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Stereoview of Matlock Bath and Holme Road, 1870s
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Stereoview of early building development on Holme Road
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Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham, 1890s

Clarence Hydro

Holme Road area, 1910-1920

County & Station Hotel, 1900-1939

Dale Road & The Heights of Abraham, about 1948

This stereoview shows us the earliest development on either side of the relatively newly built Holme Road, on the hillside below the Heights of Abraham. All these buildings appear on the 1880 Ordnance Survey map but they had been built some years before then.

Holme Road was built by Thomas Wakley (1795-1862) in 1861, over a parcel of land he then owned called "The Upper Holme"; it resulted in the closure of the Key Pasture Road bridleway and footpath as the new road replaced the old route[1]. Wakley's estate, which included the Heights of Abraham, was "bounded for a considerable distance by the river Derwent and is intersected by the turnpike-road leading from Cromford to Bakewell"[2]. Wakley, who was the founding editor of the famous medical journal The Lancet and was based in London, does not appear to have ever lived in Matlock Bath but he left his mark on the village.

The Clarence, its bath houses and Hope Terrace (behind the bath houses) form a group of new builds that are centre right on the images. The Clarence first opened for business as a hydropathic establishment in 1871 and had several proprietors before 1881[3]. A court case from 1876 involved Aaron Ridgard who claimed to have been living at one of the Hope Terrace houses in 1870[4]. Holme Bank, higher up Holme Road than the Clarence and close to the Lower Towers, was offered for sale in 1872[5]. Green Bank, on the opposite side of Holme Road, had also been built. This all points to the stereoview having been taken in the 1870s.

Of the more established buildings slightly higher up the hill, the Round House is a tiny dark spot above Green Bank and just to the right, peeping between the trees, is the Lower Towers. A little further along Masson Road, going right from Holme Bank, is a tiny white spot, the sign at the entrance to the Heights of Abraham.

The bridge in the foreground spans the River Derwent and to the left of it is the Midland Hotel, where a cab waiting to pick up passengers. This was the favourite spot as several images of Matlock Bath show cabs waiting here. On the far side of the river we can see the gap between the buildings where Holme Road goes up the hill; to the left is North Parade and to the right is Dale Road. Interestingly, the façades of the two buildings on either side of the Holme Road junction were to change slightly before the turn of the century to incorporate bay windows. Two bays were added to Cavendish House at first floor level. Bays were also added to the front of the County and Station Hotel, on either side of the door. They extended over two floors and had (and still have) castellated tops. The portico over the front door was also a later addition to the building.

Enlargement of the left hand side of the stereoview

Stereoview and enlargement of the LHS in the collection of and provided by and © George Pek.
Written, 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 Derby Mercury, 17 July 1861. Advertisement giving advance notice of the closure of the Key Pasture Road bridleway and footpath and diverting the route to the new road: "commencing at or near a lodge or dwelling house, in the occupation of William Smith, to the Nottingham and Newhaven Turnpike Road near the Parsonage House in the occupation of the Rev John Morris Maynard, and for and diverting the same road into over and along a new Road or Way, made and constructed by Thomas Wakley, over a close or parcel of land, called "The Upper Holme," in Matlock aforesaid, the property of the said Thomas Wakley, such new Road or Way commencing at or near to the said Nottingham and Newhaven Turnpike Road, opposite, or nearly opposite the bridge over the Derwent leading to the Matlock Bath Railway Station and the Certificate of two Justices, having viewed the same, &c., with the plan of the Old and Proposed New Highway, will be lodged with the Clerk of the Peace for the said County on the Twenty-second day of August next. John Else, Surveyor of the parish of Matlock".

[2] The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, April 22, 1863. Newbold and Oliver auctioned Wakley's estate in Matlock Bath.

[3] Joseph Robert was the first proprietor (Derbyshire Times, 27 May 1871). It was advertised again in 1874, complete with croquet lawn, by a Mr. T. Allen. Mr. William Cartledge of the Clarence House Hydropathic Establishment, Matlock, applied for a licence to sell beer to residents on the premises or within the grounds in 1875.

[4] The court case involving Aaron Ridgard of Hope-terrace who claimed he had lived there since 1970 when his home was owned by Mr. Smedley. The date is not accurate as in the 1871 census Ridgard was living on Willersley Lane. See census entry transcript. The family later ran Rose Cottage on the Dimple (1891 census) before returning to Hope Terrace (1901 census).

[5] The Derby Mercury, 1 May 1872. One of several advertisements.