This is an excellent view of Matlock Bath's Promenade and Gardens in
the early years of the twentieth century, probably dating from
1900. The view is towards the Heights of Jacob and on the right
are the shops and businesses of Derwent Terrace on North Parade,
all of which would have enjoyed a wonderful outlook. The building
furthest right housed the Derby and Derbyshire Bank Company Limited
and next door is the relatively newly built Derwent
Terrace Wesleyan Methodist Church. An enlargement of the church
is featured below.
The promenade was, together with Jubilee Bridge, part of a scheme
to commemorate the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria's reign in 1887.
Matlock Bath and Scarthin Nick Local Board acquired land belonging
to Mrs. Rogers and Messrs Greenhough, Buxton and Howe on the north
side of the River Derwent and on the south side a portion of Lovers'
Walks, which was the property of F. C. Arkwright, and they were
to connect the two pieces of land with the bridge.
A free public Promenade opposite Derwent Parade, 300 yards in length,
had been paid for by public subscription in 1873-4. The 1887
Promenade was extended by a further 100 yards over land leased
at a rent from Mr. Henry Cooper.
It ran from the Midland Hotel to the opposite side of the road
from the Fountain Baths.
April 1887 a local press report commented that the gardens were
sufficiently near to completion to show what an immense improvement
they would be for "this long neglected although beautiful
health and pleasure resort". Matlock Bath's visitors would
notice an improvement to "what was last year a most untidy
and slovenly frontage on the river side of the Derwent Parade." It
was "transformed into a very beautiful piece of ornamental
ground, and a promenade of no mean order, sixteen feet wide and
nearly 400 yards long. The ground lying between the new Promenade
and the Derwent Parade is intersected by cross walks ten feet wide,
connecting the Promenade with the Parade, and the remaining portion
is brought down to a level for grass, upon which ornamental dwarf
shrubs are tastefully arranged". Both the design and the work
were undertaken by Mr. E. Speed.
The river wall had been raised by three feet to bring the edge
up to a proper level, enabling the ground to be widened from six
to eight feet. It was intended to fence the area off from the Derwent
Parade by what was described as a dwarf neat iron fence so as not
to obstruct the line of sight and a similar one was to be placed
on the river wall as a guard to the river.
Although low railings were installed next to the road, the proposal
for something similar on the top of the river wall was not implemented
and it was not until the 1930s that we find photographs which show
that a protective barrier had eventually been erected.
The unknown journalist added that the roads, which a few years
before were "proverbial as being amongst the worst roads in
the county" had been put into first class condition!
Enlargement of the Wesleyan Methodist Church
You may like to view more onsite information
Bath's Main Attractions
of Matlock Bath, about 1890. The River Derwent and Derwent Terrace,
Matlock Bath, probably from the railway bridge. Three images
another image of the buildings of North Parade, including the church,
in the Images Only section (Image 1)