Around the time the Pic Tor Promenade was laid out in 1902-3
Matlock Council bought several boats and a boathouse
from Mr. Walton. This was their first direct involvement with boating.
The Council did not not want to let the boats out for hire themselves,
and their idea was to lease the right and the boats and they advertised
They also converted the old boathouse at the end of the Pic Tor
Promenade into a drill hall for the Matlock Volunteers.
In 1909 one of the Council's ideas for the development of the
Hall Leys was "a boat landing for the resuscitation of boating
on the Derwent".
Boating was banned for some time after a double fatality near
Pic Tor promenade and the boats then in use were scrapped.
However, in 1929 the Council decided to re-introduce boating as
a leisure activity on the River Derwent. A Council sub-committee
was given the sum of £50 to spend on the preliminary arrangements.
By August they were discussing how to give Matlock one of
the finest boating stretches in the Midlands and
even contemplated making the river Derwent about three feet deeper.
The alteration would increase the navigable stretch of water to
about two miles, from Artists' Corner to Darley Meadows. The Council
visited Artists' Corner and considered the proposal for the erection
of a weir which would raise the level of the river. They also contacted
the manager of the colour works about raising their weir by three
The photograph above would have been taken from the river bridge
connecting the Hall Leys with Old English Road as there was a landing
stage on the Hall Leys side of the riverbank where the boats could
be hired. The edge of it can just be seen in the bottom right corner,
where the bows of two of the rowing boats are moored.
The narrow landing stage on the riverbank was reached by descending
two sets of steps from the Broad Walk. The boat station looks
newly built in the second image, which probably
dates from the 1930s.
Presumably the man holding onto one of the pleasure boats was
a council employee. A few people
were watching the boaters, including three tennis players, whilst
others are standing on the platform on the water's edge waiting
their turn. There are two lifebuoys, one at the bottom of the
steps and the other hanging from a tree on the walk. They were
used from time to time.
The small hut on the Broad Walk has a sign next to it,
which would have shown the tariffs. Behind the hut you can see
the bandstand and the pavilion, and the shops next to the cinema
on Causeway Lane.
The third postcard is probably of a marginally later date than the
others above. The moored boats now had numbers on the bow which are
not on the other pictures.
Boats could still be hired in 1942 when there was an unfortunate
fatality involving a young Council employee who was taken ill and
drowned whilst his friend had gone for help.
The final picture is a view of the Derwent from Matlock Bridge. The
boat station is just visible under the left hand end of the footbridge
that connects the Hall Leys with Derwent Avenue and Dale Road.