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River Derwent & the Devonshire Hotel, Matlock Bath
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Devonshire Hotel & North Parade, 1870s - CDV

1906 painting


View from River Derwent

Jubilee Bridge

The Parade, 1902-05

The Promenade

The Derwent at Matlock Bath, 1950
(has advert and more about the last tenants)

These delightful riverside views, one coloured and the other sepia, were taken from Jubilee Bridge, looking south. On the right is North Parade, running parallel to the river. Just above can be seen the Temple Hotel. Further along and one row back from the river, slightly to the right of the centre of the picture, is South Parade and the row of two and three storey houses visible above the Parade are on Temple Walk.

The buildings that are so beautifully reflected in the waters of the River Derwent have long gone; they were demolished for road widening as the A6 road, which passes through the village, was particularly narrow at that point. Several of these riverbank properties had balconies overhanging the water, somewhat reminiscent of Venice. The river views were something that made Matlock Bath so charming to its visitors of the day.

The furthest building away from the camera on the riverside row, and in the centre of the picture, was the Devonshire Hotel which used to be almost opposite Hodgkinson's Hotel. It had been built some time before 1831[1], and its first proprietor was one of the sons of William Smedley, the man who had opened Matlock Bath's oldest cavern.

When the picture for these images was taken Samuel Robinson (1837-1918) was the licensee, but he retired in 1900 and Frances Sarah Lake transferred from the Royal Hotel to become the proprietress[2]. William Thomas Hill had taken over the 15 roomed hotel by 1908[3] and was still there in 1911; ten years earlier he had been a brewery clerk. Miss Alice Ann Hill was in charge in 1912, but departed the following year[4]. Emma Sharman became licensee just before World War One, although she did not live on the premises and the hotel was managed by her son William Edward Sharman. In early 1914 he was charged with keeping the premises open during prohibited hours and Albert Ernest Swann of Matlock was charged with being there at that time. He claimed he was staying the night, as he knew Mr. Winder, who was a guest at the hotel and the case was eventually dismissed as independent witnesses stated that they had heard Swann being invited to stay the night[5].

William Freckleton had succeeded Emma by 1916[6], but during a heat wave in the summer of 1926 he had had a close call when he fell headlong into the River Derwent when a fence collapsed; he was unconscious when he was rescued so was taken to Whitworth Hospital, where he was found to have sustained severe injuries[7]. He remained there for four days but in the interim his wife decided it was too good an opportunity to miss so she had packed up, took their daughter with her and stored a number of items at the home of the le Blanc Smiths. Drama beside the Derwent![8]

Albert Edward Potter seems to have been the last proprietor of the licensed hotel listed in a directory (Kelly's Directory, 1928). In early 1931 the Devonshire Hotel, then tenanted by George Arthur Hutchinson, had its licence revoked by the Matlock Brewster sessions and the bench referred the Devonshire Hotel's licence to the compensation authority[9]. Things then became rather complicated as no agreement was accepted although £1,498 was the sum suggested by the compensation authority and the matter was then referred to the Inland Revenue Commissioners[10]. Later in the year Offiler's Brewery of Derby sued Mr. Hutchinson for "rent and Mesne profits" which Hutchinson counter claimed; his solicitor described the agreement that existed between him and Offiler's as "the most oppressive and inequitable agreement I have ever seen"[11]. Agreement was finally reached in November[12].

From then on the Devonshire Hotel was known as the Devonshire Café and was the home of Charles and Mary D Parker.

This albumen photograph of the river is of the same scene.
Such photos were always of exceptionally good quality, and Valentine's image does not disappoint.
The two storey building on the far right, where for many years the Barnes family had a draper's shop, dates from 1861.
Curiously, when the coloured postcard was produced from the image several people were eliminated from the scene. For example,
on the right on this version we can see a woman with a parasol and a small boy is next to her on the Promenade. They both have
their backs to the river. Further along, standing on one of the balconies over the river, is an older man and an even younger boy.
The man seems to be holding a fishing rod. The last person is at the far end of the row, where there is an open sided area for
dining at the Devonshire Hotel. A woman is standing in the rooftop garden at first floor level and could even be wringing out a cloth.
They are there, but are hard to see on this size of the image.

There is more on site information:
The Devonshire Hotel & North Parade, 1870s recounts the earlier history of the hotel.
See Hadfield Cubley's card of this scene. It is in the "Just images" section of the site.

1. "On the Derwent, Matlock Bath". Postcard from Valentine's "Colourtone" Series - number 13215. Not posted but the image was registered in 1890. My card has a divided back so I have assumed in was printed between 1900 and 1905.
2. "On the Derwent, Matlock Bath". A sepia albumen photo published by J. V. [Valentine], No.13215. Published in 1890, on a card mount with images on both sides. Whilst 1893 was handwritten below the image, this is not correct. It replaces "Parade and River Derwent", Valentine's No.13215, one of a series of miniview photographs, originally in a card folder.
Both images provided by and © Ann Andrews collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to onsite transcripts or images):

[1] See Pigot's Directory, 1831. Scroll down to Taverns & Public Houses. Thomas Smedley was then the landlord. It is not mentioned in the 1828/9 version of Pigot's but was still there in 1835 (see Matlock Taverns & Pubs Listed in Early Directories). He died in 1839 - see Devonshire Hotel & North Parade, 1870s - CDV.

[2] Miss Lake married Matthew Dale of Bakewell at Holy Trinity in 1907 ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 May 1907). Her husband had served years 32 years on Bakewell Board of Guardians. He unfortunately became very ill and passed away not long afterwards. She then moved to Wellington Street (1911 census) and later lived at "Woodhey," Henry Avenue, Matlock. She passed away at Whitworth Hospital ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 12 March 1934 and Probate Records).

[3] See Kelly's Directory 1908. The 1911 census shows that he was a married man, originally from Birkenhead.

[4] See Kelly's Directory 1912. Her licence ended in at the Petty Sessions in 1913 (Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 10 May 1913).

[5] "Belper News", 6 February 1914. Contractor's visit to Matlock Bath Hotel. The defence was that Swann was a Mr. Winder's guest, but he had to prove it. Mrs. Sharman was described as being in indifferent health by her son and had to be away a great deal. Whilst the Chairman of the magistrates were of the opinion that the police had done their duty, they believed Mr. Swann was a guest at the hotel.

[6] See Kelly's 1916 Directory. He also advertised in Kelly's 1922 Directory and Kelly's 1925 Directory. William Freckleton died at Whitworth on 25 July 1942 ("Derbyshire Times", 31 July 1942). His obituary stated that he had kept the Devonshire Hotel for 12 years.

[7] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 15 July 1926 was just one of the newspapers to report the incident. There were a number of deaths from heatstroke at the time, so in some respects Mr. Freckleton was lucky.

[8] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 1 May 1928. Bitter dispute between Matlock Bath couple. The court gave judgment for the plaintiff (Mr. Freckleton).

[9] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 11 March 1931. Hotel licenses at Matlock Bath (the Matlock adjourned Brewster Sessions).

[10] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 29 March 1932.

[11] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 13 September 1932.

[12] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 1 November 1932. Announcement at Leicester County Court.