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Matlock Bridge, Pic Tor Walk, 1909
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Black and white postcard
                  of the riverside walk at the foot of Matlock's Pic Tor
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Pic Tor painting

Pic Tor Promenade

Pic Tor, the Cycle Track and Matlock Green

includes view of the front of the two temperance hotels

The Quarries

Dale Road iron bridge

Samuel Brown's first temperance hotel

In 1902 Matlock UDC had agreed to complete the footpath from Hall Leys Promenade along the riverside as far as Dale Road iron bridge, blasting the rock where necessary. Frederic Arkwright and the High Tor Company were to lease the required land to the Council and seats were to be placed at intervals along the walk[1]. By the end of March 1903 the Council had distributed the seats and the walk was almost ready[2]. Once the Pic Tor Walk was completed it was described in a 1903 Guide: "This is a newly formed, and very interesting, short walk. Go down Hall Lees by river-side towards Matlock Green. Pass through Knowlstone Place Gardens, and along by Pic Tor Rock, to Dale Road, leading into Matlock Bath Road"[3].

Whitsuntide 1904 found the Matlocks ready to receive more visitors than ever if the weather was fine and the Pic Tor Promenade was reported to be a favourite walk for tourists[4]. The visitors, whether they were staying at one of Matlock's many hydropathic establishments or had arrived by charabanc for the day, would have enjoyed strolling along the river bank.

Here are two Edwardian views of the pathway. In the middle distance of the top picture are properties on Dale Road and the railway bridge is just behind the tree in the centre of the photograph. Just below and to the right of the buildings, and actually on the riverbank, is a gap in the wall where some people are either standing or sitting. This was the garden of the former Brown's Temperance Hotel (enlarged below). Samuel Brown had run another temperance establishment in Riversdale House at the far end of Dale Road between 1876 and 1881 before moving to this end of Dale Road[5]. He and his wife were here for about nine years but following the death of his eldest daughter in 1890 Samuel seems to have become very ill, so stopped being an hotelier[6].. Miss Harriett Marriott, together with her sister Mrs. Hannah Boden, took over in 1891 and retained Brown's name[7]. John Taylor was the next proprietor and the business was eventually renamed the Trevelyan (see advert below)[8]. By 1911 the premises had become the Matlock Club, with James Hay as the steward and his wife assisting him[9]. In 1939 Walter Tyson was the steward and his wife Beatrice its stewardess[10]. A sewing shop is in the ground floor today (2017).

The Derwent Hotel was next door, closer to the railway bridge (where Mills and Black is today). Unlike Brown's it remained as a temperance hotel for many years.

Enlargement, showing the two temperance hotels, the slipway and landing stage for Brown's -
later the Trevelyan - and a rowing boat in the water.

This stretch of water was not incident free and there is a slightly amusing story from the Brown's tenure. After three men were arrested and charged with stealing salvage from the Old English Hotel following the fire there in 1884 Mrs. Mary Brown gave evidence at their trial. She recounted how she had seen a barrel floating downstream past the hotel and had allowed the men to use one of her husband's boats to rescue it. She then watched them getting the barrel onto the bank near the railway bridge[11].

1903 advertisement for the Trevelyan Temperance Hotel on Dale Road. The steps down to the
landing stage can be seen by the river's edge.
John Taylor changed the name from Brown's in early 1893.
He was followed by John Hartness Railton[12].

The hotel was under new management in 1901, with W. Coombs as the Proprietor[13].
W. Coombs is also named on this 1903 advertisement but it was Susan Coombs who ran it[14].
About 1950, when the proprietress was a Miss Winifred Loukes, the Derwent Hotel
was advertised as the only commercial hotel in Matlock that was actually on the bank of the river[15].
She was related to Mrs Dorothy Fairey who was here until 1946 but later ran the Abbey Hotel[16].

Below is a very similar view to the top image; it was taken perhaps a couple of years later. The temperance hotels are hidden by the bend in the river. However, behind the central tree is the arch of the railway bridge where it crosses the river and the square arch where the bridge spans the road. They can also be seen in the top picture, but here they are clearer.

The top postcard was sent home to his relatives by a young Australian man whilst visiting England to study music. There's another card from Phil Williamson's collection on this website.
Matlock Bath's South Parade, 1909, & Boden's Baker & Confectioner.
The same view, called "High Tor Walk, Matlock Bridge" was published as a coloured card.

There are more Williamson family postcards on Rosemary Lockie's website.
Old Postcard of The Way in from Coxbench, Little Eaton.
Old Postcard of Old Bleach Mill, Little Eaton.

Read The "Matlock Waters". A Recitation by a Member of the Matlock Band of Hope.

1 and 2. Top postcard and enlargement of "Pic Tor Walk, Matlock Bridge" kindly provided by and © Phil Williamson.
3 and 4. The two advertisements are from Heywood, Abel (1903) "Abel Heywood's Guide Books, With Cycling, Walking and Driving Routes. Matlock Illustrated". Also in the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
5. Second postcard "Pic Tor and Promenade, Matlock", published by J. Welch & Sons, Photographic Publishers, Portsmouth, No. 4016. Not posted. In the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links go to on site transcripts):

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 12 April 1902.

[2] "ibid", 28 March 1903. Matlock District Council meeting. The Pic Tor walk would be completed the following week.

[3] Ward Lock & Co's "Guide to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4), "Walks Around Matlock".

[4] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 19 May 1904.

[5] There is information about Brown's first establishment. See Matlock Bridge: Bank House, formerly Riversdale House, about 1902

[6] "Derbyshire Courier", 06 May 1890. Following Alice Maud's death her father was said to have become very ill.

[7] An advertisement for Miss Marriott when she was running Brown's on Dale Road is shown on the Matlock, Derbyshire page. She is also listed in Kelly's 1891 Directory. The sisters were living at the hotel in the 1891 census. An advertisement for Brown's subsequently appeared in the "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", of 23 July 1892 but the sisters then moved. Marriott and Boden (late of Brown's) advertised their Derwent Hotel and Hydropathic on Matlock Bank in 1893 ("Sheffield Independent", 30 March 1893).

[8] The earlier advertisement I have found for the Trevelyan was published in the "Matlock Visiting List", 19 April 1893. The proprietor, John Taylor, can be found in Kelly's 1895 Directory | Bulmer's 1895 Directory | Kelly's 1899 Directory | the 1901 census (Mrs Coombs was next door, but her temperance establishment was shown as Burton House in that census).

[9] The 1911 census is on FindMyPast.

[10] This is from the 1939 Register, also on FindMyPast.

[11] "Derbyshire Times", 15 November 1884. From evidence given by Mrs. Brown to Matlock Police Court.

[12] Kelly's 1908 Directory. Mr Railton had married Alice Moore, daughter of W. H. Moore (bakers) at St. Giles' in 1902 ("Derbyshire Times", 3 May 1902). The couple moved to Stockport where Mr. Railton worked as a draughtsman in the Inland revenue Valuation Department (1911 census)

[13] "Matlock Visiting List", 21 August 1901 shows W. Coombs as the proprietor.

[14] See the 1901 census. Susan Coombs is also listed here in "Matlock Visiting List" of 14 August 1901 and 19 May 1903. She advertised in Kelly's 1908 Directory. By 1911 she had moved further down the road and the Leach family were at the Derwent Hotel.

[15] "The Matlocks, Derbyshire", published about 1950 and printed by Geo. Hodgkinson, Printer, Matlock.

[16] Dorothy Fairey was still at the Derwent Hotel in 1941 (Kelly's Directory) but she and her husband George moved to the Abbey Hotel (formerly Jackson House) in 1946. See: Matlock: General View from Jackson Tor, 1904-10.