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Matlock Bath: New Bath Hotel (2)
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View from Cat Tor 1892



Derwent Gardens & Switchback (1)



Ferry House



An early twentieth century view of the hotel from Cat Tor, either very late Victorian or Edwardian.

In 1910 the hotel experienced some financial problems, which were obliquely referred to in the Derby paper. "One does not like to hear of an old establishment like the New Bath Hotel, at Matlock Bath, encountering any of the worries or anxieties that vex most mundane institutions. The New Bath is not the oldest Inn in the Matlocks, but it can, of course, boast a very considerable measure of antiquity. Sixty years ago it was known as Ivatt's and Jordan's .... has recently undergone great alterations, been refurnished, and other improvements carried out. The gardens, which are tastefully laid out, and adorned with shrubs and flowers, contain a magnificent lime tree"[1]. According to another report, the lime tree at Matlock Bath developed from a twig of a tree under which Napoleon used to sit at St. Helena, pondering his dramatic downfall[2]. An early visitor to the hotel described the tree in a poem as covering about a rood of ground and with branches being supported by forty nine stakes. Some time before 1910 a tremendous wind storm had swept through the hotel's grounds, and the lime tree suffered considerable damage[1]. The tree still looks huge in this picture, indicating that the original photograph for this card was taken before the tree was damaged[3]. On 19 July 1912 what remained of the tree was blown down, leaving only the stump[4]. What is interesting in later pictures of the hotel, after the pool was built in 1934, is that you can still see the curve of the path where the tree had been.

On the road below the hotel is a building that was used as a roadhouse but was part of the hotel, connected to it by an underground passage. In 1891 the Brewster Sessions discussed the fact that the then manager, Thomas Tyack, was using it not only as a billiard room but both stored and sold alcoholic drinks from the premises and the building did not have a separate license[5]. Behind the roadhouse you can see the edge of the tufa shelf, quarried for the stone from before the First World War[6].

Bottom right, on the banks of the river, are the Derwent Gardens with the relatively newly open Switchback Railway in the grounds. At the end of the gardens closest to the camera is what appears to be a vegetable garden and a small building, whilst at the other end of the Derwent Gardens are the buildings of the Ferry House and the Fishpond Stables which were later demolished to make way for the Grand Pavilion.

Not all the houses on Clifton Road had been built; for example Garforth, at the bottom of the path up to the Cumberland Cavern, is not on this image. However, although it is hard to see here, the wooden hut at the Clifton Road entrance to the grounds of the Palais Royal is at the bend in the road. Behind Glenside, also on Clifton Road, is a small cottage that was demolished well before the 1950s when only a few low stone walls remained.



There is more about the New Bath Hotel
   
          

"Matlock Bath, from Jacob's Heights" [sic].The caption is incorrect as the picture was taken from Cat Tor. No publisher details provided. Inland 1/2d stamp, foreign 1d. Unposted.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Pauline Jordan.
Researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only

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

[1] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 8 November 1910.
[2] "Derby Mercury", 1 August 1900.
[3] The ancient lime tree is also mentioned by Henry Moore in his guide Picturesque Excursions From Derby to Matlock Bath (1818).
[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 26 July 1912.
[5] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 29 August 1891. Brewster Sessions.
[6] Reminiscences of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress.