This post-war advertisement must have been amongst the last of the
hydro's larger adverts before Smedley's ceased to be an hydropathic
establishment, bringing to an end over a hundred years of trading
in Matlock. The first half of the 1950s was to prove to be turbulent
for the business.
In 1950 there was
a substantial number of permanent residents at Smedley's, it was
still providing treatments for the sick ("Invalids")
and it also catered for those wishing to holiday in the area. Lawrence
Du Garde Peach believed it was "one of the best and most up
to date hydros of its kind" in the early 1950s.
It is interesting that over sixty years later hydropathic treatments
are still available, though not at Matlock, and health farms have
taken some of the ideas first used in hydropathic establishments.
Smaller adverts than the one above continued to appeared
in the press. "Smedley's Hydro Matlock
in Picturesque Derbyshire. Famous for nearly a Century as a Curative
Resort: also provides unrivalled facilities for the holiday maker" was
one. A 1951 advertisement urged people to "Avoid the vagaries
of the English climate by staying at Smedleys, the unrivalled ALL-SEASON
RESORT for young and old, which provides a wide range of indoor
and outdoor recreational facilities. FOR THOSE SEEKING REST and
RECUPERATION, Smedley's stands pre-eminent, all treatments being
given in an extensive wing of the hydro".
Enlargement from the above.
However, in January 1950 Alderman C. F. White dropped what was described
as a bombshell, suggesting "complete severance of the County
Council from Derby", in what was said at the time to have been
the most amazing proposal ever to come before Derbyshire County Council.
Mr. White wanted the removal of the administrative offices from
Derby to Matlock, with the recommendation that the County Council
should purchase Smedley's Hydro. The Derby offices needed a great
deal of work and a move to Matlock would save them a substantial
sum of money.
In the meantime life at Smedley's went on as normal, even if it
wasn't so behind the scenes. The West Indies cricket team stayed
at Smedleys that summer when they were to play a match against Derbyshire
White's scheme was rumbling on and in December 1950 a public inquiry
was held by the Ministry of Health about the proposed County Council
move in the large room at Matlock Town Hall, which could seat more
than 300 people. The Smedley Hydropathic Co., the Council's Independent
Group and N.A.L.G.O. all opposed the idea with urban, rural and parish
councils also adding their own protests.
"The state of uncertainty persisted until June 1951 when the
then Minister of Health, Dr. Hugh Dalton, refused to confirm the
Du Garde Peach was very scathing about the County Council's motives
and believed that "if ever there was an ill-conceived scheme this
was it". He added: "Happily the scheme has not materialised, but
the harm which resulted, in the loss of clients, remains. The wide
publicity to this ill-advised suggestion is hard to overtake. ...
In some almost undefinable way it [Smedley's] is timeless".
He was not to know that just a few years later things would
Notice in the Matlock Mercury
, 7 July 1951.
Read the final stage of
the hydro's history, Matlock : Smedley's
Hydro & Grounds, 1952, & the Hydro's Closure
The hydro went on to
celebrate its centenary in 1952.
Was Red Tape at Smedley's Hydro Then", written in 1951.