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Jubilee Bridge and Derwent, Matlock Bath
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Boating on the River Derwent

From the Heights of Jacob, 1908

The Promenade 1905

Matlock Bath Today (6)
shows the bridge in the original colours

(scroll down)

The sepia image of Jubilee Bridge (above), the coloured postcard slightly lower down the page and the black and white version at the bottom of the page were first published by Valentine's in 1907.

"In 1887 an iron bridge of 85 feet span was constructed, at a cost of £230, connecting the promenade with Lovers' Walk, and at the same time the Promenade was laid out at a cost of £700[1]". It was made by the Butterley Company and was described by Benjamin Bryan[2] as "a light iron openwork bridge" ... "supported on stone piers".

The structure was designed by Thomas Gillott, M. Inst. C.E. Engineer to the Butterley Company and manufactured at their ironworks, with the woodwork sub-contracted to Mr. C. C. Brentnall of Riddings. The abutments were built "in solid ashlar masonry... spaced 77 feet between the faces so the full waterway was maintained". All the stonework, including dressed bed stones and four dressed stone pilasters, was carried out by Mr. Andrew Bridge of Matlock and followed Mr. Speed's plans. The bridge was originally painted "in four colours - the outer faces of the main girders ... a warm stone, and the inner parts a blueish grey ... The scroll work is painted a deep chocolate, and the finials picked out in golden yellow. The many visitors was a major consideration so the platform area was designed to take total or partial loads of 100lbs. per square foot."[3].

Coloured Postcard of Jubilee Bridge and Derwent, Matlock Bath
The bridge colour has been filled in with a reddish brown. For much of its life it was
painted a somewhat utilitarian dark green, but recent research has shown the original colour.
It has now been painted to replicate as closely as possible the way it looked in 1887.
The card's sender wrote "We are having a champion time Fine weather so far"

The iron bridge was placed in position on 14 June, 1887 in time for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria eight days later. It was an immensely significant event for the village as, until then, the only access to the Lovers' Walks had been by ferry[4]. As it was being erected there was a minor drama: "On Tuesday morning, while workmen were engaged in preparation for the erection of the new iron bridge, one of their number missed his foothold and fell into the river. The Derwent at this point is rather deep, but a boat was put off to the man's rescue, and he was lifted in and conveyed to the bank, not much worse for the immersion[5]".

To celebrate the Jubilee itself, when the whole county was infected with celebration fever, beacon fires were lit on Masson at 10.00 p.m. on 22nd June, 1887 and a total of thirty-nine were visible from there on surrounding hills[2].

Bridge 3
Untitled [Jubilee Bridge and Derwent, Matlock Bath], 1907.

This third version was published in snapshot format rather than as a post card and shows us a little more of the river as there are boats tied up on the river's left bank. In early 1906 higher railings and hedging were introduced along the promenade's boundary with the main road; the new fencing and young plants can be seen in all three pictures. There is a slight mark on the third image, which can be seen in one of the fields of Upper Wood, but this must have occurred in printing as there are no other differences. Even the smoke rising from the chimneys has been checked to ensure it is identical in all three pictures!

If these images are compared with the Postcards of Matlock Bath, about 1890 (elsewhere on the website) you will notice that additional houses have been built in the Upperwood Road.

1. Sepia image of "Jubilee Bridge and Derwent, Matlock Bath" is one of several on a folding letter card. No.58612, first published by Valentine in 1907. This image re scanned May 2009.
2. Hand coloured postcard "Jubilee Bridge & Derwent, Matlock Bath", Valentine Series, No.58612, first published in 1907. Posted at Matlock Bath on 21 Sep 1911. The original image was replaced in Apr 2019.
3. Untitled [Jubilee Bridge and Derwent, Matlock Bath], 1907. One of a series of Valentine's snapshots - photographs of Matlock Bath - originally in a card folder.
All images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to onsite transcripts):

[1] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1908

[2] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish", London and Derby.

[3] "Derbyshire Times", 13 August 1887. The Matlock Jubilee Pleasure Grounds. The Bridge.

[4] There are several pictures of the ferry on site, including The Ferry and the River Derwent, 1905 and On the Lovers' Walk - and the Ferry, 1900

[5] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 8 June, 1887. Accident in the Derwent.

You may like to read more onsite information:
From Lover's Walk, Jubilee Bridge, about 1900-05 has a little more about the bridge
Matlock Bath's Main Attractions