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Matlock Bath, 1806
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Engraving of The Old Bath Hotel, 1806
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1779



From the Temple House 1810



Cumming's Old Bath 1840


MATLOCK
Engraved by B. Howlett


The caption is "Matlock" but this is an engraving of Matlock Bath and was signed by B : Howlett S C[1].

Tourists of the time could not go overseas because of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars so guides were printed to encourage people to visit parts of the British Isles they may not have been to before as an alternative to the Grand Tour. In the preface to the book Howlett's engraving was published in the author wrote that he "hopes his work will furnish information and advice to those persons who are at a loss to know where their leisure may most agreeably be spent, or their health the most completely restored[2]" ....

In June 1799 John Leedham had taken over running the Old Bath from Robert Mason, the hotel's proprietor for many years[3], and he placed two advertisements in the local press which confirm that the Old Bath and Temple Hotels were one hotel at the time; the Temple was an annexe of the Old Bath[4]. Unfortunately, Mr. Leedham experienced then financial difficulties[5]. Although the matter was eventually sorted out he had to give up the hotel. A notice seeking a new tenant, below, was placed in the press in September 1806.


Derby Mercury 25 September 1806
MATLOCK OLD BATH, DERBYSHIRE.
To be LET for a term of years,
And entered upon at (or before) Old Lady-day next.
THAT well known large commodious and much frequented House called MATLOCK OLD BATH, with the Offices, Baths, Stables, Coach-houses, Lands, tenements and hereditaments thereto belonging, (on which upwards of £3000 have been lately laid out in Improvements and Conveniences) lately in the possession of Mr. Leedham.
Also that well known commodious House called the Temple, standing at a convenient distance from the said Bath House, together with the stables, Coach-houses, large Gardens, and Pleasure Grounds thereto belonging, late also in the possession of Mr. Leedham.
The valuable Good and Furniture of both the said Houses, may be had at a fair Appraisement.
For further Particulars, and to treat for both, or either, of the said houses, apply to ANTHONY LAX MAYNARD, esq Chesterfield, Derbyshire; and Mr. Froggatt at the Bath, will shew the premises.
18 September, 1806.


The image at the top of the page dates from shortly before Joseph Notzel Cumming, who was brought up in Buxton in his later childhood[6], and his wife Mary began running the Old Bath Hotel. An advertisement that Mr. Cumming placed in the press not long after he moved in, announcing his arrival in Matlock Bath, is below.


Derby Mercury 12 February 1807
OLD BATH, MATLOCK.
J. CUMMING
HAVING taken the Old Bath for a Term of Years, most respectfully solicits the patronage and support of the Nobility and Public in general, and assures them that nothing in his power shall be wanting to make it in every respect as comfortable as any house of the kind in the Kingdom.
Independent of the Natural Baths at present in the House, it is intended immediately to erect one which may be heated to any temperature. There will be regular Assemblies for the accommodation of the Company in the house, and the families resident in the Neighbourhood.


Shortly afterwards John Leedham made his farewells to the Old Bath, having transferred to the Great Hotel. The only part of that building that is still a hotel in Hodgkinson's Hotel.


York Herald, 7 March 1807
HOTEL, MATLOCK BATH.
JOHN LEEDHAM,
(Late of the Old Bath, Matlock,) BEGS Leave to return his sincere Thanks to the Public, for the many Favours conferred on him during the Time he resided at the Old Bath, and now takes the liberty of informing you that he has taken the HOTEL for a Term of Years, which he intends to open on or before the Fifth Day of April next ; and he solicits and hopes for the Patronage and Support of his Friends and the Public, who my rely upon finding the Hotel in every respect a comfortable House. - Several additional Parlours have been made ; three of them are on the Chamber Story.
*** The BATH belonging to the Hotel is very large and commodious, and the Stables and Coach-Houses are very complete.
Matlock Bath, Feb 10., 1807.


On 15 Jan 1808 a ticketed sale was held at the Old Bath. Oak, Ash, Elm, Maple and Alder trees were to be sold, together with 30 smaller trees of the same type, together with their Tops. They were from the Wood and other parts of the Old Bath's land[7].

A few years later David Peter Davies described the scene shown above:
"Following the lower road, which leads to the Old Bath, another house of public reception, a new and most pleasing point of view is reached. Here the river recedes in a curve from the road, forming a little meadow as a foreground to the picture. This is firmly opposed and backed, by a line of rock and wood, a mass of trees to the right, and shutting out, for a short time, all other features of the scenery[8]".

Joseph Cumming passed away in 1820 but his family remained at the Old Bath and their involvement with the hotel did not end until the sale of the residue of the contents in early January 1843 when one of the lots was a "handsome carpet purchased purposely for the drawing room when the Queen Dowager visited Matlock"[9]. This was Queen Adelaide, who was here in 1840.




Enlargement to show how big the Old Bath was.
The oval stone commemorating the Old Bath's rebuilding by Smith & Pennell can be seen at roof level.
Of note are the two women on Fishpond Hill and the small building to their right.
This must be part of The Old Bath Tap, later The Fishpond Hotel.

 


Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements has several references to the Old Bath.
Lists Through the Centuries : The Nineteenth Century: Arrivals at Matlock Bath, 1820-1850 provides examples of who visited the village. Many of the more wealthy visitors stayed at the hotel.
Pre 1858 Wills & Administrations in various UK archives, Surnames C

 

Howlett's Engraving (Plate 28, Page 267[2]) in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured hyperlinks are to information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Bartholomew Howlett (1767-1827) was a draughtsman and landscape engraver. He was baptized at Gainsborough on 5 July 1767 (IGI). There is more information about him in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

[2] "A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places; with a Description of the Lakes ..." (1806), by the Editor of The Picture of London, London : Printed for Richard Phillips, 6, Bridge-street, Blackfriars, and to be had of the Booksellers at all the Watering and Sea-bathing Places ; W. Lewis, Printer, Paternoster Row booksellers.

[3] Robert Mason was buried at St. Giles in August 1810. See the parish register transcript (scroll down) and information about his Will which was proved the following year.

[4] "The Derby Mercury", 4 July 1799 and "The Derby Mercury", 5 June 1800. See next page.

[5] See Matlock & Matlock Bath Names in the London Gazette, 1801-10 between 1806-10 and 1811

[6] See Cumming biographies.

[7] "Derby Mercury", 7 January 1808.

[8] Davies, David Peter (1811) "History of Derbyshire" pub. S. Mason, Belper, p.467.
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811 is based on this book and is a searchable alphabetical listing on site. There are descriptions of parishes in the county, including Matlock and Matlock Bath.

[9] "Derby Mercury", 28 December 1842. Mr. Brearey's notice for the sale which would take place between 9th and 14th Jan 1843.