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Matlock Bath in the 1890s
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from the Temple Hotel



Matlock Bath from the Heights of Jacob, 1908



From the Heights of Jacob, 1908-14



This card was posted in 1914 and may well have been published just before then. However, this exceptionally good photograph is Victorian and was taken from outside the Temple Hotel between 1887 and 1895.

Below the photographer on the left of the image is the zigzag of Waterloo Road, with Waterloo Square close to the edge of the picture. The Round House is top left. Holme Road goes down the hill from there and Green Bank and Clarence Terrace can be seen, with the Clarence just visible above Green Bank.

What provides a date for the image is the very large warehouse looking building just below Clarence Terrace.

This was Albert Heights, a kind of Victorian fitness and social centre with a skating rink[1].

The Matlock Bath Skating Rink Company Limited was formed in 1876 and the rink was scheduled to open in June. They were given exclusive use of the patented Primpton roller skate[2] and the enterprise was initially very successful, as by mid June over 8,000 people had used the rink[3]. By 1882 it was advertised as as the only place in Matlock [Bath] where parties could enjoy themselves under cover in wet weather. It was described as a grand coffee palace, with temperance dining rooms, new gardens and a skating rink. Visitors were directed to go over the station bridge and about 50 yards up the hill opposite[4].

Frederick Edwin Leggoe was the rink's proprietor by this time[5] but in 1891 William B Hunt was running it[5], although he was not listed in Matlock Bath. Leggoe played an active part in village life and was on the Local Board[7]. He seems to have a varied career with interesting range of occupations, ranging from greengrocer, to accountant and Salvation Army Officer with iron and steel manager thrown in for good measure[8].

Albert Heights was demolished to make way for Rockvale Villas and Rockvale Terrace, which were built just before the end of the nineteenth century.

Of note is the horse drawn vehicle. The driver is seated quite high up and the horses are pulling either a wooden caravan or a covered waggon similar to a caravan as it has a semi-cylindrical top.


In the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Information researched by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.
References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] The skating rink was mentioned in London Gazette of 13 Feb 1877.

[2] "Derbyshire Courier", 20 May 1876. The Matlock Bath Skating Rink Company Limited.

[3] "Derbyshire Courier", 17 June 1876.

[4] "Derbyshire Courier", 8 July 1882, "Derbyshire Times", 22 July 1882 and other local newspapers.

[5] Mr. Leggoe and his family were still in Sheffield in 1881; he was an Iron and Steel merchant. He was still in Matlock Bath in 1887 as he is listed in "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1887, p.238. He was also given as a greengrocer at the time.

[6] "Kelly's Directory 1891" shows William B Hunt there

[7] Mr. Leggoe was also a member of the Local Board - see Kelly's Directory 1891, Officials

[8] Frederick Edwin Leggoe, who was born in Sheffield in 1843 and living there in 1881, was an Iron and Steel Merchant. He was shown as an accountant in various newspaper and bankruptcy reports. His two children were living on North Parade at the time of the 1891 census and FEL advertised as running the Promenade Restaurant and as a Cab Proprietor in Kelly's Directory 1891. There is a WW2 photograph of the Café. FEL and his second wife Sarah are buried at St. Giles - he died 1916. His first wife, Mary Sarah, died in 1883 In 1901 he was living with his wife Sarah (née Barker, born in Wirksworth) in Hackney and he working as a Salvation Army Officer. He returned to Matlock Bath, as shown by Kelly's 1908 Directory and Kelly's 1916 Directory