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Matlock: Chatsworth Hydro, 1912-46
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Poplar/Jeffs' Poplar Hydro
1857-1912



Poplar, later Chatsworth, Hydro 1900-05



Tariff Souvenir" Brochure, about 1931-2



Chatsworth in Matlock Training College Brochure 1946-47


Other hydros run by the Davis family

Chesterfield House


Oldham House Hydro, Prospect Place & Woodlands School (Miss White's)


Memorial Cards,
Surnames D-R




Jeffs' Poplar Hydro
Vernon Lamb Archive VLA5147



Display for a pre1914-18 war banquet, VLA4971



When the hydro was sold again in 1912, as Jeffs Poplar Hydro Company Limited, it was described as "all that freehold land, situate in Chesterfield-road, Matlock, in the county of Derby, with the messuage or dwellinghouse, used as a hydropathic establishment, bathhouses, electric power house and other buildings erected thereon, known as Jeffs Poplar Hydro, and the business of a hydropathic establishment and boarding house, heretofore carried on the above premises by the defendant company, and the goodwill and connections thereof, stock-in-trade, furniture, plate, glass, china, stores, baths, fittings and appliances, wood-constructed motor garage and other effects in and about the said house and premises. A small portion of the property is copyhold of the Manor of Matlock"[1].

The business was at once renamed Chatsworth Hydro[2], and in 1913 it was advertised as "The ideal Pleasure and Health Resort. Finest position, superb scenery, 800 ft. above sea level. Nearest Hydro Golf Links. Tennis, croquet, bowls. Electrical and other baths. Booklet gratis"[3]. The hydro's management clearly thought that its closeness to the golf links was a major draw for its visitors as the links were mentioned in many advertisements from then on.


This postcard of the hydro was sent in 1920 and the picture includes an open backed car with
a fold down weather hood so that passengers sitting in the back could enjoy the view
on fine days. It was possibly a taxi, registered in Derbyshire.
A young boy is walking down Chesterfield Road, pulling some kind of trolley or small barrow.


Frank Leopold Crohill, formerly the chef at Rockside, was appointed manager during the First World War. He was one of a number of hydro managers in the Matlocks to be caught out by the blackout in 1916 and was fined 20s for an offence under the Lighting Restriction Order[4]. Almost two years later Mr. Crohill had the misfortune to be the first person prosecuted under the Light, Power, and Fuel Restriction Order. It was a new order to prevent the use of gas or electricity for entertainments after 10.30p.m. He was summoned, and then fined 10 shillings, for holding a Bank Holiday ball at the hydro after the Fuel, Light and Power Restriction came into force. In his defence it was said that balls had been held at the hydros every Bank Holiday night, which was the reason the fine he received was light[5]. He must have felt that luck was not on his side when, in 1919, he was fined 10s at the local Police Court for keeping a dog without a license[6]. It is possible that he decided to start afresh as he and his wife moved away from Matlock; he died in 1945[7].

A Manageress was appointed in 1920 and advertisements claimed that Chatsworth Hydro had "absolutely [the] finest position in Matlock"[8] and in 1926 "the cosiest of all Hydros" advertised suites to attract permanent residents[9].


This view of the hydro almost certainly dates from the 1930s. The image was used on the
mid 1930s advertisement below.


Mr. and Mrs. Francis Taylor had been the owners for some years, and the couple lived at the hydro with Mrs. Taylor acting as the manageress. Mr. Taylor had business interests in both Stockport and Manchester and when he died in 1928 it was said that he had been associated with Matlock Hydros for many years[10]. He was a Director of several large companies including the Derwent Mills Manufacturing Company of Matlock. His wife passed away less than two months later[11] and Chatsworth was put up for auction, though did not sell immediately[12]. A Captain Wilkinson was the manager at this time. It was sold by private treaty in late January 1930 to an undisclosed purchaser after an unsuccessful auction earlier in the month, when bidding was poor[13]. Other reports say the new owner was Mr. E. T. Hooley. Unfortunately, it was back on the market in the October, but the lot was withdrawn from sale[14]. The following day it was announced that it had been sold privately[14]. By 1932 it was under both new ownership and management, although it is not clear if this was referring to the 1930 changes[15].

Also in 1932 the last member of the Davis family to have owned the hydro, George Davis of Poplar Cottage on Cavendish Road, passed away. He had initially worked at Poplar Hydro after it was sold to Charles Jeffs but had then gone to work as head bathman at Oldham House for his cousin Lubin Wildgoose[16].



Advertisement, mid 1930s.


Mrs. Ethel Dawson (named in the above advertisement) was still the Manageress, Mrs. Katherine Ward was the housekeeper and Miss Marjorie P. Jones was the receptionist/bookkeeper in September 1939[17]. However, at the end of the year Mr. Fred Turner, who had been employed at Smedley's Hydro for many years, was appointed manager of Chatsworth[18].

Chatsworth continued as a hydro for a time at the beginning of the Second World War and was still advertising as a hydro in Kelly's 1941 Directory. The hydro changed hands at the very beginning of 1941 and its visitors were given notice to leave although the staff were to be retained[19]. Messrs. C. and A. Modes had moved from central London to Farnham Common, but relocated their offices and about 100 of their staff to Chatsworth Hydro in January 1941 as it more accessible to their retail outlets in some of the cities in the Midlands and the North[20].


A number of minor changes can be seen. Some small trees beside the steps have been
removed and there was now a rustic "pergola" instead.
High up on the right of the building is a lookout which has been boarded in by this time,
presumably for safety. At some point it was removed entirely.


It reopened briefly as a hydro post war but was sold to Derbyshire County Council in August 1946[20]; they had paid £17,000 for Chatsworth. The sale was finalised seven months after the Council had bought Rockside Hydro and a number of large houses in the vicinity were also purchased. These buildings became the newly formed Matlock Teacher Training College, a highly respected institution in the town. Unfortunately for Matlock, the students moved to the Derby in 1988 when the Derby and Matlock Colleges amalgamated.






Photos of the Hydro Staff in the Hydros and Convalescing section of the Vernon Lamb Archive (1911-14):

4975

4976

5007

5008

4977

9839

5052

5080


There is additional information available on-site:

Matlock Bank Primitive Methodist Church, 'Young Mens' Class has pictures of some members of the Wildgoose family, who were related to the Davis family.
Matlock Primitive Methodist Prize Choir also shows some of the Wildgoose family.
Historical Records Names in Census returns and Trades Directories.
In 1901 Grimsby Town football team were staying at Poplar Hydro on census night.
Matlock: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (3) - Jeffs Poplar Hydro letterheads in 1903.
See: Report of fine in 1918


1. "Chatsworth Hydro, Matlock", published by S. DAKIN, Tobacconist, Stationer, and Hair-Dressing, Smedley Street, Matlock. No. 11139. 1848. Printed in England. © Ann Andrews collection.
2. "Chatsworth Hydro, Matlock", published by A. W. Gessey, Crown Square, Matlock. Posted at Matlock on 4 Aug 1920. © Susan Tomlinson collection.
3. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd., Publishers, Artists, Printers, Cheltenham. Printed in Great Britain. Unused, but an identical card to this was posted in 1938. © Ann Andrews collection.
4. Advertisement from "The Matlocks, Derbyshire. Official Guide". Issued by the Come to Derbyshire Association, published 1930s. © Ann Andrews collection
5. Photographic card of Chatsworth Hydro after the building became part of the Teacher Training College. © Maureen Smith collection.
Researched and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links to onsite information):

[1] "The London Gazette", 17 September 1912 (notice of sale of the property).

[2] "Kelly's Directory, 1925" gives the name as Chatsworth Hydro but newspaper reports show the property had been Chatsworth Hydro from 1913 onwards.

[3] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 25 July 1913. Chatsworth Hydro, Matlock.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 14 September 1916. Matlock Lighting Charges.

[5] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 16 August 1918. Matlock Hydro Manager fined.

[6] "Belper News", 23 May 1919.

[7] The 1939 Register shows him working as a Timber Stacker in Coventry; he was also a First Aider and an ARP warden for his district. He died in hospital on 19 Sept 1945 ("Coventry Evening Telegraph", 20 April 1945).

[8] "Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer", 24 June 1920 and 16 July 1920, just two of the advertisements that year.

[9] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Friday 15 October 1926: "2 or 3 Suites of rooms to let, furnished or unfurnished, for desirable permanent residents, with or without board".

[10] "Nottingham Evening Post", Monday 20 August 1928. "Manchester and Matlock have lost a well-known business man by the death yesterday of Mr. Francis Taylor".

[11] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Monday 05 November 1928.

[12] "Derbyshire Times", 4 January 1930. Chatsworth Hydro. Matlock, will be offered for auction as a going concern with all buildings, land, furnishings and equipment on the 30th of this month. The sale will be held at the hydro. Twelve months ago, following the death of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, it was offered for sale at Manchester but was withdrawn at £11,000. The private treaty was reported in the "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal" of 24 January 1930.

[13] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 30 October 1930. Chatsworth Hydro again on the market, but was withdrawn with the bidding at £6000.

[14] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 31 October 1930. It was sold privately the previous day "at a figure stated to be about £7.000. The buyer is a well-known accountant".

[15] "Kelly's Directory, 1932" states that Chatsworth Hydropathic Co. Ltd was "under new ownership & management ... adjacent to golf links".

[16] "Derbyshire Times", 15 October 1932.

[17] Their names are shown at the hydro in the 1939 Register.

[18] "Derbyshire Times", 1 December 1939.

[19] "Derbyshire Times", 3 January 1941. Matlock Sale Causes Surprise.

[20] Information originally from Mr. Frank Clay. There is now an academic book, researched using documentary evidence, which briefly mentions the company's time in Matlock. See: Spoerer, Mark (2016) "C & A, A Family Business in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, 1911 - 1961" pub. Verlag C. H. Beck of HG, Munich. The third image down was used in the book.