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Matlock Bank, 1911 - 1914
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Matlock Bridge, late 1880's

General View, 1911-14

Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

The two cards featured here (images one and three) date from between 1911 and 1914. There were considerably more properties on the Bank than in the first decade of the twentieth century. Edge Road, for example, had almost doubled in size and so had Lime Grove Walk. The top picture was taken by Charles Colledge in 1911. The United Methodist Church on Imperial Road was being constructed at the time of the 1911 census[1] and it was completed later in the year. The Sunday School next to the church was built a short time later (see small image at the bottom of the page).

The terrace of six houses on Edge Road in the centre of the above photograph was built against the hillside, so fronting the street the houses are two storeys whereas at the back they are three storeys - the view we can see here. Of the occupied houses, Edward Barratt, an insurance clerk, lived at Mayfield with his family and at Fernlea next door was George Challand Pearson with his wife and son. Mr. Pearson was a tailor. Two more new builds were on the other side of the road, opposite what is today Edgefold Road. In the top image we can see the shell of 14 Edge Road, which was without a roof. If we look closely at the second postcard below we discover a second property, similar in style though not identical, had been built next door and we know this is Edgemount or 16 Edge Road.

Detail from top postcard. It shows a newly built terrace of houses on Edge Road, some of which don't
appear to be occupied. Another house, now 14 Edge Road (was this Hillcrest?), was being erected
and a digger on the far left seems to be laying foundations for another property.

Matlock was beginning to experience problems with motor vehicles on both Bank Road and in Crown Square, with a number of accidents reported in the local press. For example, in 1910 a motor engineer from Matlock Bath, Guy Le Blanc Smith, was charged at the Matlock Petty Sessions with dangerous driving as a result of an incident at the Smedley Street junction with Rutland Street. One of the witnesses was Ernest Smith, a tram driver from Industrial Road, who was driving Tram Car One and had stopped at Rutland Road when he saw the car driven by Le Blanc Smith approaching. The tram cars travelled at 6 miles per. hour and Mr. Smith believed the car was five times faster than his tram although, in all fairness, he could not have had long to assess the speed. He added that the car had to swerve round the tram on the off side as there was no room to get past College's shop on the corner. Mr. Le Blanc Smith did not sound a hooter and, unfortunately, he killed a dog that ran out of Hand's garage into the car. The Red Flag Act had been repealed just over a decade before. Before then a man carrying a red flag had to walk in front of motor cars, so the cars travelled at walking speed (i.e. no more than 4 miles per. hour). In the Le Blanc Smith case the bench concluded that driving a car uphill at 12 to 14 miles an hour, Le Blanc Smith's own assessment of his speed as he approached the Smedley Street / Bank Road junction, was dangerous and he was fined. "The hill has a gradient of one in seven, and it would take a very powerful car to get up it at such a speed"[2].

At a Matlock UDC meeting in 1911 Mr. Richards stated that a good deal of motor-bike racing was taking place on Bank Road on Sunday afternoons. The motor cyclists congregated in Crown Square and then rode their bikes up and down the hill for a couple of hours. The smoke and dust they created was considered a great nuisance. In addition, similar racing had happened on Steep Turnpike on three Sundays that summer. The Council decided to seek advice from Police Superintendent Clarke. At the same meeting the Council received a letter from the Matlock photographer Frederick Barber who lived on New Street complaining that the tram had recently carried him past his house, where he wanted to alight, as a wheelbarrow was blocking the way. The conductor was chastised and the Council promised that they did not think such an annoyance would happen again[3].

Matlock Bank and Matlock Bridge

This "General View" of Matlock Bank and part of Matlock Bridge shows the Imperial Road
Church on the far left and the bottom of Steep Turnpike and the large house known as The Firs
on the right. The area where Firs Parade is today was thickly covered with trees. A tram is
descending the bank just below the Smedley Street junction.

On a more positive note, to celebrate the Coronation of King George V in 1911 the Council's Coronation Committee decided to decorate the Town Hall inside and out from public funds as well as a portion of Bank Road, Crown Square, Pic Tor and the Hall Leys[4]. Other streets, such as Stoney Way, put out their own bunting (see the Vernon Lamb Archive: VLA5217).

Detail from the "General View", above.
United Methodist Church and Sunday School, Imperial Road.
See Churches & Chapels.

From the Vernon Lamb Archive:

Bank Road

Bank Road

Edge Road garden

Edge Road garden

Matlock Bank

1." Bank Road, Matlock, Derbyshire". Published by C. Colledge, Stationer, Matlock, No.88718.J.V. Printed in Germany. Not used. © Ann Andrews collection.
2. "Matlock. General View", a Copyright Publication by Photochrom Co. Ltd., London & Tunbridge Wells. No. 56709. Unposted. © Pauline Jordan collection.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] The 1911 census is available at FindMyPast (external link opens in a new window).

[2] "Derbyshire Courier", 28 May 1910. Reckless Motorist. Smartly Fined at Matlock. Furious Ride up Matlock Bank. Mr. Le Blanc Smith was serving on Matlock Bath & Scarthin Nick Council in 1916 (scroll down for Matlock Bath). He can also be found as a Private Resident in Kelly's Directory the same year and living at 1 Fountain Villas.

[3] "Belper News", 22 September 1911.

[4] "Belper News", 19 May 1911.