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Bank Road & the Steep-Gradient Tramway

Crown Square 1901

The Park, 1952

Poets' Corner, Hall Leys

Mrs. Robert Wildgoose

At the Matlock Urban District Council's monthly meeting on Monday, March 6th 1899 it was re-affirmed that "a stretch of land has been secured by the side of the Derwent to make a promenade"[1] a few months earlier. This had been purchased from Mr. Henry Knowles[2]. It was also announced that "Mr R. Wildgoose, J.P., has made an offer to erect a clock in the proposed tramway shelter.-The tender for the shelter was accepted, and Mr Wildgoose has now offered to find the whole of the money, a decision which was accepted with a resolution of thanks"[1]. Robert Wildgoose had been the Manager of Lea Mills for many years and had lived at "The Gables" on Chesterfield Road for some time[4].

Councillors were told at a meeting a few weeks later that "the illuminated clock to be presented by Mr. R. Wildgoose, J.P., is about ready to be erected in Crown Square"[3]. The shelter was formally opened and the clock installed later in the year[5].

The tram shelter remained in the centre of Crown Square whilst the tramway was operational but was taken down with what to today's eyes may appear to have been unseemly haste a few weeks before the tram stopped running. Glynn Waite notes that work began on 23 Aug 1927 and it took the men about a week to remove the building and store it whilst the Council decided where to put it[6].

It was eventually re-erected the Hall Leys Park where it remains to this day[7].

late 1930s
Since this picture was taken in the late 1930s the shelter has undergone some changes. For example,
the glass screen shown on the postcard has been removed.

A few years after the second picture was taken the park lost its railings. In the early part of the Second World War there had been an appeal for more metal to be contributed to the war effort and the railings around the Hall Leys were donated. By July 1942 the Council were clearly regretting their decision as it was reported that the "removal of the railings surrounding the Hall Leys is causing heartburn amongst the members of Matlock Urban Council. At Monday's meeting Mr. F. W. Beddington complained that the public were already making footpaths across the gardens to Causeway Lane". The Council's chairman had even seen adults - supposedly well-known public figures - leave the cricket ground and then walk across the soil. He added that it would be a shame if the public did not support all the hard work that had gone into maintaining the amenities[8].

The following year the railings were discussed in the press once more. "If the Ministry of Works will tell Derbyshire people what the situation is, and categorically prove to us that these railings are really required and are being made use of, then the county is ready to help. But until such definite assurances are forthcoming we hope our public authorities authorities will oppose further devastation of railings in their respective areas. ... Months and months ago the railings surrounding the Hall Leys Park, Matlock, together with those of many private owners were removed to meet what we were told was the urgent demand for scrap metal". Complaints were made as the railings were allowed to rust and were "aggravating the eyesore which already exists at the Bakewell Road entrance to the town[9]

The shelter today
The tramway shelter today, side view
There is a larger picture elsewhere on this website

1. "Matlock, The Park". Frith's Series pub. F. Frith and Co. Ltd, Reigate. No. A.F.S. MTK 2 Not posted. © Ann Andrews collection.
2. "The Park, Matlock". Published by A. W. Gessey, Bank Road & Dale Road, Matlock. No. 153. Posted in Matlock on 16 Jul 1941.
3. Photograph © Paul Kettle.
Researched, written and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, March 8, 1899. The purchase of the Hall Leys had already been announced in "The Derby Mercury", 4 Jan 1899.

[2] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited. Mr. Knowles died later that year. Also see About Matlock Bridge.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, April 19, 1899.

[4] See the web page about Mrs. Robert Wildgoose.

[5] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock .. " as above. Also see page about Mrs. Robert Wildgoose for more details of the ceremony.

[6] Waite, Glynn (2012) "The Matlock Cable Tramway", Pynot Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9562706-5-8. Glynn has managed to find a photograph of the shelter being taken down, with a working tram next to it. The tram was scheduled to stop running on 30th Sept 1927, but it stopped working on 23 Sep., 1927 and wasn't repaired.

[7] Waite, Glynn ... He mentions that two closeable sections, not part of the original building, were re-erected not far away, One was demolished and destroyed whilst the other is now at the National Tramway Museum at Crich.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", 31 July 1942. Damage Caused to Hall Leys, An Appeal by Matlock Council.

[9] "Derbyshire Times", 23 July 1943. Notes by the Way.