This dramatic view of the gritstone bridge was taken by the card's
sender, Lucy, and turned into a postcard. Her message states
that this was one of the views she took whilst staying
at Lea. She added that she was proud of her cards, and went on
to describe the bridge as the railway bridge between Matlock
Bath station and Matlock Bridge station. Although the card was
sent at the beginning of winter it shows a summer scene, with
the two arches and the buildings beyond reflected in the seemingly
There were two nineteenth century tragedies involving the bridge.
a Matlock shoemaker, Mr. Barnard Holmes, was passing the bridge when
he noticed what he at first supposed to be a bundle of clothes
lying under an arch, but on closer inspection discovered the body
of a newly born baby girl. Mr. Chinery, the local surgeon who lived
in the Dale, examined the body and concluded the infant had never
breathed. There was no evidence to say who the child was and, although
an inquest jury concluded that the child had been thrown from the
bridge, the eventual verdict was just "Found
The second incident occurred one fine summer's Saturday evening
in 1888. A young Matlock couple, Annie Elizabeth Knowles and William
Smith, had hired a small skiff from Mr. Brown's, whose temperance
hotel was close to the bridge. Annie Elizabeth Knowles was rowing
and seems to have taken the boat under the arch furthest from the
road, where there was reputed to be a strong current but where the
water was only four feet deep. William Smith was steering and witnesses
said that he was leaning over the boat when it capsized. There were
others on the river at the time, but one group of six men didn't
realise what had happened until it was too late. There were also
witnesses on the road. A Coroner's inquest was held in the larger
room connected with the Boat House and, as one juror, succinctly
put it, "I
never heard of such a case where so many people were on the spot
and all useless".
links go to on site transcripts):
 "Derby Mercury",
15 February 1854. Barnard [Barnet] Holmes was living on Holt Lane
at the time of the 1851 census.
William Chinery was living in the
Dale in 1851.
Times and Chesterfield Herald", 30 June 1888. "Shocking
Boating Fatality at Matlock. A young man and woman drowned".
Annie Elizabeth, the daughter of William Knowles, was a pupil
teacher at Tansley School and aged 18. Annie Elizabeth can be
found with her family in the
1881 census transcripts. William Smith was the son of Joseph
of Matlock Bank and employed by the Matlock Bridge Local Board;
he had turned 19 on 4 May. He is also listed in in the
1881 census transcripts.