Four postcards from the earliest years of the Grand Pavilion.
Building the Pavilion was an extremely ambitious project
for a small Local Council to undertake. At the time it was
under the leadership of the then Chairman Mr. Charles
White. Permission had been granted when Royal assent had
been given to the Bill before Parliament in 1905 and the
Matlock Bath Improvement Act was passed.
This Act allowed the Urban District Council to compulsorily
purchase land and buildings for all the projects it had
in mind. One of these plans was for the Council to "erect,
furnish and maintain a pump room and to acquire mineral
and other waters". There was to be a "public
hall and offices, with all necessary buildings and conveniences
in connection therewith" and the Bill was "to
make provision for the erection, maintenance, furnishing,
equipment and removal and the letting of the pump room,
baths, and any pavilions, conservatories, waiting, refreshment,
concert, assembly or reading rooms, bandstands and other
buildings, and to authorize charges to be made for admission
thereto, and provide for the application of moneys received
The Bill becoming an Act of Parliament gave the green light
for some major changes to the village and the Kursaal was
built on land formerly occupied by stables.
was dispute before it got off the ground and
disharmony during the building when one of the two
appointed architects, a man named Hodge, was dismissed.
In 1909 the Local Government Board held enquiries
into the proposed expenditure by the Council as they (the
Council) were planning to spend £8,500 on the pump room,
In the end it cost about £10,000 to build.
Nevertheless, such a large, elegant building is a credit
to the architect(s) and would be the pride of any large
city; it is little wonder it became such an iconic symbol
for Matlock Bath. The sheer scale of this project outclassed
the earlier Pavilion in the woods (the
Palais Royal), also designed
by Nuttall. It was able to provide a much wider range for
tourists and residents to do, with the Pump Room, a sprung
dance floor (later removed) and the Electric Light Theatre
on the first floor.
The top image shows the southern side of the Pavilion with
the Pump Room closest to the viewer. This was in the part
of the building just above the female near the lamp post.
To her right is a pillar, with a sign advertising the Derwent
Gardens attached to it. Unfortunately the rest is of the
notice is unreadable.
The second postcard, above, was taken from the bottom of
the road leading up to the Royal Hotel
and the Temple with the obelisk marking the road junction.
The hard landscaping at the rear of the Pavilion, next to the
river, was unfinished; there is a pile of stone behind the
Whilst the third card doesn't have a useful postal
date, the photograph must have been taken about the same
time as the other two. Of interest in this picture are
the new trees planted in the area behind the Fish Pond
and the pile of stone in the second picture had now been
put to good use. Teas were on offer on the first floor
above the Pump Room. The three large boards near the main
door must have been advertising activities although only
the middle one, advertising a Dance, is remotely readable.
There is a man standing in the doorway who could be the
The final picture shows the Pavilion whilst it was being
built, probably at the beginning of 1910 as it looks to be
near completion. The remains of a snowfall can be seen around
the building and snow is clinging to the rocks on the hillside
behind it. The piles of building materials on the right and
behind the empty building (also shown on the second image,
above) indicate that some landscaping is about to be done
but the carriageways and paths around the Pavilion don't
appear to be finished if they are compared with image 3.
The lighting on top of the wall where the bus stop was to
be, and where seating was later provided, was also not fitted
and the fish pond had yet to be constructed. This is a rare
Matlock Bath was a spa, and kursaals were meeting places
for visitors to use in German spa towns. Calling the building
a Kursaal followed a trend at the time as several other British
resorts had Kursaals. It also distinguished it from the Pavilion
belonging to the Royal Hotel. The Grand Pavilion was a Kursaal
in more ways than one as it became the place where many young
locals met the person they married.
1. "Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath". The Cromwell Series,
pub W S F, Derby, No.581. Posted 17 Aug 1912 in Matlock Bath
2. "The Kursaal, Matlock Bath", pub Goodall, No.SH
1886. Posted 11 Oct 1912 in Dublin. Goodall was a stationer in
Crown Square - see, for example, Kelly's
3. "Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath". Valentine Series,
No number (not all Valentine's cards were). Unposted.
All the above in the collection of provided by and © Ken
4. "Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath". Published by Jackson
& Son. Unposted. © Susan Tomlinson collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.
links lead to more on site information):
 "The Times",
3 Jun 1905. Listed under the House of Lords Private Business
on House of Lords, Friday 2 June. Matlock Bath Improvement
Bill read for the third time and passed. It then had to receive
 The Royal Assent was given to
the Bill and the Matlock Bath Improvement Act became law
on 4 August, 1905. Quote from the London Gazette.
 See: Fish
Pond Stables, Providence Mine & the Mud
 "The Times",
7 Dec, 1910. Case heard by the Court of Appeal by the Master
of the Rolls. Hodge and John Nuttall were appointed architects
for the erection of a kursaal in Matlock Bath. Hodge
had prepared plans, but was dismissed before the building
was completed. He then decided to take Matlock and Scarthin
Nick UDC, together with John Nuttall, to court over money
he was owed and the case first went before Derby Assizes.
 "The Times", 27
Jan 1909. The Local Government Board investigated various public
bodies, not just Matlock Bath and Scarthin Nick Urban District
Council. Scheduled for 4 Feb 1909.
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire,