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Matlock Bath: The Pavilion on the Hillside, mid 1880s
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The Royal Pavilion
- the Palais Royal



Holy Trinity Church, 1905



The Royal Hotel



From the Heights of Abraham, 1866-78



New Bath Hotel (6)
(Clifton Road)



Three reasons suggest that this view dates from the mid 1880's. Firstly, the The Pavilion on the hillside above the Royal Hotel was newly built; secondly, there was very little landscaping both around the pavilion itself and beside the Pavilion's long carriage drive; thirdly, the cluster of properties we can see at the top of Clifton Road in the centre of the picture show us that at this time not all the road's Victorian houses had been built. Barton Villa, for example, is not shown but was occupied by 1888[1]. The Royal Hotel, bottom right, had eventually opened in 1878[2]. It had fairly extensive grounds, with a large cultivated area behind the church which was where much of the hotel's fruit and vegetables would have been grown.

In 1882 a lengthy article about Matlock Bath was published in a Nottingham newspaper. "There seems to have been a regrettable stagnation of local enterprise [in Matlock Bath], and it has not been an unfrequent thing to hear the remark, 'Oh, Matlock Bath has gone down'. We should not be doing our duty in this article if we did not hasten to say that things now show a decided tendency to "go up" and... the resort will not very long have to bear the reproach of being at a standstill"[3]. The article was referring to the length of time it had taken to complete the Royal Hotel building, and the resultant slump in trade[4].

A report in the same paper a few day's before had given details of an "undertaking which promises to put Matlock Bath much better footing than it has hitherto been for some years past. There is now a stimulus to be given to local public life, and not before it was needed. Matlock Bath has entered the arena to compete with other places of like character. ... In "a short space of time the new Matlock Bath pavilion and pleasure grounds will be an accomplished fact. There can be little doubt that this new enterprise will mark the era of a new state of things in this lovely dale. ... When completed it cannot fail to be a constant source of attraction, and pleasure seekers will no doubt begin to go there in large numbers ..."[3]

By early 1883 most of the preliminary work on the site had been finished or was being concluded. Workmen were excavating the hillside to construct the pavilion and the pleasure grounds were being laid out. Roads leading from both Temple Road and from Clifton Road were approaching completion[5]. The Pavilion, later known as the Royal Pavilion or Palais Royal, opened the following year.

In 1891 William Jordan, the Local Board's Surveyor, invited Tenders for levelling, paving, metalling and flagging and channelling Clifton Road[6], though none of the first four submitted tenders were accepted[7]. Some displeasure was voiced at a subsequent Local Board meeting, when it was stated that the owners of properties on Clifton Road had ignored notices "to put that thoroughfare into a proper state of repair" before it was taken over by the Board[8]. This had been resolved by 1893 when Mr. Lennox, who was the Chairman of the outgoing Local Board, said that £274 had been spent on Clifton Road[9.

The church is discussed elsewhere.


Read a poem about the first sod being laid at the Royal Pavilion on Matlock and Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets


"Matlock Bath. Church & Pavilion". Frith's Series, F. Frith & Co. Ltd, Reigate. Posted on 30 Aug 1905 at Matlock Bridge.
From the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 15 September 1888. There is a reference to a Mr. W. Kidd living at Barton Villa, indicating that the house had been built by then. However, Kelly's 1887 Directory mentions neither Mr. Kidd nor the property. An advertisement in the "Derbyshire Times" of 12 April 1890 announced the sale of Mrs. Kidd's furniture and effects.

[2] See: Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel.

[3] "Nottingham Journal", 26 July 1882. At Matlock Bath.

[4] See:Matlock Bath, from the Heights of Abraham, 1866-78.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 10 February 1883.

[6] "ibid.", 20 May 1891.

[7] "ibid.", 6 June 1891.

[8] "ibid.", 20 June 1891. Matlock Bath Local Board. An adjourned meeting was held, with Mr. Lennox in the chair.

[9] "Sheffield Independent", 6 April 1893.