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Matlock: Church Organ Recitals given by Harry Douglas, 1906-36
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United Methodist Church, Matlock, 1910
United Methodist Church, Matlock
Sunday, 12 June, 1910
Organ Recital by Mr. H. Douglas
Vocalist: Miss Hilda Sanderson
Printer: Roberts, Matlock
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Smedleys 1908-14

Smedley's during WW1

Smedley's Hydro, the inter-war years when Harry Douglas was the Manager

The Prize Choir

Sons of Alfred Douglas

Matlock has a strong tradition of music and has produced some very fine musicians. Amongst the names that stand out is that of Harry Douglas, for many years the manager of Smedley's Hydro.

Harry Douglas was a very fine organist and played the organ of Matlock's Congregational Church for over fifty years. There used to be a plaque in the church commemorating this but it was given to his family when the church was demolished. Mr. (later Captain and then Major) Douglas gave many organ recitals at the Congregational Church, as well as at other churches in the district. He played the organ wherever he went, seeking out church organs that he could play on even whilst on active service during the First World War in both Ireland and France[1].

He kept all the programmes for his recitals, which he pasted into two albums. The older of the albums is shown on the right. There were just a handful of his performances for which there was no printed record, including his very first concert on 7 October 1906 at the Congregational Church. Although the programmes on this page show only the Matlock churches where Harry Douglas played, he also gave performances at several other Derbyshire churches before the First War. These additional concerts were at at the Wesleyan Church at Cromford, Farley Church, the Congregational Church at Middleton-by-Wirksworth, the Congregational Church in Riddings, Salem Chapel in Somercotes and at Bakewell Congregational Church for both its 124th anniversary in 1912 and 125th anniversary in 1913.

He also "composed several pieces for the organ under the name of John Masson[2]" which were published by Novello & Co[3]. Perhaps he chose the pseudonym after the impressive mountain he would have looked at on an almost daily basis from both his home and his workplace.

Selection of programmes from before World War I:

  Harry Douglas's first album

Matlock Wesleyan Circuit Gathering, 1908
Matlock Wesleyan Circuit Gathering
Thursday 30 July, 1908
Organ Recital by Mr. H. Douglas
Vocalists : Mrs E. Charge and Mr. C. Daykin Turner (of Derby) and Mr. E. H. Potter
Printer: G. Hodgkinson, Matlock

Matlock Congregational Church, 1909
Matlock Congregational Church
Thursday, 4 November, 1909
Organist : H. Douglas
Conductor: Mr. H. P. Walters, Mr. L. W. Wildgoose
Soloists: Miss Clara Streeton
Violinists: Miss A. Radford, Mr. Walters
Cellist: Miss Radford
Double Bassist: Mr. E. L. Wilmot
Printer: H. Roberts, Crown Square, Matlock

Matlock Congregational Church, 1909
Matlock Congregational Church
Sunday, 26th December, 1909
Soloist: Madame Edith Hayes

Lady Glenorchy Church, Matlock Bath, 1912
Lady Glenorchy Church, Matlock Bath
Recital of Vocal and Instrumental Music
Thursday, 29 February, 1912
Organist and Pianist: Mr. H. Douglas
Soloist and Pianist: Miss Ethel Gregory
Soloist: Mr. Wm. Robson
Printer: Smith, Matlock Bath
Harry Douglas had performed there previously on Sunday 20 August 1910, following the Evening Service

Matlock Congregational Church, 1904
Matlock Congregational Church
15 February, 1914
Organ Recital by Mr. H. Douglas
This was his last recital before the First World War

Selection of programmes from the inter-war years:

The first of his post-war organ recitals was on 4 January 1920 and he continued to play at local churches, including All Saints', Matlock (programme not on this page). Running Smedley's would have taken a great deal of his time - he became the hydro's manager in 1925 - but he still found time to play the organ. Any funds raised went to the either church or to charity. Venues during this period included some outside Derbyshire; he performed at Marple Congregational Church on Hibbert Lane and at Christ Church (no town given, but could also have been in the Stockport area).

Primitive Methodist, Bank Road, 1925
Primitive Methodist, Bank Road
Sunday, 8 March, 1925
Organ Recital by Capt. H. Douglas
Soloists: Miss Edith Hockley and Mr. Stanley Moreton
The Prize Choir
Chairman: Mr. Fred Drabble
Printer: Geo. Hodgkinson, Matlock

Matlock Congregational Church, 1928
Tuesday, 28th February 1928
Musical Recital
Mrs. A. Slater, Soprano
Miss Berta Young, Violin
Mr. H. D. Wildgoose, Pianoforte
Mr. H. Douglas, Organ

Primitive Methodist Church, Matlock Bank - Choir Festival, 1929
Primitive Methodist Church, Matlock Bank - Choir Festival
Easter Sunday 1929
Preacher: Rev. J. B. Hardy
Organists: Mr. L. G. Wildgoose & Harold D. Wildgoose
Chairman: Fred Drabble, Esq.
Soloists: Madame Eliot Caldwell, Mr. Sam Fowkes
Organ Solo: Capt. H. Douglas
The Choir

Matlock Congregational Church, 1930
Matlock Congregational Church
Sunday, 23rd February 1930
Organ Recital by Capt. H. Douglas
Soloists: Mr. Henry Askew, Tenor

Matlock Rotary Club, 1933
Matlock Rotary Club
Music Programme on behalf of the Schoolboys' Camp performed at Matlock Congregational Church
Sunday, 26th November 1933
Soprano: Miss Muriel Palmer
Violinist: Miss Margaret Hampson
Pianist: Miss Edna Downing
Organist: Capt. H. Douglas

Matlock Congregational Church Music Recital, 1936
Matlock Congregational Church Music Recital
Wednesday, 9th December, 1936
Vocalist: Miss Dorothy Marshall
Violinist: Miss Margaret Hampson
Pianist: Miss Ethel Gregory
Organist: Capt. H. Douglas

The December 1936 recital appears to have been the last one, or at least the last programme he pasted into his album.

Major Douglas died on 30 December 1954, aged 72. The obituary notice in "The Times" commented on his considerable musical abilities[2]. He had also been a first class shot. In 1922, for example, it was noted that he had been recorded in the King's Hundred at Bisley six times[4].

Three photographs of Harry Douglas
1. Marriage to Margaret Hodgkinson, Matlock, 1907
2. Second Lieutenant, then Lieutenant and finally Captain H Douglas, Sherwood Foresters, 1914-19
also see Harry Douglas & Fellow Officers, Empire Hotel Buxton, Dec 1914.
3. Major H Douglas, Bisley, 1954

Albums of organ recital programmes and family photographs in the collection of, loaned by and © Jane Leslie.
Photographs of albums and contents © Andy Andrews, 2010.
Other research by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

[1] From correspondence with Jane Leslie
[2] "The Times", Saturday, 1 Jan 1955. Obituary notice for Major H. Douglas
[3] "The Derbyshire Times", 7 Jan 1955. Obituary notice.
[4] "The Times", Saturday, 22 July 1922. King's Hundred At Bisley.