Lilybank Hydro (Dalefield)
|Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards,
Engravings & Etchings
Lilybank was described in glowing terms in 1932:
"A few minutes' walk from the Golf Links is the Lilybank Hydro,
commanding fine views. Tennis, croquet and bowls may be enjoyed, and
a series of amusements keep things going happily indoors. Hydropathic
treatment on the latest principles is given by experienced attendants.
There is ample motor garage for visitors".
Originally called Dalefield,
the establishment on Chesterfield Road was opened as a hydropathic
establishment by George Bernard Barton. His father, George, had
opened Jackson House about thirty years before and followed the
likes of John Smedley, Charles Rowland and the Davis family into
the business of hydropathy. There is a little confusion about the
two Bartons in some of the trade directories and they are often
linked under the title of "Mr. Barton".
The following quotation from Bulmer's Directory refers to George
Bernard Barton: "Subsequently, he erected commodious and handsome
premises called Dalefield Hydropathic Establishment, in which he
introduced many improvements suggested by his experience, and furnished
it in first-class style. The house stands within its own grounds,
and commands delightful prospects along the valley of the Derwent.
The dining-hall, drawing-rooms, &c., are all spacious, well
ventilated, and handsomely furnished, and various indoor and outdoor
amusements are provided. The heating arrangements are a special
feature to ensure an equable temperature in winter and stormy weather.
The establishment is not exclusively a sanatorium; it affords accommodation
to families and others who desire to spend a holiday amidst the
beautiful scenery of the English Switzerland and it is also a delightful
winter resort for those delicate individuals who dread the severities
of our English climate".
Lilybank, winter or early spring, probably taken a few years
before the top image.
When Dalefield was advertised for sale by Hampton & Sons of
London in the autumn of 1913 it was described as occupying one
of the most important positions in the town. It had 40 bedrooms,
ample servants' accommodation, a range of fitted baths, a suite
of reception rooms and a billiard room as well as stabling and
gardens. The property also had central heating.
This was before the neighbouring property, The Gables, became part
of the establishment and the total number of rooms increased. This
postcard shows both the original Dalefield / Lilybank building,
which has the sign "Lilybank" on top of it, and what
was "The Gables" on the right; the house was a separate
building but when it was bought by Lilybank it was linked to the
larger hydro building by the almost round stone extension which
housed the ballroom.
Dalefield was renamed Lilybank and
continued as a hydro for almost fifty years more. The Liquidator
was finally appointed by members of Lilybank Hydro Limited on 4th
January 1963 and
the building was bought by the Presentation Convent to be used
as a preparatory school.
It is now a nursing home.
Dalefield, The Gables and the Congregational Church, 1893-1899.
Detail from an albumen print.
Barton's sign is just about discernible on Dalefield's roof.
But who were the Barton family?
George Barton (senior) was baptised on 12 Sep 1819 and
the son of Bernard and Hannah Barton of Riber; his father was
a shoemaker and the couple had seven children.
George began his working life as a lead miner and
married Martha Ballington at St. Giles' on 8 April 1844.
By 1861 he was working as a hydropathist and the couple were
living with their children on Matlock Bank.
George died on 22 March 1875, aged 55, and Martha died in 1884.
Their son, George Bernard Barton (also known as George Barnard
Barton), began as a hydropathist at Jackson
House and after his father's death he ran the business with his
mother for some years. In 1887 he became joint proprietor
of the Turkish Baths in Friar Gate, Derby, with his wife Deborah
helping on Mondays when the baths were reserved for female use.
He then built Dalefield, which this writer assumes he bought from
Mr. Thomas Stevens.
George Bernard had been christened at St. Giles' on
4 July 1847; he
married Deborah Swift at the same church on 6 Feb 1871. The couple
are recorded in the census returns for 1871, 1881 and 1891 though
Deborah passed away in 1897, aged 49. In 1901 George Barnard and
his son were together but
George Bernard died on 31 December, 1908.
Both he and Deborah are buried at St. Giles' in the family vault,
alongside some of their children who died very young.
George Thomas Barton (born 1878), or Tom, the son of George Bernard
and Deborah, enlisted in the Derbyshire Yeomanry and
took part in the Boer War. He wasn't the only one from Matlock
to go to South Africa as he mentioned W. S. Hand and E. Hodgkinson
in a letter home and an F. White was also there. Tom was wounded
and arrived home in June 1900.
He took over Dalefield and was listed in trades directories as
the proprietor up until 1912, advertising his hydro
as having "splendid accommodation, liberal diet, beautiful
He had married Hannah McMunn at All Saints' in 1901. Tom rejoined
the Yeomanry in the First World War, was gazetted in 1917 having
served in Egypt and Salonika, and became Second Lieutenant.
He died in Matlock in 1950
and Hannah died at Whitworth Hospital
the couple are buried in Tansley Cemetery. Some
of their Barton descendants now live in New Zealand.
See the on site trade directory transcripts that mention Dalefield
There is more about Dalefield / Lilybank / The Gables
1. "The Lilybank Hydro, Matlock - Tel Matlock
81". Published by Photochrom Co. Ltd., Royal Tunbridge
Wells. All British Production. Not posted, though another card was
posted in 1924.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann
2. "The Lilybank Hydro, Matlock. Tel.81". Published by
Lilywhite Ltd., Sowerby Bridge. Real photo. Unused. In the collection
of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
3. Dalefield, The Gables and the Congregational Church, from an albumen
print "Matlock Bank and Matlock Bridge", No.3903 by G.W.W. © Susan
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
hyperlinks are to transcripts elsewhere on this website):
 Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale,
Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books
of England and Wales (1932-3), p.51
 i. The land on which the Hydro was
built was included in the Tithe Award as Dalefield.
ii. Cameron, K (1959) "The Place Names of Derbyshire, Part
II", p.392 gives it as Dale Field and says it was known
as Dale Acre at the time of James I.
 "History, Topography and Directory
of Derbyshire" (1895) by T. Bulmer and Co., p.417, Matlock
(transcript contributed to this website by Sonia Addis-Smith).
sale notices were placed in "The
Times" by Hamptons in September 1913.
 Though an exact year cannot be provided,
it probably became Lilybank in 1915 when it re-opened after refurbishment.
This pre-dates the information given in Derek Crust's article for "Derbyshire
Life & Countryside" of January 1976 ("Nagle
Preparatory School, Matlock", pp.25-8). Other sources
state that the hydro was renamed around 1906 but this is incorrect.
It was still Dalefield at the time of the 1911 census, and also
when advertised for sale in 1913 (see  above).
 London Gazette, 15 January 1963.
 See Schools,
The Presentation Convent.
christening of George Barton. Martha Ballington christened
4 Oct 1829, but born in 1824
 Will of Barnard Barton of Riber -
Pre-1858 Wills & Administrations,
Census, family living at Starkholmes.
 Parish register.
1861 Census and the first listing of Jackson House in Kelly's
Directory, 1864 (under Matlock Bank).
 See Wills
(B) | Memorials (surname
listed) | London Gazette (1875
- George). George B was given as George Barnard Barton at death
and in his will.
 "The Derby
Mercury", Wednesday, 11 May, 1887. George Bernard Barton
went into partnership with Councillor Holbrook of Derby. As well
as preserving the Turkish Baths already offered, they introduced
the hot and cold sitz bath along with other hydropathy treatments.
 Thomas Stevens was
living at Dalefield in Kelly's
Directory, 1876 and
sold the property in 1882.
 George Bernard Barton's baptism
at St. Giles' (as George).
 See the
census returns for: 1871 |
1881 | 1891 | 1901
 A letter home, describing the conditions
he encountered, was published in "The Sheffield & Rotherham
Independent", Monday, 16 April, 1900. The "Derbyshire
Times", 23 June 1900 reported that at one time he
was in rather dangerous condition. The "Derbyshire Times",
26 May 1900 published a letter from F. White to Mr. Phillips of
 "Leeds Mercury", 20
 "Derbyshire Times",
8 December 1917.