The top picture was taken from an upstairs window of one of the Crown
Square shops. The local council still maintains the immaculate
formal gardens and carefully trimmed hedges in this section of
the park (see bottom image). But in 1951-2, when this image
was most likely taken, the Hall Leys had been refurbished. In the
summer of 1950 there
had been a very critical Council meeting when the Finance Committee
met to discuss the park's takings. Councillors commented on the
state of the tennis courts, the miniature golf greens and the bowling
greens. Their condition was described by some members as deplorable.
Councillor Beddington observed that in post war Britain money
was not so plentiful and, of course, rationing did not end until
1954 as certain things were scarce. Whilst Cllr. Eldridge felt
that no piece of park in the country was more overworked than the
Hall Leys as it was open for seven days each week another councillor,
E. C. P. Stevens, noted that they would be committed to heavy
expenditure before the end of the year.
The photograph below, taken probably at the end of the Second
World War, tells a slightly different story as the beds, hedges
and plant containers do not look as well cared for.
The park from Crown Square. No date, but probably late 1940s.
Some of the people seated and facing Crown Square could have been
waiting for the bus.
Note the female bottom left is wearing the uniform of the ATS.
During the War, in July 1943, the
Derbyshire Times reported on the general dissatisfaction
about the fate of railings that had been both in the park and around
the town. Several
months before, these railings had been removed to meet what was
supposedly an urgent demand for scrap metal by the Ministry of Works.
Unfortunately, they were then dumped in a scrap iron yard on Bakewell
Road and left for all to see.
Nothing was done and the railings were allowed to rust. It was pointed
out that whilst the Council and the home owners had been willing
to help, the railings were not given to the nation to create an
The man in this picture is standing almost
where the floodwater reached
in November 2000.
See: Flooding in the Matlocks - scroll
down to the last group of pictures.
After the War there was a need to get the town's tourism up and
running. A Guide book from around 1950 described the park. "We
are soon in Matlock [from Matlock Bath], and crossing the river
we see ... on our right the Hall Leys. Beautifully laid out, the
Hall Leys, which is only one of the many public parks, has much
to offer the visitor ; a boulevard runs along the river band to
a footbridge leading to Pic Tor. ... On the Hall Leys are facilities
for tennis, bowls, bunker and scenic golf, besides scoota boats
on the boating lake, and a miniature railway. A paddling pool,
swings and see-saws are provided for the children".
Summer 2013. The former tram shelter and gardens.
The Hall Leys park still provides
many activities for the town's visitors.