Smedley's was described, under the sub-heading "Smedley's Home
of Health" in "Truth",
a supplement published for the hydro in 1926, as follows:
"Overlooking the valley of the Derwent from an altitude of
500 feet above sea-level, Smedley's famous "Hydro", consisting
of a long line of handsome buildings with spacious grounds and
many fine trees, makes an interesting feature on the hillside known
as Matlock Bank. Its windows and balconies, and the terraces that
range the south-western slopes of the hill, command expansive views
of picturesquely undulating Derbyshire countryside, bounded by
High Tor, Masson, and the castle-capped Riber Hills. Pine-clad
peaks tower protectingly above the house to the north-east, and
afford ample shelter from the more rigorous winds. Yet, by reason
of all its eminence and aspect, Smedley's gets the full benefit
of the south and west, and also enjoys a maximum of sunshine. The
air is dry and rather bracing, and the water, of which a plentiful
supply is derived from the high and open moorland reaches which
stretch mile after mile to the northwards, is of exceptional softness
The hydro clearly used this image in its publicity material and
as a postcard for many years. For example, if you look at the
right hand end of the building, you will notice that the chimney
of the boiler house is not shown - it was erected in 1894
and over thirty years before the picture was published in "Truth".
By 1926 Smedley's could accommodate 400 people. "It
is spacious and elegant in design, well-lighted, and well-ventilated
; and in cold weather, a carefully controlled central-heating installation
keeps all bedrooms and corridors at an even temperature with the
"Truth" claimed that life at Smedley's need never
be dull. There were electric bathrooms, with special rooms "reserved
for Galvanic, Faradale, high frequency, ionisation, diathermy and
ultra violet treatment". Radiant heat baths had been used for
some years and a "new full Downing bath of the latest pattern" had
just been added. There
were also Turkish and Russian baths.
Other treatments available at Smedley's were:
Rain or needle baths.
Spray baths, general and local.
Sponge or hip baths.
Shallow or long baths.
Sitz baths, hot, cold and flowing, etc.
Foot baths, the same.
Head, eye, ear, and nose baths.
Ascending douches and spray baths.
Douches, vertical, horizontal, hot and cold.
Rectal and vaginal douches.
Douches, local and spinal, hot and cold, successive and alternate.
The Aix douches and Vichy douche.
Steam boxes and vapour baths, both for general and local purposes.
Domestic plunge baths in private suites.