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Matlock: Dale Road, Boat House Hotel & River, about 1908. With Licensees.
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
On the Derwent. Postcard shows the boat House Inn at Matlock
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Stone Quarrying in the Matlocks
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The Quarries

Matlock Bank and Bridge from near the Quarry 1907

The Boat House Hotel has stood on Dale Road, at the north entrance to Matlock Dale, for over two centuries[1]. Ebenezer Rhodes, visiting in the early 1820s, wrote that "near the Boat House, the first fine scenery of Matlock Dale is presented"[2]. Eighty years later J. B. Firth, who was writing at approximately the same time as the pictures for these two postcards were taken, was less complimentary about its surroundings. On entering the the dale "the first thing we pass is a large, unsightly quarry on the right ; then we reach the Boat House Hotel, once one of the fashionable houses of the dale"[3].


The former Hotel is pictured here just over a hundred years ago, when Holt Quarry behind had not been quite so extensively worked. There is an extremely large and unmissable painted sign on the side of the building in the top image, which is enlarged on the left, advertising "Hardy's Ale & Stout, Starbright, Sold in bottle".

Unusually, the main entrance is at the side of the building, probably because the property was built next to the road. The front door has changed since that time and there has been a porch for many years, whereas in this view we see that the top of the door surround reached the first floor window.

Matlock held an annual May Day Parade at this time and a committee of the Society met at the Boat House, both to assess how the previous year's event had gone and to decide on what they would do[4]. Matlock Football Club held its AGM here in 1912[5]; its season had been disastrous from the playing point of view. Other groups would have met there too, but their meetings weren't mentioned in the press.

The image below shows not only the Boat House but also a view of Matlock Bank. Look carefully at the quarry entrance just past the Boat House. A large wheelbarrow is standing end down and with the handles pointing skywards.

Mid twentieth Century Advertisements for the Boat House

1968 advertisement (above), from the Venetian Fête programme
1950s advert (left)
The proprietor was, presumably, William Vincent Doolan, thought to be
a former police superintendent and chief constable of Neath

Known licensees, listed alphabetically, 1827 - 1950s
With links to on site references

Surname, first names(s) Address References
[No name given] Boat House, Matlock Dale Freebody's Directory, 1852
Adin, William Boat House, Matlock Pigot's Directory, 1831
Sale of property and furniture, 1837.
Will, Surnames A - 1837 (does not mention property's name)
Barker, John Boat House and Boat House Inn, Old Lane Kelly's Directory 1855
White's Directory, 1857 (Hotels, Inns and Taverns)
Brightmore, Joseph Boat House, Matlock Pigot's Directory, 1842 (Taverns and Public Houses)
Clay, Lawrence Boat House Hotel, Matlock Temporary Licence at Brewster sessions, then licence March 1919
Doolan, W. V. The Boat House Hotel Exact date unknown, but 1950s ( see advert above)
Eato, Frank Boat House Hotel, Matlock The Eato Family
See Hayto, below
Eato, Mrs. Florence Boat House Hotel, The Dale - Licensee ...........

Boat House P.H., Dale rd ...........
1939 Register [surname crossed through and replaced by Bunting, as she later re-married]
Kelly's Directory, 1941
Eaton, Anthony Boat House inn Kelly's Directory, 1848
Eaton, Charles Boat House Inn Bagshaw's Directory, 1846 (Hotels, Inns and Taverns)
1851 census
Matlock & Matlock Bath Names in the London Gazette, 1851-55
Edwards, Harry Boat House Hotel, Dale road Kelly's Directory, 1925
Evans, William Boat House, him Publican Temporary transfer of licence to him from James Walton, 1900
Final transfer to him agreed at Brewster Sessions, 26 Sep 1900
1901 census
Fletcher, James Boat House Glover's Directory, 1827-9
Fletcher, Jas. Boat House, Matlock Pigot's Directory 1827-9 (Taverns and Public Houses)
Glover, Geo. Boat House Hotel, Matlock Bridge 1902 - 04+ (personal research)
Gratton, Chas. Boat House P.H., Dale rd Kelly's Directory, 1928
Kelly's Directory, 1932
Gratton, William Boat House Hotel, Matlock 1931 (announcement of his death)
Green, Mr. & Mrs. Sid Boat House Hotel, Matlock him licensee 1957, from 22 Jan
Gyte, James Boat House hotel Kelly's Directory 1895
Kelly's Directory 1899
Hancock, William Boat House Hotel
Boat House Hotel landlord (formerly a railway foreman)
Kelly's Directory, 1887
Hayto, Frank
(misprint for Eato, above)
Boat House Hotel, Matlock Licence transfer Nov 1932
Holling, Albert Boat House hotel, Dale road 1911 census
Kelly's Directory 1912
Kelly's Directory 1916
Marsden, Thomas Boat House Death of, 1859
Rawson, Thomas Boat House Inn, Dale ...........
Boat Hotel, Dale ...........
Boat House, Matlock Dale ...........

Boat House, Matlock Bridge ...........
Boat House Hotel, Matlock Dale ...........
Boat House ...........
Boat House Inn ...........
Boat House ...........
Boat House Inn ...........
1861 census
White's Directory, 1862 (lime and marbl. merchant)
Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory, 1862 (Family and Commercial Hotel)
Kelly's Directory, 1864
Harrod's 1870 Directory (Family and Commercial Hotel)
1871 census
White's Directory, 1871-2 (Family and Commercial)
Kelly's Directory, 1876
1881 census
Kelly's Directory, 1881 (family & commercial boarding house)
Rawson, William Boat House Inn 1829 sale notice
Robinson, John Boat House Hotel, Dale cres, proprietor Temporary transfer of licence of the Boat House Inn from Geo. Glover granted, 1905
Kelly's Directory, 1908
Still there at the beginning of 1910
Rushton, Edward Boat House White's Directory, 1852
Schuck, Mr. & Mrs Boat House Hotel, Matlock Dec 1953
Teasdale, John Boathouse Derby Mercury, 22 July 1774 states that it was "lately kept" by Mr. Teasdale
Walton, James Boat House Hotel, Matlock 1900, temporary transfer of licence to William Evans of Sheffield (see Evans above)
Wardley, Mrs. & Mrs. Harry Boat House Hotel, Matlock Eight years as "host and hostess" up to Dec 1953.
Wood, William Boat House hotel 1891 census
Kelly's Directory, 1891
Wright, Mr. J. Boat House, Matlock Dale Arthur Jewitt's "The Matlock Companion...", 1835.

More images of the Boat House

1 and 2. "On the Derwent, Matlock" published by Valentine's Series. Printed in Great Britain. Message - a New Year Greeting. Edward VIII stamp. Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
3. "Matlock Bridge". West End Series, published by A. E. Shaw, Blackburn. Posted Whittington Moor, Cheshire on 8 Sept 1908.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Susan Tomlinson.
Researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links go to on site transcripts):

[1] See the 19th century "Guides" The Gem of the Peak | Hall's Days in Derbyshire, 1863, Chapter 5

[2] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row

[3] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.

[4] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 28 February 1907.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 30 August 1912.