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Matlock Bath: County & Station Hotel, 1900-1930
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1870s stereoview



Dale Road 1895



Matlock Bath & the Heights of Abraham, 1890s



Business Letterheads, Matlock Bath



The Heights of Abraham, about 1948



Holme Road to the Prospect Tower



The photograph is part of an early to mid-1930s advertisement for the County and Station Hotel at the bottom of Holme Road. It was described as a residential and fully licensed Free House and advertised Garages, Catering and Services & Satisfaction. The proprietor at the time was Joe Simpson, Jnr (of Nottingham)[1]. He was succeeded by Samuel E Robinson[2].

In 1898 the license of The Station and County Hotel [sic], Matlock Bath was transferred from Arthur William Upton to Francis Hoyland[3], who had previously been at the Rutland Arms. The Hoylands were to remain at the County and Station until the end of the First World War[4]. Mrs Lucy Canal Barker followed Mr. Hoyland[5]. Tom Motley Stokes became the licensee in 1923; he was initially granted a temporary transfer of the licence from his wife Winifred May who had held it in the name of Mrs. Wilson[6].

Matlock Bath's Police cells and police house were behind the hotel[7]. The entrance was through an archway on Holme Road, just before the sign board that is sticking out. Police Sergeant Joseph Ridd (later Superintendent J. H. Ridd) was there in 1924[8]; he was succeeded by P. s. [Police sargeant] Cappendale. A rather amusing story relating to an alleged theft from the County and Station occurred in the early hours of the morning after the Venetian Fete of 1929. Three Sheffield youths were found asleep under some canvas in Matlock Bath by the local policeman, presumably slightly the worse for wear. The officer noticed three glasses beside the boys, alleged to have been stolen from the County and Station. As the court's chairman, Mr. Key, commented that there had been an enormous amount of pilfering in the locality so he made an example of them and they were fined. It is not known if the young men had to spend any time in the cells[9].

In 1931 the Matlock adjourned Brewster Sessions spent some time considering the licence of the County and Station Hotel which had been referred for further consideration along with that for the Devonshire Hotel. The bench renewed the County and Station's licence but the Devonshire Hotel was not so fortunate[10].

To close a trust of the late Edward Wheatcroft of Matlock Bath[11], the following properties were advertised for sale at the beginning of 1932. Mr. Walter Wheatcroft, the grandson of Edward Wheatcroft of 2 Holme Road was the auctioneer and Messrs. Heny and Heny the Solicitors[12].

  1. The centrally located and fully licensed County and Station Hotel, a free house, and its garages, stabling and outbuildings.
  2. Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Holme Road.
  3. Dwelling house and Police Station, Holme Road.
  4. Corner sale shop and dwelling house known as Sheffield House, Holme Road.
  5. The Laurels, Holme Road - a stone built residence.
  6. The five Masson Cottages, Masson Road.

The photo in the advertisement above could almost have been used to advertise Walter Wheatcroft's sale as it shows not only the hotel and the entrance to the police station but also the three Holme Road houses that are just past the sign previously mentioned. Further up the hill, on the left, is where Dolly Lees ran a general store and bed and breakfast in the 1950s and 60s. This was the Sheffield House mentioned in the auctioneer's blurb[13]. It should not be confused with Sheffield House on North Parade. Much higher up the hill, on the top left of the picture are Masson Cottages. After Mr. Simpson bought the hotel in March 1932 an advertisement read "To be entirely refurnished and run as a "FREE" House at CUT prices. Old friends please note"[14].

Noel Wheatcroft advertised valuable furnishings removed from the County and Station Hotel as for sale at his Smedley Street salerooms in 1936[15] and three years later offered "the whole of the kitchen requisites and a portion of the furniture that had been removed"[16]. Also in 1939 several advertisements were published announcing that the hotel "now offered Offilers' Ales", presumably paid for by Samuel Robinson[17].


Original in the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Image scanned for this website and 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 Matlock Bath Business Letterheads, which includes both a 1934 letterhead from Joseph Simpson's time and a description of the village and the hotel. Joseph Simpson also advertised as the hotel's proprietor in Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1932.
[2] Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1941. He was the hotel manager in September 1939.
[3] "Derbyshire Times", 21 May 1898. Transfer of Licenses.
[4] The Hoylands were shown at the Hotel in the 1901 census and Kelly's Directories of 1899 | 1908 | 1916. Mrs. Hoyland and the couple's son later lived at Woodland House on Derby Road.
[5] Mrs Barker advertised in Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1922.
[6] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 19 July 1923. Mr Stokes is listed in Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1925 and 1928.
[7] See Miscellany.
[8] Whilst P.s. Ridd appears in Kelly's 1925 Directory he had been promoted the previous year ("Derbyshire Times", 29 November 1924).
[9] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 26 September 1929.
[10] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 11 March 1931. Hotel licenses at Matlock Bath. The Devonshire Hotel became the Devonshire Cafe after this.
[11] The trust referred to the Will of Edward Wheatcroft of Matlock Bath, who died at Matlock Bath on 2 Aug 1881. Probate granted at Derby 6 Sept 1881.
[12] "Derbyshire Times", 9 January 1932.
[13] Doreen Buxton and the web mistress have compared notes on this and we are both in agreement.
[14] "Nottingham Evening Post", 12 March 1932. County and Station Hotel, Matlock Bath. Purchased by JOE SIMPSON, Jr. (late Chapel St. Leonards.)
[15] "Derbyshire Times", 17 April 1936.
[16] "Derbyshire Times", 14 July 1939.
[17] Derby Daily Telegraph 20 July 1939.