Images Index> 20th & 21st Century, Matlock> This page
Matlock: Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment Brochure, 1939
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
p.1 : Title page (shown above)
20th & 21st C Images
Next Image
Previous Image
More Matlock Pictures
18th & 19thC
"Just" Images
General Info
About Matlock
Water Cures
Find a Name

Starting out

Mr. Smedley's Baths, Boxes & Douches

Prospectus 1885-6

The Inter-War Years

1952, to closure

Smedley's brochure,
about 1925.

Harry Douglas, the hotel's Manager, gave many Organ Recitals

Matlock Bath: Royal Hotel Brochure, about 1908

Thomas Ash
can be seen on:

Matlock Board School,
Ist Class Boys

Primitive Methodist Young Mens Class

Dr. G. C. B. Harbinson, who had been at Smedley's for forty years, passed away in 1939. His colleagues had been Dr. MacLelland and Dr. H. Rees Davies, though the former was shortly to resign for health reasons. The brochure had to be redone. When this version of Smedley's brochure was printed the two physicians running the medical department were Geoffrey Holmes M.B. (Cambs.). B.Ch., Consultant and H. Rhys Davies, B.A., M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O. (see page 21). It was only a few months before the beginning of World War Two, when Smedley's was requisitioned.

This booklet belonged to Thomas Ash (1887-1965), a masseur and Assistant Head Bathman at Smedley's in 1939, and has been in his family's possession ever since. It was clearly something Thomas used as he has made notes on such things as the increase in prices of the treatments and general changes into the running of the hydro. These were all things that he would have needed to know about. The outer cover is still in place but is now considerably the worse for wear so has not been scanned. It has, however, protected the brochure's contents.

Thomas was employed by Smedley's before WW1. Because of his nursing experience he was assigned to the RAMC when he joined up; he served as a stretcher bearer and in advanced field dressing stations on the western front. He returned to Smedley's post war and remained in their employ until the hydro closed in 1955 when he, like others, were forced to find alternative work.

p.2 : View of Hydro and Grounds

p.3 : Foreword

p.4 : Entrance Hall (and lounge corridor that was 100 feet long - see p.13 - though not labelled)

p.5 : Tariff

There were a number of alterations on this page with various price rises, a query about a motor omnibus meeting trains
and the Hall Porter providing the bedroom key crossed through.

p.6 : Dining Room and Empire Room

p.7 : Table d'Hôte Meals and other services

Interestingly, the midday meal had changed from being "Dinner" to "Luncheon"
whilst the evening meal had become "Dinner" instead of "Supper".
The handwritten text shows that a special Sunday meals service became unavailable, with each day treated the same.
Morning and Evening Prayers were eventually discontinued, the house library appears to have gone too.
Newspapers could be bought from the Sale Room rather than in the entrance hall.

p.8 : Lounge, Small Lounge and Card Room

p.9 : History of Establishment

p.10 : A Shady Walk and Some of the Lawns

p.11 : History of Establishment Continued, a quote from "Bemroses' Guide"[3] and an insert showing the Putting Green.

By this time there were over 260 bedrooms.
Harry Douglas, the Hydro's Manager, was very proud of the Farm.

p.12 : The Winter Garden and Fernery, also The Fernery.
The Chinese style lamps can also be seen in another picture of the Winter Garden (see bottom of that page).

p.13 : Amusements, including image of the large bowling green

p.14 : Amusements Continued - Golf Course, Tennis Courts and Riding

p.15 : Amusements Continued - Billiard Room

p.16 [part of double page spread] : Croquet Lawns, exterior view of the Winter Gardens and Hydro and Grounds (part).
This last image can also be seen on The Inter-War Years

p.17 [part of double page spread] : Hydro and Grounds (part), which can also be seen on The Inter-War Years,
another view of them and High Tor

p.18 : Smedley's as a Health Resort by the late W. B. Hunter, M.D. with photo of the Reading and Writing Room

p.19 : Smedley's as a Health Resort, Continued, showing a Lounge on the Bedroom Corridor

p.20 : Smedley's as a Health Resort, Continued, Images of The Tennis Courts

p.21 : Medical Department, shows the Vichy Douche

Note: Geoffrey Holmes died suddenly in 1943, aged 57. He had been appointed as the senior physician at Smedley's following
the death of Dr. G. C. R. Harbinson. He was consulting physician at Smedley's Memorial Hospital as well as consulting at
other establishments and fulfilling roles on numerous committees. He had lived at Malvern House.

p.22 : Ladies' and Gentlemen's Turkish Baths

p.23 : Bath Arrangements

Note: the attendance time at the bath house was changed by 30 minutes;
the start time for Turkish and Russian Baths for gentleman was also adjusted by 30 minutes;
the bathmen and nurses became attendants and their weekly charge was raised by over £1;
the priced of various massages rose by 6d.

p.24 : Bath Arrangements, continued. Gentlemen's General Bathroom and interior of another.

p.25 : Bath Arrangements, continued. Prices, etc., for various treatments

p.26 : The Baths &c., with photo of a bathroom corridor

p.27 : The Baths &c., continued. Shows Interior of Plombières Bath

p.28 : Images of High Frequency Electricity and Ultra Violet Ray Bath treatment areas

p.29 : The Baths &c. Continued

p.30 : The Baths, continued, with Diathermy Treatment Room photo

p.31 : Sale Room and The Neighbourhood

p.32 : Drives from Matlock (Matlock and District Map

"Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment Matlock. Established 1853."This was a later version of Smedley's Hydro in-house brochure, publication dated about 1935. (PC)
Prospective visitors could write to the Manager and request a copy.
Images from the brochure © Ray Ash.
Page written, provided by and © Ann Andrews.

References (coloured links lead to more on site information):

[1] Ben Rhydding opened on 29th May 1844 (from various contemporary reports in "The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent" and "The Bradford Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter"). Hall's "Days in Derbyshire", 1863, Chapter 5 mentions Smedley's stay at Ben Rhydding.

[2] See Water Cures.

[3] "Bemroses' Guide" is on this site. The quotation on page 11 of the brochure can be found under Hydropathy, page 42.