Three postcards of the Grand Pavilion, all taken in the 1920s.
On both the top and second card, below, we can see part
of the Fish Pond Hotel; in the 1920's the proprietress was
The first image (Matlock Bath at Sunset) is the earlier of
the two; what is interesting is that what had been a very
large sign advertising the Fish Pond Stables on the side
of the shop next door has
been painted over. However, on the second picture all evidence
of the sign has gone, indicating that the side wall of the
shop next door had perhaps been rebuilt. The hotel had also
been repainted in the intervening years; what looks like
a large window on the first floor of the first view was actually
two windows with a darkly painted sign between them. Perhaps
this was painted over when the new wooden sign, shown below,
was put in place.
The large building on the far side of the Fish Pond from
the photographer was burned down in 1929 and was never
rebuilt. On the roof of the building are the words "Boden's
Restaurant"; it had been used as a restaurant before
the First War but after the war it became the
The second card shows that the Grand Pavilion Theatre was
running the silent film "If Business Interferes",
made by F.B.O. in 1925 and starring Dorothy Revier. Other
cast members were Ford Sterling, Robert Agnew and Thomas
Rickets. Although this card was stamped 15 May 1938 on the
back, the photo for the card was taken well before then;
it will have been taken in 1927. In
the bus stop area is a woman with sign board; she was selling
linen at 2d though it is unclear what was actually on offer.
By the time this picture was taken the relatively narrow
entrance opposite the Pavilion's main door, where the boy
is standing in the top picture, had gone and the bus stop
and seating area had been enlarged.
The third picture shows the Pavilion from the north and
includes the Fish Pond, with the fountain in the large tufa
rock. There is a car outside the Pavilion's main entrance
and a bus travelling towards Cromford on the right. We can
see the redesigned entrance layout and bus stop area.
At the end of 1927 the finances of Pavilion were causing
some concern amongst certain members of the local Council,
even though the car park was making money. At a monthly meeting
at the end of December they discussed letting the building,
which they had run as a picture house for some considerable
time. Councillor Lubin G Wildgoose, who lived in Matlock,
said the Pavilion had lost £820
the previous year, a loss equal to 2s. 7d. rate on the assessment
of Matlock Bath. Councillor Wildgoose questioned the necessity
of keeping the building for the benefit of the trade of Matlock
Bath. However, Mr. le Blanc Smith of Matlock Bath pointed
out that Matlock Bath had willingly born the burden before
the amalgamation of the two Councils (Matlock UDC with Matlock
Bath & Scarthin Nick UDC), and "it would hard lines
if the Pavilion was now closed in their faces". The
decision was deferred until end of finacial year.
The heated discussions continued in 1928 following a proposal
by Mr. F. D. Baxter to close the Pavilion Cinema because
of its heavy losses. Having appointed a special sub-committee
to go into the whole question of the Pavilion, the Council
decided to continue showing pictures though the only way
they could economise was to sack both the violinist and bass
player. This meant that two people were out of a job. It
was also decided to improve the lower room and make it fit
for catering and dancing. Mr. Randle, who had been the manager,
asked to be relieved of his duties and the Council decided
to manage the building with a sub committee!
Matlock Bath did not enjoy a good summer season in 1929.
It is hardly surprising as two buildings close to the Pavilion,
the Glove Factory
premises and the
Royal Hotel, had gone. The slump in trade led to Councillor
Charles Frederick White putting the following resolution
before a Council meeting in early September:
"That this council views with alarm the continued and
increasing financial loss on the Pavilion and pleasure
grounds at Matlock Bath, and recommends to the Pleasure
Grounds Committee and sub-committee the urgent need for
curtailing the expenditure and the giving up of unprofitable
and unnecessary undertakings".
White's resolution was defeated, but not before one of the
sub-committee, Mr. Sadler, had offered his resignation as
a result of what was said to be the carping criticism of
both him and the sub-committee by Mr. White. In
retrospect it seems a strange irony that, almost twenty years
after his father (also Charles) had done all in his power
to get the Pavilion built, his son wanted it to be closed.
History shows that
the Pavilion survived the various crises, but the late 1920s
had been turbulent.