribution of prizes by Miss Harrison, supported by the committee and clergy, from the cricket pavilion.

The following were the prize winners:-
High Jump (boys under 12). - 1. J. Everitt ; 2. A. Hurst; 3. A Bridge.
High Jump (boys over 12). - 1. H. Everitt ; 2. T. Williams ; 3. T. Martin.
Stand Jump (under 12). - 1. E. England ; 2. E. Rigley ; 3. A. Bridge.
Stand Jump (over 12). - 1. H. Knowles ; 2. I. Martin ; 3. B. Beddington.
Long Jump (under 12). - 1.A. Bridge ; 2. _ Houseley ; 3. J. Smith.
Long Jump (over 12). - 1. B. Beddington ; 2. _ Knowles ; 3. I. Martin.
Kicking football (all comers). - 1. B. Beddington ; 2. W. Statham ; 3. H. Ludlam.
100 yards flat (boys under 12). - 1. A. Eaton ; 2. T. Smith ; 3. J. Wall.
100 yards flat (over 12). - 1. B. Thompson ; 2. H. Douglas ; 3. F. Lomas.
100 yards flat (for girls). - 1. H. Fox ; 2. R. Franklin ; 3. L. Ibbetsen.
Skipping contest. - 1. M. Slater ; 2. E. Vallance ; 3. R. Barrett.
Skipping Rope Race. - 1. R. Askew ; 2. K. Beddington ; 3. M. Turner.
Three-Legged Race (boys under 12). - 1. R. Ash and John Wheeldon ; 2. F. Billings and T. Beck ; 3. J. Gregory and E. Buckley.
Three-Legged Race (over 12). - 1. A. Dakin and J. Taylor ; 2. A. Vallance and G. Hargreaves ; 3. G. Statham and
Sack Race (boys). 1. H. Smith ; T. White ; 3. J. Buckley.
Half Mile Race (boys under 12). 1. T. Smith ; 2. E. England ; 3. A Turner and J. Thompson equal.
Half Mile Race (boys over 12). 1. B. Wall ; 2. F. Steeples ; 3. H. Hand.
Egg and Spoon Race. - 1. E. Towe ; 2. H. Everitt.
Egg and Spoon Race (for girls). - 1. E. Vallance ; 2. H. Hart ; 3. E. Booth.
There were three cheers for Miss Harrison, after which the crowd dispersed, and numbers went to Masson to witness the bonfire and flight of rockets.

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 30 June, 1897

Matlock celebrated the Jubilee right royally, and the arrangements were so carefully organised that everything passed off without a single hitch. The celebration was covered entirely out of money voted from the rates, Matlock being the first town to claim this privilege under the Local Government Board order of May 21st. The proceedings commenced at one o'clock, when all the aged people over 60 had a good old English dinner in the Assembly Rooms. This was followed by a united assembly of the whole of the children of the parish, numbering about 1,400, on the Cricket Ground, where, accompanied by the Matlock United Brass Band, they sang special patriotic songs, preceded by prayer and the lessons for the day. The clergy and all the ministers took a leading part, and the only address of the day was delivered by Mr. E. Slack, J.P., chairman of the Urban District Council. After the benediction the children marched to their own schools, where they were provided with a substantial tea. This was followed at six o'clock by sports on the Cricket Ground, and concluded with a beacon fire on Masson and a flight of rockets at intervals.

Matlock Bath

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 26 June 1897

At Matlock Bath there had been a most tasteful decoration the town. The main parades had been prettily adorned, and garlands hung across the street. One effective motto was "The Record Reign", with the word "Unfinished" on the reverse side. Sheffield's motto, "60 not out", was also prominently displayed. The Masson Mills showed a pretty illumination of the tower of the sprinkler, which was enshrined with fairy lamps. The sight in the evening was most brilliant, when the illuminations were in full vogue, and Messrs. Rowland and Jaffrey deserve the commendation of all for the success they achieved.

The commencement of the day's programme was as assembly of the children and adults on the Jubilee Promenade at the wider end, near the railway station. Here quite a crowd assembled to witness the gathering of the children. These were under the care of the teachers and superintendents of the various schools. Among those present we noticed the Hon. C. W. Trollope, the vicar, the Rev. C. Baker, the Rev. F. R. Bellamy, Messrs. G. J. Rowland, J. Henstock, R. Wallace, T. Cooper, F. Land, Councillor S. Sprinthall, etc. The programme for the day commenced with the dinner to the aged people, which was held at 12.30. Messrs. J. Boden and Son supplied the meal, which was held in their restaurant, there being over 70 present. At 2.15 the children met on the Promenade, when medals were distributed, after which the National Anthem was sung, the Masson Mill Band leading. A short service was then held and Jubilee hymns sung, after which there was a procession to the Pavilion, via the New Bath Green and Clifton Road. At 4 o'clock tea tea was provided in the Pavilion for these children, who numbered 150, after which sport for prizes took place. The Masson Mill Band played selections. At 8 o'clock the Matlock Bath Military Band gave a concert in the Kiosk on the Promenade. The programme opened with the National Anthem, and the people present heartily joined in the rendering of it. At 9 o'clock the walks were illuminated with fairy lamps and Chinese and Japanese lanterns, and at half past a number of rockets were sent up from the top of Masson. A torchlight procession was then formed, which, starting from the bandstand, preceded to the south end of the Walks, and by a circuitous route back to the Jubilee Bridge. A procession was also formed on the river of illuminated boats, after which the walks and the rocks were simultaneously illuminated by coloured fires lighted at a signal from a cannon.

The only speech of the day was delivered by Mr. J. G. Rowland, the vice-chairman of the Urban District Council ... [his speech is not included here] ... The illuminations were the chief feature, and they stand without reproach from whatever has been done previously, as the prettiest and most effective ever witnessed in this locality. A number of special trains were run, and the visitors had the pleasure of remaining late in the evening to watch the unique spectacle. The scene may well be described as dazzling, and with that word all who saw the effect will agree.

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 30 June, 1897

Matlock Bath lends itself admirably to festive occasions and on Tuesday the townspeople made a special effort. Ten years ago a grand Improvement was made by the acquisition of the Jubilee Promenade, and the erection of a bridge over the Derwent to the Lovers' Walks. On Wednesday the Urban District Council of the town had the pleasure of opening the rest of the Lovers' Walks in commemoration of this year, making a mile of free rocks and walks, for visitors to appreciate. For another permanent scheme there is a committee of the town appointed, which has in hand the erection. of another bridge at the other end of the town, and 500l. is required. For the celebrations there was a sum voted by the Urban District Council out of the rates, together with a sum which had been collected. With this, the committee, of which Messrs. G. J. Rowland and W. Jaffrey were the secretaries, arranged a good programme. This commenced with a procession, headed by the Masson Mill Brass Band, to the Pavilion, where the children had tea, and sports followed. In the evening, the Military Band gave a concert on the Promenade, and the whole concluded with a grand illumination of the rocks and walks on the Lovers' Walks side of the Derwent.

Matlock Town

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 3 July 1897

As many of the inhabitants of Matlock Town were unprovided for on Jubilee day, an effort was made to include everybody in the celebration, and early in the last week a committee was formed consisting of the Rev. J. W. Kewley (president), Messrs. Thos. Boden, J. Gregory, Joseph Marsden, Anthony Walton, Wm. Robinson, Herbert Gregory, Wm. Gregory, Jas. Robinson, E. Stanley-Aulton, and Geo. Blaymire. Mr. Chas. Adams was appointed secretary, and Mr. Geo. Wherrett treasurer. Collectors were chosen and about £20 realised. A ladies committee was chosen as follows : - Miss Kewley, Mesdames Marriott, J. Gregory, Stanley-Aulton, Marsden, W. White, G. Robinson, H. Gregory, A. Walton, Wherrett, C. Adams, T. Bridge, Williams, Misses Millward, Dickens, Billings and Mabel Gregory. It was decided to provide food for everyone in the district. On Saturday afternoon the proceedings commenced with a parade, headed by the Matlock United Band, followed by the committee and inhabitants, to the Church School, where the adults, numbering about 180, were provided with an excellent meat tea. The Rev. J. W. Kewley addressed a few appropriate words to those assembled. The children, 140 in number, were regaled with tea on the Rectory lawn. A procession was formed, and visited the Pic Tor Rocks, the band leading. The children were supplied with sweets, nuts, and oranges, after which sports were indulged in. Special mention should be made of the assistance kindly rendered by the Rector and Mr. E. Stanley-Aulton. The former placed at the disposal of the committee the Rectory grounds, and the latter had sole control of the sports. The sports resulted as follows:- Throwing cricket ball, prize given by Mr. Wherrett, James Houlgate : climbing pole, prize of leg of lamb, given by Mr Jos. Marsden, John Brough : sack race, prize given by Mrs. Wall, Harry Everett : tug-of-war, prize given by Mr. Stanley-Aulton, married men won : obstacle race, 1. J. Gratton, 2. Geo. Hargraves, 3. W. Wherrett ; handicap, 200 yards, prize given by Mr. Cusworth, John Buckley.

Scarthin

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 22 May 1897

Scarthin people intend to have jubilee all to themselves. They cannot join Cromford for parochial purposes, and Matlock Bath too far off. The Vicar of Matlock Bath and Mr. H. H. Cubley are at the head of a hearty movement.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 26 June 1897

The Scarthin district held their own celebration, and held it right royally. The decorations were profuse, and everyone combined to make the event as memorable as possible. The proceedings commenced at noon on Tuesday, when all the children and adults assembled, and paraded to Scarthin Church, where an excellent address was delivered by Mr. H. H. Cubley, of Matlock Bath. Afterwards they paraded inn the various centres of the district, headed by part of the Lea Mills Brass Band. There was about £36 subscribed altogether, and this was disbursed in an exemplary manner by a large committee, composed of about forty of the principal residents. The procession started at about 1 o'clock, for service, and it covered a considerable length. They went down to Scarthin, thence to Oak Hill, and through the Market Place. The children afterwards had tea at four o'clock, and all the adults followed, the total being 400 of the former and 200 of the latter. They were catered for in the room of the Cromford Brewery, which had been splendidly decorated for the occasion. The secretary of the day was Mr. H. H. Cubley, who was also treasurer, and took a leading part, ably supported by the Executive and general Committees. The order of the procession was : Infant girls, with Jubilee medals on ; then the infant boys followed by Mr. T. Bird, and Mr. J. Mitchell, as trustees of the lodge Court Good Samaritan ; then the band ; afterwards two Scarthin men of Oddfellows ; the Foresters ; members of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, in uniform ; the Committee men having charge of the whole procession. The Committee desired especially that each and every one should be present, so as to make this the most unique festival ever held in Scarthin, and their wishes were fully realised. The procession sand special hymns en route. After tea there was an adjournment to the Cricket Ground, where all had the most enjoyable time, and the night wound up with sports, etc. The grand finale, as it may be termed, was, however, the illumination of Scarthin. This was even grander than that of ten years ago when Scarthin made a stir in the locality by the original character of its illuminations. After dark, the whole of the windows, without exception, burst into light from behind the glass, and Scarthin being on rising ground, had a most effective display as viewed from the opposite side of the Via Gellia Road, where hundreds were seen watching the illuminations. The effect was enhanced by some 500 Chinese lanterns, which were hung in the main thoroughfare of the district, and taken all in all, the Scarthin commemoration will be most memorable.

Starkholmes and Riber

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 26 June 1897

To write of what was done at the joint hamlets of Starkholmes and Riber, is to give all the flattery to one gentleman, Mr. John Fisher, who is about the same age of the Queen, and who has seen many lands. It was he who initiated the celebration and carried it to a splendid end. Dinner was provided for 240 persons, all in the locality between the ages of 16 and 60. A tent was fixed on Mr. Fisher's ground close to his residence, his lawn was used for dancing, and his house practically open for the day. The roast beef was served hot and the dinner altogether was most appetising. After it Mr. Fisher made a speech, pointing out how well they had been supported through self help. They had limited funds to meet the expenses, because they were a small community. They were, he thought, about to enjoy themselves as much as if they had been among millionaires. He went on to sketch some of the various improvements during the long and glorious reign. There were no lucifer matches when the Queen ascended the throne, no railways, no telegraphs, no steamships. In maritime improvements the strides had been marvellous. Cheap freight had come to us. He knew the time when it cost £12 a ton to carry freight from England to China, and it took a year to make a journey to that land. Now the voyage took three months, and the rate of goods was £3 a ton. Tropical produce was introduced and made it cheap for us to obtain and within the reach of everyone. He also dealt with the discoveries in chemistry, and the wonderful way we are protected against disease by sanitary arrangements. At the conclusion of the dinner the committees were thanked for their services, and Mr. Fisher was accorded an ovation. Musical honours were also given to him. A band had been engaged under Mr. J. Frost, and rendered excellent service. A feature of the varied programme was the Alpine races, the rugged hillsides lending themselves admirably to the sport. In the evening the whole of the people marched in procession to the bonfire on the top of Wilfer. The pile had been constructed by Mr. Fisher's sole direction, and there was no better engineered beacon in the land. To describe what was done would be next to impossible, suffice it to say the ingenuity with which it was compiled made the whole structure alight in less than half a minute, and sent a flame many feet in the air.. The light was applied by Miss Skinner, Miss Greenhough and Mrs. Walker jointly, through a contrivance of Mr. Fisher's. Not a particle of wood remained unconsumed, and when it is said the cost was less than 10s it is well within the mark. Mr. F. C. Arkwright and Mr. Sterndale Drabble gave a great quantity of timber. Torchlight processions along the sky-line of the hill lent a most dramatic and inspiring commemoration in this village. Nowhere was the enjoyment more heartily indulged in, the whole programme being appropriate, pleasing and inspiring.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 3 July 1897

The following account of the Starkholmes celebration has been sent for publication:
The Diamond Jubilee dinner for the aged of Starkholmes and took place Starkholmes schoolroom on Jubilee day at 1 o'clock. There was a good attendance of the aged people in this district of Matlock. Owing to infirmities many had their dinners forwarded to their homes. Ample justice was done to the good things provided by the caterer, Mr. Wm. Fox, White Lion Hotel, who spared nothing to satisfy his aged neighbours on this glorious occasion. The guests all appeared to enjoy their meeting together, and heartily responded to the toasts proposed. The Queen was proposed by Walter Kirkland, who gave a very lucid account of the time of the accession of Queen Victoria and of the reforms and advances since the coronation. "The Prince and the Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family" was proposed by Mr. W. H. Hardy, who said he had the greatest pleasure in proposing their healths as the most popular Royalty of any in Europe, and as heir to the Crown the Prince was a most suitable successor to the Queen. Under his ruling the interests of Great Britain would not in any way suffer. With the civilising influences of education, sciences, the efforts of ministers of religion, and the powerful assistance of the Army and the Navy, our trade abroad and British interests had been expanded, to the advantage of all at home. Mr. Wm. Fox, sen., proposed "The Bishop and Clergy, and Ministers of all Denominations", relying on the teaching of the clergy and the teaching of the Sunday Schools to advance the standard of morality and religion. The Rev. I. U. Chippett [sic: Rev. J. W. Chippett], of Riber, responded, and referred to the great and good work of the Church in the Diocese under the Lord Bishop of Southwell, complimenting Matlock on having such energetic and popular clergy as Mr. Kewley, Mr. Lowe, and Mr. Adams. The Nonconformists were equally fortunate in the choice of their respective ministers. The gathering before parting sang "God Save the Queen".