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Matlock - looking towards Hackney, early 20th Century
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Bank from High Tor 1920s

Matlock Bridge & Bank, 1903-04

Matlock Bridge & Bank, 1907

Looking south from Jackson Tor, 1928

The Popular Album of Matlock

From the Vernon Lamb Archive:


This photograph was taken from almost the same vantage point as Matlock Bridge & Bank, 1903-04 before the green fields were covered by houses. It was registered by Valentine's in 1907. The view is looking towards Hackney and shows Allen Hill, The Dimple, Imperial Road (bisected by the red chimney) with a short stretch of Edge Road - shown as a cul de sac at that time - from the point it joins Woolley Road / Imperial Road to it disappearing into a tree. It also includes a few buildings on Bakewell Road and Snitterton Road.

Wolley Road, or Woolley Road as it became, was originally known as Allen Lane[1]. The early maps show Allen Lane as very narrow but in 1895 notices were placed in the Derbyshire press to improve things:

"Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 21 June 1895
Derbyshire Times, 26 June 1895

CONTRACTORS AND OTHERS.-TENDERS are invited for the Widening and Construction of a Road known as "Wolley Road", situate at Matlock Bridge, and also for the laying out and Construction of three new Streets lying between the said Road and Dimple Road. The work consists of excavation, forming, ballasting, curbing, sewering &c., &c. Plans, &c., may be inspected and forms of tender obtained from Messrs. John Parkin and Son, Idridgehay, near Derby, to whom tenders must be sent in on or before Saturday, the 6th of July next".

The "Derby Mercury" of 26 June 1895 published the same notice, but used Woolley.

Below the line of houses on the top of the hill, which are on Cavendish Road just above Jackson Tor, is Jackson House. In both 1908 and 1916 Leonard Bramwell was running Jackson House as a hydropathic establishment[2].

All Saints' Church is easily distinguished by the large grey roof. Part of Wolley Road is just above the red chimney and looks like an angular letter J, with the houses of Malpas Road off it to the left. Beyond that are the buildings around the Crabtree Inn and Hackney just goes off on the far left.

As for the red chimney, this was part of the "Rag Mill" near the railway station, and later was occupied by Poyser's Patents. It was built between 1876 and 1884[3] but there was no clear indication of an occupier until Smedley's Hydropathic Company Limited bought the disused mill from Mr John Fisher of Chindrass House, Starkholmes in 1901. The mill had been empty for years but had a right to water power from the River Derwent. The hydro's purchase seems to have been unexpected though it transpired that they had bought the mill for conversion to an electric power station. It was said that until he had accepted the cash for the deal John Fisher did not know the name of the buyer![4]. Smedley's required an adequate water supply, mentioned in the company's annual report, but the mill neither did nor could take river water for power although it must have drawn its supply for its boiler and also for use in paint grinding from there. Smedley's idea was destined to be short lived[3]. In June 1902 the Notts. and Derbyshire Electric Power Bill was among the Bills which received the Royal Assent the House of Lords[5].

Jackson House is at the top, slightly right of centre,
with All Saints' to the right.

In the enlargement, above, that shows the Woolley Road, Imperial Road and Edge Road junction we can see early twentieth century development. There are two houses on Edge Road and the beginnings of the three pairs of semi detached houses on the north side of Imperial Road. There was further development, but not much, before the First World War.

"Matlock". Published as part of Valentine's Series of "Famous Throughout the World" cards (No. 58816). Not posted.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] The road is shown as Allen Lane on Ordnance Survey maps 1876-80 1 : 2,500 and the 1884 map. By 1899-1900 it was shown on maps as Woolley Road although trade directories of 1908 and 1912 used the Wolley spelling variant.

[2] See Kelly's Directory, 1908 and Kelly's Directory, 1916.

[3] Information from Colin Goodwyn
The mill chimney can also be seen on The Popular Album of Matlock (scroll down) and Matlock: Holt Lane and Dale Road, about 1900. You have to look hard, but it is also on Matlock Bank & Bridge, about 1900 (2) and Matlock Bank, the Hall Leys and Dale Road, 1912-20 (top image). There is another view of the rag mill on The Bridge (4), and the Broad Walk.

[4] "Derbyshire Times", 23 March 1901. Probable Electric Lighting of Matlock. Mr. Fisher's House can be seen on Starkholmes, Sheffield Works Societies' Convalescent Home.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 28 June 1902.