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Matlock Bath: Dale Road, the County & Station and Holmefield House
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The photographer would have needed to stand in the middle of the station bridge to take this view; it is surprisingly sign free as there is nothing on the corner of Bryan's shop at the bottom of Holme Road to advertise the Heights of Abraham. The distinctive oval County and Station sign on the Holme Road corner seems a rather strange shape, but it is a trick of the light.

Although this is another rather dark image, we can make out the County and Station Hotel's other sign board just below the eaves between the upper bay windows. This had been above the door in earlier times, but it was probably easier to see from the railway station in this position. To the right of the hotel is a grocery shop with a curved window. It had been the original carriage entrance for the hotel but the entrance was partly filled in by the beginning of the 1890s and was fully converted to a shop by 1895.

Next door is Holmefield House, an 11 roomed red brick building with a restaurant in the ground floor. In 1901 Mary Glossop was letting rooms here and Samuel F. Sprinthall, a son of the lessee of the Heights of Abraham, was next door[1]. In 1905 Mr. Sprinthall advertised the restaurant, as a good business, as he was leaving the district. The rent was £50 and the property included apartments, a boat landing and fishing rights on the opposite side of the road, with no reasonable offer refused[2].

The Midland Restaurant was open for many years and some of the earliest references to it show that annual meetings of the Matlock Bath Improvements Association were held here before the first war[3]. The association had been formed to promote Matlock Bath and its meetings should have been well attended by the village's businessmen. The secretary had issued 208 invitations in 1911 but only 12 people attended in addition to the association's president Mr. J. W. Boden (of the South Parade restaurant and shop). Amongst those who were present were Mr. J. W. Boden of Edinburgh House, Mr. Bryan and Mr. Wheatcroft, as well as the Council's surveyor Mr. Carter. With the Kursaal built by this time and new shelters erected they were hoping to remove the stigma that there was nowhere to go in Matlock Bath on a wet day. It was agreed that the secretary would write to large employers, hoping they would chose Matlock Bath for their annual outings. A thousand large pictorial posters had been distributed throughout the country and 1,500 guides had been either distributed or forwarded to interested enquirers[4]. Two years later the turnout at the annual get-together was still poor; although this time there were 14 present some 102 notices had been sent out[5].

The Fowkes family were at Holmefield House by 1911[6]; Samuel Fowkes senior was then a coal merchant by trade. Their daughter Mary Ellen was to marry the boy next door, Archie Barker, in 1922[7]. The house and restaurant were advertised in 1934 but when it was re-advertised in 1937[8] the restaurant had gone, replaced by a "large shop"[9]. By 1939 Robert and Bertha Walters were at Holmefield House. Robert was described as a master Grocer as well as a special constable whilst his wife was a Grocer's shopkeeper[10]. We can just see Midland Terrace; at the outbreak of War No.3 was the home of the Bird family, Summer Cot (No.2) was empty and Elizabeth Doxey a widow, was living at Sunningdale[10].

Other pages that show the Dale Road buildings



County & Station
Hotel, 1900-1939

No date

About 1948

"Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath". No publisher, but number t 2898. Unused.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] See their entries in the 1901 census. They advertised in Kelly's 1899 Directory and Mrs. Glossop was also there in Kelly's 1895 Directory; she was shown at "Oldfield House" in both directories.

[2] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 5 October 1905. Advertisement for the Midland Restaurant (Holmefield House).

[3] "Derbyshire Courier", 12 Dec 1908. Records the association's second annual meeting being held on the premises.

[4] "Derbyshire Times", 4 Feb 1911. To advertise Matlock Bath. Prosperous Association."The annual meeting of the Matlock Bath Improvement Association, which exists for the purpose of proclaiming the attractions of the far-famed inland resort, was held, on Friday, at the Midland Restaurant, Matlock Bath".

[5] "Belper News", 7 March 1913.

[6] 1911 census, available on FindMyPast. Samuel Fowkes senior passed away in 1935. His son Samuel went on to perform in Matlock & District Operatic Society productions. See the 1938 & 1939 productions page.

[7] "Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 1 December 1922. "Quiet wedding At Bakewell". The groom's father, a licensee of the County and Station, had died.

[8] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 31 March 1934. Preliminary Advert by D. Page and Sons. DALE ROAD, MATLOCK BATH. THE Valuable FREEHOLD BUSINESS PREMISES, known as the "Midland Restaurant" and "Holmefield House," together a PLOT OF LAND immediately opposite, to be SOLD by AUCTION by Messrs. D. PAGE & SONS at the COUNTY & STATION HOTEL, MATLOCK BATH.

[9] "Derbyshire Times", 9 July 1937. To be sold or let. Holmefield House, Matlock Bath. Valuable freehold business premises.

[10] Information from the 1939 Register, available on FindMyPast.