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Matlock Bath, from the Heights of Abraham, 1866-78
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An early photograph of the southern part of Matlock Bath, taken from the Heights of Abraham. They eye is almost immediately struck by the crisscross of paths from the obelisk and the main road down to the Ferry House by the river. The riverside area had not been developed into Derwent Gardens, which places this image firmly in the nineteenth century.

The major building that is missing, however, is the Old Pavilion on the hillside above the Royal Hotel. It was to be built and opened in 1884. The Old Bath Hotel was replaced by the Royal Hotel and although construction began in 1866 the hotel was not completed until 1878[1]. I believe this picture was taken between the two dates. The hotel's grounds have not been fully landscaped and the driveway and grounds show no sign of life!

There was little development on Clifton Road, too; the only property seems to have been Clifton House. The land where Portland House, initially called Wint House, was to be built was still a field.

In the woodland, looking to the right of the Royal Hotel, are a small group of houses. These are also shown on the 1848 tithe map[2]. At the top of the hill, where the land flattens, are some of the properties in Upper Wood; next to them is a field that was known as Gent Close[2], but in the twentieth century it became both the sports field for Matlock Bath School and Matlock Bath's Cricket Club's ground.

More views from the Heights of Abraham:

Mid 19th century

From the Heights,

From the Heights,
about 1914

Cat Tor, 1913

Modern times

Original photograph in the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Image scanned for this website and information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] The Royal Hotel discusses the reasons for the delay in opening the hotel. Compare.

[2] See the 1848 Tithe Map, Derbyshire Record Office.