An engraving by C. Bailey, one of several in the "Ladies
Manual", which dates from after 1871. The building on the
right was the original hydro building of 1851,
bought by John Smedley in 1853.
Black's Guide of 1864 recorded that: "At Matlock Bank,
a rapidly increasing locality, is Mr. Smedley's hydropathic establishment,
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 being enlarged".
A Leicestershire newspaper was to comment in 1874 that Smedleys
rather resembled a barracks, though othing was said about the treatments
the patients were receiving.
In 1875 it was announced that "THIS ESTABLISHMENT ia passing
into the hands of a Company, and will be carried on in all essentials
as it has been in the past ... many improvements have been and
are in the course of being carried out, and will include a commodious
TURKISH BATH and Electric Bells throughout the whole building".
The Chairman of the Hydropathic Company noted at the annual meeting
in 1877 that the Turkish Bath had been in use for nine months and
the visitors approved if it "on account of its unique ventilation
arrangements and capacious apartments".
As the hydro expanded from its modest beginnings more and more
small parcels of land had been bought from the its neighbours.
The engraving shows us the hydro before any of the major works
that were undertaken from the 1880s until 1894 to transform the
hydro into the much more recognisable building that exists today.
Read the next stage in the hydro's
history, Smedley's Hydropathic Institution, 1890s