The 1930s began for the Pavilion with a Great Exhibition and
ended with the War and the fitting of an air raid siren.
For ten days in April 1931 Matlock Chamber of Trades held
a home, industry, and fashion exhibition, which was attended
by 5,000 more people than were expected. It included an exhibition
of reptiles and animals by the explorer Major Sarlls which
proved to be very popular with local schoolchildren who were
given free admission on the first day. There was even a ladies
day which was opened by the Marchioness of Hartington.
However, at the end of the year Council members expressed
their concern about both Pavilions and Mr. W. Jacques said
there was no inside place of amusement for residents or people
in the surrounding district. Both he and L. G. Wildgoose
thought that Matlock Bath needed livening up, considering
it high time both Pavilions were advertised although the
latter observed that it was no use surrounding possible lettings
of the Grand Pavilion by so many restrictions that nobody
would want to use it.
The Operatic Society booked the Pavilion for a performance
of "The Yeomen of the Guard" in 1932 as
they were unable to use the Cinema House in Matlock, but
lost £63 18s. 4d.
Whether this was because the venue was unable to hold enough
people is unclear. Plays were also performed. For example,
in 1934 the Matlock Bath Amateur Players presented "The
Whole Town's Talking" in front of an audience of
about 500 people.
The building was also used for balls, and at least three
police balls were held here in the 1930s.
The postcard above has the words "Grand Pavilion Theatre"
written above the main door and "Picture House" is
at the top of the two arched recesses beside the door and
glass cases showing what was on and pictures of the stars.
Film shows, which began in the late 1920s, restarted
in 1932 after a break of almost two years; the then proprietor
of the Pavilion Cinema invited old-age pensioners living
within a five-mile radius to visit the cinema free of charge
In 1936 Matlock Cinemas, Ltd. leased the Grand Pavilion from
Matlock Urban Council. The lease stipulated that the cinema
company should "provide high-class entertainment at
suitable times," and the building would be open on Sundays.
The postcard shows happier times in the 30s. A couple
of coaches were in the Pavilion's car park and people were
clustering round the fish pond, undoubtedly admiring the
fish. Cycles were propped against the kerbside. Cycling to
Matlock Bath was very popular, and continued to be so after
the War. Cyclists would travel with members of their particular
club from other parts of the county, eat an egg and chip
tea (with bread and butter) in one of the cafes that catered
for cyclists and return home the same day.
The second postcard dates from the early 1930s and shows the
Pavilion's car park full of buses, cars and a charabanc or
two, all of which had conveyed non-cycling visitors to the
village for the day. The area in front of the Pavilion's
main door was completely full of vehicles. Whilst it is hard
to see, both the lamp that used to be on the obelisk at the
bottom of Temple Road is visible and one of the transepts
of Holy Trinity Church can also be seen. The church spire
isn't in the photo, though.
The third picture was dated Summer 1938. It was the last
full season before the Second World War and it had been
successful for both Matlock and Matlock Bath. A Council
meeting in October learned from the statement of pleasure
grounds receipts that there had been "increases
in almost every direction".
The revenue from the Grand Pavilion and its parking ground
was £297 0s 3d compared with takings of £263
4s 3d. in the previous year.
War was declared on 3 September 1939 and a couple of weeks
later Matlock Cinemas, Ltd., announced that they would not
show pictures at the Grand Pavilion for the time being because
of the War. The County A.R.P. Controller informed the Council
that an air-raid warning siren was to be installed at Matlock