Black's Guide of 1888 describes
Matlock and its hydropathic establishments, of which Matlock
House was one. The address was given as "Matlock
Bridge", but Matlock House was high up on the Bank,
above Smedley's. Whilst the description of the view from
the Bank in the quotation below was mostly about Smedley's,
most of the Bank's Hydros enjoyed the same extensive views.
"At MATLOCK BANK, a rapidly-increasing locality,
there are several large and excellently conducted hydropathic
and other establishments. Among these SMEDLEY'S, the
first founded, is one of the largest and best conducted
establishments of its kind in the kingdom. It is capable
of accommodating some hundreds of patients, and no greater
proof of its excellence can be adduced than to say it
is always full, and constantly being enlarged. This establishment
has passed into the hands or a company, the Matlock Bank
Hydropathic Company (Limited), and is under the care
of Dr. Hunter. The view from Matlock Bank is truly charming.
In the distance is Masson, at the foot or which runs
the river Derwent, crossed by the bridge which gives
the name to the railway station beyond. To the right
the eye traverses the country towards Darley Dale, and
to the left the High Tor, Matlock Dale, Matlock Church,
and Riber, skirt the view. A large Congregational chapel
of Gothic design, with tower and spire, has been erected
at Matlock Bank, as has also a spacious chapel, also
with tower and spire, belonging to Smedley's establishment
; there is also a Mission House at Matlock Bank.
Other HYDROPATHIC ESTABLISHMENTS are Matlock House;
Rock Side House; Jackson House; Tor House ; Prospect
and more than a dozen others. Good private lodgings may
also be obtained. The air is more bracing than at Matlock
A trade directory from about the same time describes Matlock
House and other hydropathic establishments on the Bank
as follows:- "Matlock House, a fine stone building,
Rockside House, Jackson House, and Prospect House, are
hydropathic establishments of the first class; there are
several smaller ones, the whole of which are delightfully
situated and are well conducted".
Matlock House was originally called Manchester House and
opened on the Bank in 1863. Samuel Frost was its first
A sale notice in 1866 claimed that the situation of this
newly built establishment was unrivalled. It had 54 bedrooms,
numerous bathrooms, a large drawing room and a dining room
that was 80 feet long. There was a gymnasium, croquet was
available and there were grounds for the visitors to walk
a hydro was not always easy and two nineteenth century
Manchester/Matlock House proprietors encountered financial
problems. The first
was Edwin Wilcock whose bankruptcy, recorded
in the "London Gazette" in
in the sale. In 1881 Frederick William Hayes
was in the same situation and
not long afterwards, in the census of that year, he was
living in Chiswick and working as an artist.
Following the 1866 sale the hydro changed its name and
became Matlock House. Both Matlock House and Rockside Hydropathic
establishments were run by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rowland
Their physician was Dr. Josiah Cash.
In 1874 an article in the ""Leicester Chronicle" compared
Matlock House with the nearby Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment.
The Rowlands' hydro was described as "less imposing
from mere size, but more symmetrical and externally inviting".
The article said nothing about the treatment on offer,
but the journalist did think that Smedleys rather resembled
The Rowlands gave up Matlock House in 1876 ; by 1878 Miss
Cobb had become the lady matron and Dr. Murray, who succeeded
Dr. Cash, was the resident physician.
Edmund Dobson, from Ilkley, was the hydropathist in 1881;
he and his family subsequently returned to Yorkshire and
he became a Knitting Yarn Spinner in Shipley. The advertisement
at the top of the page shows a Mr. James running the hydro
in 1888. He was, rather curiously, called James James.
Enlargement of the image of Matlock House
Hydro on the advertisement
More on site information about this hydro and Water Cures
House & Rockside, 1869 (advert in Bemroses' Guide)
Matlock, and Mr. Rowland - The Rowlands, builders
of Rockside, held the lease for Matlock House at one
(coloured links are to transcripts or more information
elsewhere on this web site):
 "Black's Tourist Guide
to Derbyshire" (1888), pub. Adam and Charles
 Kelly, E. R. (ed) (1887), "Kelly's
Directory of the Derbyshire", London, Kelly & Co.
 See Mr. Frost's entry in Kelly's
Directory 1864. Also the
1861 census | the
 "Derby Mercury",
27 June 1866. Sale of the freehold property, Manchester
House, plus the furniture and fixtures, at the New Bath
Hotel by Newbold and Oliver.
 Matlock & Matlock
Bath Names in the London Gazette, 1866 (2 entries)
 Matlock & Matlock
Bath Names in the London Gazette, 1881. Hayes was 32
in 1881. Also see Strays,
Surname H which lists his daughter. He and his daughter
had rejoined their family in Matlock by the
 "Aris's Birmingham
Gazette", 29 June 1867. According to the "Leeds
Mercury" of 6 May 1869 he had taken the lease
for a [further] period of seven years.
 Josiah Cash was living with
Dr. Adams at Matlock Bridge
in 1861 and was still in Matlock Bridge in the 1871
census. Hall's "Days
in Derbyshire", 1863 shows him with his own
establishment. Josiah died in Matlock on 19 October 1877
and was buried at St. Giles' on 23 October. His widow then
moved to Buxton (see Strays,
 "Leicester Chronicle",
1 August 1874.
 "Derbyshire Times and
Chesterfield Herald", 9 February 1878.
 The Dobson family were living
on "Matlock Bank" in
the 1881 census, but Kelly's Directory, 1881 shows they
were actually resident at Matlock House.