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Matlock Bath: Children's Corner, Grand Pavilion, 1923
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Ferry House

(one of several pages)

Kursaal/Grand Pavilion

Derwent Gardens
Boden's Cafe

This pond was sited behind the Pavilion, next to the path leading to the landing stage on this section of the river; there is a small rill on the right to feed the (thermal spring) water into it. This would have been from the same water source that was used by the Old Bath, later the Royal Hotel.

The children's area was on ground that had formerly belonged to the Ferry House, demolished to build the Kursaal (Grand Pavilion). The walls here were constructed of re-claimed tufa from the Ferry House[1]. A bowling green was installed at a similar time as part of the re-development of the site. The sign for Derwent Gardens can be seen in the centre of the image and the northern building of the switchback railway is just about discernable slightly above it and to the right. To modern eyes it seems a slightly odd feature to have installed for children.

In May 1923 the Council for the Matlocks decided to proceed with a slightly delayed plan to provide a paddling pool on the site. It was discussed alongside proposals for the ornamental lake and paddling pool on the Hall Leys, although the latter development was not agreed at the same meeting[2]. The paddling pool can't have taken long to construct as it was in use in early July. One Councillor had met an acquaintance and was told told that "they had had to take their kiddies to the new paddling pool at Matlock Bath, and that it was high time they had one at Matlock. Mr. Fletcher said the paddling pool at Matlock Bath had been crowded, and was very much appreciated"[3]. An instant hit.

The paddling pool was surrounded by a slightly raised concrete wall that young children could sit on, the water was probably around a foot deep, and the surrounds were paved. It was great fun on a warm day and well used by local families. There was an age restriction in place, but even a sign indicating the upper age limit did not deter older children who were determined to keep cool!

See FAQ: Tufa for a description of how tufa is formed.

Grand Pavilion
(Kursaal) 1910-12

Grand Pavilion
(The Kursaal) 1915

Pavilion, Obelisk & Spar Shop

Grand Pavilion,

Grand Pavilion 1920s

The Ballroom, before 1928

Grand Pavilion, 1930s

Pavilion, 1938

Industrial Exhibition 1946

Musical Festival 1961

"Children's Corner, Matlock Bath". Published by Valentine's as part of a letter card. Sepia mage No. 88727, registered in 1923.
Images © Ann Andrews collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 26 January 1912. Town and Country Gossip. The article was based on the local knowledge of Mr. J. W. Boden, who had kept the Ferry House prior to its demolition - "the materials of which form the walls on the pleasure grounds by the ferry".

[2] "Belper News", 18 May 1923. Paddling Pool For Matlock Bath. Council's Original Proposal Partially Delayed.

[3] "ibid.", 6 July 1923.