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Matlock Bath: The Fish Pond, late 1920s
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The Fish Pond, Matlock Bath, donated 2003, Image 5
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Fish Pond, before WW1

Visitors - Travelling by Motor Charabanc

It may say Matlock on the top card, but this is Matlock Bath's Fish Pond, almost opposite the hotel of the same name. Bank holidays and summer weekends saw the pond surrounded by visitors anxious to feed the very large fish that swam in the thermal water and look at the large piece of tufa stone in the middle that grew larger with every passing year. Although the card wasn't posted it dates from the late 1920s, so just before the fire that destroyed the Royal Hotel (formerly the Old Bath Hotel). We can just see the hotel building amongst the tree about the fountain's plume.

It is interesting to note that the buildings on the opposite side of the main road from the Pavilion have changed significantly from the early pictures. Matlock Bath UDC had placed an advertisement in the local press in 1920 for tenders for public lavatory accommodation and they had been built opposite the Grand Pavilion under the road leading to the Royal Hotel[1]. There is now a shelter here.

One of the thermal mineral springs supplying the fishpond with water failed in April 1924. It was said that it had flowed continuously since 1696 as the same water source also supplied the Royal Hotel. As the fish were one of the main visitor attractions, the prospect of them dying was a major problem. Fortunately, a calamity was avoided as an adjacent spring saved the day when it was found that it was still running so it was connected to the pond. The fish, which included dace, barbel and goldfish, were described as "of abnormal size" as they had been overfed by the tourists[2].

Behind the pond, on the left, is the grand Pavilion, formerly the Kursaal; it is now the Mining Museum. There is some kind of large vehicle parked on the forecourt, probably a charabanc as the number 17 (or 117) is written across the destination board. It was going to, or had been to, Alton (Towers), Matlock and Matlock Bath. It is just below the lamp post in the centre of the picture, although it is partly hidden by the shrubbery surrounding the pond.

The postcard was also printed as black and white and sepia versions.

The spire in the background belongs to Holy Trinity Church.
About Holy Trinity Church

See FAQ: Tufa for a description of how tufa is formed.

1."Fish Pond, Matlock". Image kindly donated by Photo-Ark © 2003. Publisher unknown.
2. "Fish Pond, Matlock Bath". No. 118. Published by A. W. Gessey, Bank Road & Dale Road, Matlock. Printed in England. A real photograph. There are several versions of this image, not all of them show a publisher's name. © Maureen Smith collection.
Researched and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only


[1] Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 14 May 1920.

[2] "Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 18 April 1924.