Images Index> 18th & 19th Century Images> This page
Matlock House Hydropathic Establishment Advertisement, 1888
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century : Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Matlock House Hydropathic Establishment
From Black's Guide to Derbyshire (1888)
Image © Ann Andrews
18th & 19th C Images
Next Image
Previous Image
More Matlock Bath Pictures
20th & 21stC
"Just" Images
Matlock Bath
18th and 19th Century Tourist Guides
Transcripts & Illustrations
General Info
About Matlock Bath
Find a Name

Matlock House Hydro,
Early Twentieth Century

Matlock Modern School prospectus, 1932


Matlock Modern School
March 1935
& 1934 advert

Black's Guide of 1888[1] 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 Place, and more than a dozen others. Good private lodgings may also be obtained. The air is more bracing than at Matlock Bath"[1] .

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"[2].

Matlock House was originally called Manchester House and opened on the Bank in 1863. Samuel Frost was its first proprietor[3]. 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 in[4]. Running 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 1866[5], resulted in the sale. In 1881 Frederick William Hayes was in the same situation[6] 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 in 1867[7]. Their physician was Dr. Josiah Cash[8]. 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"[9]. The article said nothing about the treatment on offer, but the journalist did think that Smedleys rather resembled a barracks.

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[10]. Edmund Dobson, from Ilkley, was the hydropathist in 1881[11]; 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

Matlock House & Rockside Hydro advertisement, 1869, in Bemroses' Guide
Matlock: Cavendish Road, Claremont and Mr. Rowland - The Rowlands, builders of Rockside, held the lease for Matlock House at one time
Water Cures
Read a poem about the pleasure, or otherwise, of a treatment at Matlock House circa 1881 on Matlock and Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets

Both images of Matlock House from : "Black's Guide to Derbyshire" (1888), A & C Black, Edinburgh.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Image in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] "Black's Tourist Guide to Derbyshire" (1888), pub. Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh.

[2] Kelly, E. R. (ed) (1887), "Kelly's Directory of the Derbyshire", London, Kelly & Co. :

[3] See Mr. Frost's entry in Kelly's Directory 1864. Also the 1861 census | the 1871 census.

[4] "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.:

[5] Names in the London Gazette, 1866 (2 entries) and Names in the London Gazette,1868.

[6] 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 1901 census.:

[7] "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.:

[8] 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, Surnames C):

[9] "Leicester Chronicle", 1 August 1874.:

[10] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 9 February 1878.

[11] 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.