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Matlock: Knowleston Gardens, Matlock Green, 1907
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VLA 5133

Knowleston Place, 1862

With a view of Knowleston Place from above the Holt Quarry

The author of the History of Matlock, Benjamin Bryan, noted that "The Knowleston Place ornamental grounds were purchased on behalf of the Urban Council as a public open space in June 1899, for the sum of £200, which included timber, seats, etc."[1]. During the previous month an advertisement in the Derbyshire Times had announced the sale of the estate of the late Henry Knowles; it included the following statement: "Opposite the dwelling houses [in Knowleston Place] is about one acre of ornamental gardens, laid out for the use of the tenant of the Knowleston Place property"[2].

The sale notice resulted in a member of the local Council, Henry Challand, and its Chairman visiting Chesterfield to discuss the matter with Knowles' trustees and solicitors. They not return empty handed. Originally the asking price had been £250 but eventually the sum was reduced to £200 and Challand purchased the land on the Council's behalf[3]. Nevertheless, whilst the gardens came into the Council's possession as soon as the contract was signed, the purchase was not completed till the month of November[1]. In the interim a question raised as to whether the ornamental gardens had already become the property of the Council as it was alleged that damage was being done by the public [though what kind of damage was not specified][4].

It was agreed that an opening should be made from Knowleston Gardens to the Pic Tor Grounds in July 1902. At the same meeting the Surveyor read a letter of complaint from Mr. Reason regarding the brook near Knowleston Gardens. The Council's Highways Committee had inspected the brook, and it was agreed the Surveyor should be instructed to cleanse out the mouth of the brook at the river end, to clean it out in the Knowleston Place gardens, and to provide stone etc to divert water through sluice at weir etc. as part of the improvements[5].

The following year Matlock Council were planning to spend £7 10s for a rustic bridge, and £20 for labour and shrubs at Knowleston Place and the Town Hall gardens. However, some people objected and the rustic bridge was struck out of the plans[6].

The problems with the brook did not go away and by the autumn of 1906 numerous complaints had been made "about the obnoxious smell arising from the brook which runs in front Knowleston Place, one of the most frequented thoroughfares in Matlock. The brook is full of filth, and visitors find it impossible to remain long in the Knowleston Place Gardens on account of the nuisance. The Council would be well advised to give this immediate attention"[7].

"In Knowleston Gardens, Matlock". Valentine's Series, Famous Throughout the World, No. 58619. Printed in Great Britain. Published in 1907. Unused.
Postcard in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 13 May 1899.

[3] "ibid", 10 June 1899. Matlock and Its Improvements. The contract was with the Council but the vendors solicitors were going to waive the deal for a short time. The Chairman of the Council who accompanied Henry Challand was not named, but Kelly's 1899 Directory shows he was Mr. Edward Slack.

[4] "Sheffield Independent", 5 September 1899. Matlock Urban [Council].

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 23 July 1902. Matlock District Council meeting. Highway Matters, etc.

[6] "ibid.," 21 March 1903.

[7] "ibid.," 29 September 1906.