Bath: Derwent Gardens from the River Derwent
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
The three cards featured on this page show the southern end of
the Derwent Gardens and were taken from the Lovers' Walks on
the opposite bank of the river. The first two images are
almost certainly based on the same negative. The roof of the
southern shed (or turn around point) of the switchback railway
can be seen in all three pictures and Holy Trinity Church is
on the hillside above.
The large tent or marquee on the riverbank was possibly erected
for a Regatta. In September 1902 the Derwent Rowing Club, which
had then only been in existence for a couple of months, held
their first regatta on the river.
This and subsequent regattas organised by the Club took place in
the switchback grounds,
then called Orchard Holme, and were held with the permission of
the owner (Mr. Herbert Buxton) and the Urban District Council.
A large number of spectators lined the sides of the course,
which was something like half a mile long and began at the Central
Ferry a little higher up the river.
The events also included swimming and water polo and these were
added to over the years. When these first two images
were taken (1907) the regatta was the sixth and was held in July.
The last river gala was staged in 1920, but did not use the racing
skiffs as the Rowing Club had ceased to be in 1919. Sadly, the
names of some of those who had taken part before the war were to
be carved on the War Memorial.
Untitled [On the Derwent, beside Derwent Gardens].
|On the edge of the riverbank is a pipe with
water pouring into the River Derwent (just below the open entranceway
of the tent). This was one of the thermal springs and would
have originally cascaded down the hillside.
Portland House, at the bottom of Clifton Road, has thermal
springs within its grounds which feeds the property's garden
fountain and a drinking fountain/basin set in the outer boundary
wall facing the river;
this was the river outlet for the springs. In Mr. Edmonds'
time at the house it is believed there were two thermal springs
(mentioned in the 1950 auction notice) and he controlled the
flows from a sort of underground sluice in what used to be
the field opposite, next to the church. One fed a small stream
that flowed through the garden on the south side of Portland
House and the other went under the northern wing of the mews
to feed the ornamental fountain within in the garden. The water
then went under the road, originally to a petrifying well behind
Clifton Cabin on the opposite side of Derby Road before being
piped down to the Derwent. It now feeds
a water feature within the Derwent Gardens.
Above the switchback is Holy Trinity Church and
next to it the Royal Hotel.
Although it is not easy to see, the undulating track of the switchback
can be seen in the shrubbery.
A couple of small sheds are on the left, a quarter of the way up
Two families were to make their home in the
Derwent Gardens over the years. In 1903 one of Herbert Buxton's
daughters was married in Australia to Arthur J Wyrill, a sea
Although it is unclear when the couple returned to Matlock
Bath, they lived in "a wooden house in an enclosure at
the back of the switchback, quite private and well hidden".
The Hardy family lived at the café and amusement arcade
during their tenure of the Derwent Gardens and would have slightly
overlapped the Wyrills. Boden and Hardy had followed on
from Mr. Hackett in the mid to late 1930s and were still there
in 1945, although for part of the war the gardens were taken
over by the Army. William H Boden was in parnership with his
his son in law Harold P Hardy. As well as running the Derwent
Gardens Cafe and restaurant, Mr. Boden was also employed at
Masson Mill cotton mill as a departmental foreman.
Business card of Hardy & Boden
1. "On the Derwent, Matlock Bath". Valentine's Series,
British Manufacture No.58611 J.V. published 1907. Not posted
2. Untitled [On the Derwent, beside Derwent Gardens].
One of a series of Valentines snapshots - photographs of Matlock
Bath - originally in a card folder.
3. "Matlock Bath. The Church from Lovers Walk". Raphael
Tuck & Sons "Silverette",
Series 600, Matlock Bath. Art Publishers to their Majesties
the King and Queen "Picturesque Derbyshire". Posted
1 Aug 1908 at Alvaston.
4. Business card of Boden & Hardy © Geoff Hardy.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 20 September 1902.
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 15 August 1903.
 Recollections of the late Mr. Frank
Clay, who helped out at the Switchback Railway on occasion.
From his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress,
some of which were written in 1998 and are still within copyright.
 See the late 18th century image
of The Cascade
near Matlock Bath
 See Portland
House, especially the 1931 advertisement.
Argus" (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 13 February
1903 published the announcement of the marriage of Ethel
Buxton and Arthur J[ames] Wyrill. After is death in 1942 his
widow went to live with her sister.
 Boden & Hardy, Derwent Gardens
amusement ground (Kelly's Directory,1941). Also Derwent Gardens
Cafe (The) (Mrs. L. W. Boden, proprss.). Mrs. Boden was at
the café in 1932. In 1925 John William
Boden ran the cafe and was also at Edinburgh House.