Images Index> 20th & 21st Century, Matlock> This page
Smedley's Hydro Grounds, Matlock, 1926 - from "Truth"
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
The Lower Walk
20th & 21st C Images
Next Image
Previous Image
More Matlock Pictures
18th & 19thC
"Just" Images
General Info
About Matlock
Water Cures
Find a Name

Mr. Smedley's Baths, Boxes & Douches

The inter-war years

"Covered verandahs and open balconies on the sunny side of the building enable invalids to promenade or recline, and enjoy air and sunshine in well-sheltered conditions. Below them, some eight acres of park-like grounds extend down the hillside, their gravelled walkways and terraces liberally bestrewn with picturesque bowers and alcoves. Here, provision is made for the sports lover in the form of excellent courts (three hard and three grass) for lawn tennis, as well as a bowling green and croquet lawn ; whilst for the golfer there is an excellent 18-hole golf course - laid out by Tom Williamson, the Notts professional - within twenty minutes' walk. During August, bowls, tennis, croquet, and golf tournaments are arranged by the management, and handsome prizes are provided.

Mention must also be made of the Smedley farm of over 300 acres, from which the establishment derives a constant supply of pure fresh milk, new laid eggs, poultry, and the best quality beef, mutton and pork. This, developed like the hydro itself from humble beginnings, has now grown into a farm of considerable dimensions, of which the management is justly proud, and visitors who are interested are warmly invited to make a tour of inspection"[1].

William Knowles, who was both a Gardener and a Musical Instrument Dealer with premises on Smedley Street, looked after Smedley's gardens for a record 51 years. He was a specialist in calceolarias, which apparently made quite a stir in the gardening world. He died on 5 Jan 1914, aged 77[2]. His son William worked as his under gardener. The younger William passed away on 22 March 1929.

Here we can see one of the paths in the grounds; some of these walkways follow the contour lines along the terraces whilst others climb the hill. The picturesque shelters, which have distinctive roof overhangs reminiscent of Matlock Bath station, have seats in them. They are still in the grounds today, although the avenue of lime trees bordering the path is considerably taller.

View Smedley's Christmas and New Year Menus & Programmes:

1926 & 1927
1928 & 1929
1930, 1931, 1932, 1934
1946, 1947, 1948 & 1949

1. "Matlock: Smedley's Hydro (Lower Walk)" published by The Photochrom Co. Ltd., London and Detroit, U.S.A. Printed in England. Not posted. © Ann Andrews collection. The same image was published in "Truth" but this card is slightly clearer.
2. Banner from "Truth" © Jane Leslie collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Truth" Special Publicity Supplement - No.77. The Quest of Health. 25th Aug., 1926. Printed for the Proprietors by St. Clement's Press, Ltd., Portugal Street, Kingsway, W.C.2 and Published by the Advertising Department of the Truth Publishing Co. Ltd at 10 Cartaret Street, Westminster, S.W.1 (with thanks to Jane Leslie). Also see: Smedley's brochure of about 1925.

[2] "Manchester Evening News", 6 January 1914. William Knowles is listed in the 1851 census | the 1861 census | the 1871 census | the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census | Kelly's Directory 1891 | Kelly's Directory 1895 | Kelly's Directory 1899.