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Rockside Hydro, Matlock, 1908
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Rockside Hydro in 1908
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Rockside in Matlock Training College Brochure 1946-47

Summer School 1952

Staff & Students 1955

Studying at Rockside, 1954-6

Commemoration Weekends, 1955 & 1956

Staff & Students 1958

A Hydro for young and old alike!

This attractive card dates from shortly after the building was extended by the architects Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin between 1903 and 1906; the towers were built at that time. This view of the hydro is from what was the croquet lawn. "The grounds were originally laid out in the great tradition of the Victorian landscaped gardens and much of its arboreal splendour survived until the 1980s[1]". The croquet lawn was laid about 1880, when William Atkins and his sister took over the lease[2].
There is another picture of this lawn, with people playing croquet in the Just Images/Images Only section.

The Goodwin family had been running Rockside since 1894. Their establishment was advertised as a high class pleasure resort for summer and winter, with resident Lady and Visiting Physicians. The Lady Physician was Dr. Marie Orme (née Goodwin)[3]. It would be nice to think that the boy in the photograph was Christopher Orme, who was born in 1903, but it is unlikely as he would not have been old enough.

Advertisement for Rockside, 1911-12.
The "Pure Mountain Air" was said to be dry, bracing and health-giving.
The advert was a little out of date as Dr. Albert L'Estrange Orme, the Visiting Physician, had died in 1909.
He had also been the medical officer of Whitworth Hospital and had a large private practice.

Stairway, April 2005   Another stairway, April 2005
Some of the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts features of Rockside, incorporated into the Parker and Unwin design,
can be seen in the building's interior today.
Rockside, the Former Matlock Hydro has more photographs of the twenty first century restoration.

On 24 March 1910 Matlock's fire brigade heard that one of the largest of the Matlock hydros, Rockside, was on fire. The town was, according to the press reports, electrified by the frantic tolling of the fire bell at the Town Hall. The fire brigade quickly arrived at the hydro and unrolled their hoses. However, there was no fire and the hydro's manager quietly informed the visitors that all was safe. Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered but they and the fire brigade were told to go home. Unfortunately the brigade received a second report of a fire later in the day and dashed off, but they had again been hoaxed[4].

Some years later the brigade acquired a new engine and a demonstration of its power took place just below Rockside at the Wellington Street / Rutland Street junction on Saturday 28 March 1914. One of the spectators commented in the newspaper of the day that the new wing of Rockside was the last building in the world that would suffer from a fire as it was constructed of concrete and there were covered or buried girder floors, fireproof dividing walls and massive stone stairways. It had its own fire brigade and there was enough hosepipe to cover all the complex. There were also approved "chemical appliances" on every floor[5].

There is more about Rockside



From the South

Tennis 1920s




Kitchen Staff & Waitresses 1920-5

Staff Ball

Ups & Downs

Claremont & Mr Rowland

See Matlock: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (4), N - R.
The earliest of these dates from 1912, when both Miss Goodwin and Mr. John J. Goodwin were the Managers of Rockside Ltd.

The Goodwins advertised in the following on-site trade directories:
Kelly's Directory, 1895 | Kelly's Directory, 1899 | Kelly's Directory, 1908 | Kelly's Directory, 1912 (under Goodwin) | Kelly's Directory, 1912 (under Rockside) | Kelly's Directory, 1916 (under Goodwin) | Kelly's Directory, 1916 (under Rockside)

1. Postcard of "Rockside Hydro, Matlock, Derbyshire". No 1804. Posted Ipswich Dec 25 1908 and sent to Highbury, London. Message not relevant to card. There was also a black and white version.
2. Advertisement from Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1911-12).
1 and 2 In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
3 and 4. Photographs of the restored building donated to and © for the sole use of this website.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "A Matlock Bank Miscellany, Essays by Members of the All Saints' Local History Group" (2002). Essay on Rockside by Joan Hatch and June Carnell.

[2] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 6 November 1880. "The famous Hydropathic and Boarding Establishment, Rock Side, Matlock Bank, has come under new management".

[3] The Ormes, who were newly married, were living on Dale Road in the 1901 census.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Saturday 26 March 1910.

[5] "The High Peak News", 4 April 1914. There are images of the demonstration in The Vernon Lamb Archive, Matlock Events, Index