The section of river between the Jubilee Bridge and the Midland
Hotel hasn't changed much since this picture was taken, although
the Promenade as such has gone. It has been replaced by a
wide footpath for much of its length, with trees lining the
riverbank along most of the stretch we can see here.
We have a good view of the houses and shops of North Parade,
as well as the Derwent Terrace church, on the far side of
the main road. On later photographs that were taken from
either the river or the riverbank in front of the old bandstand
(which is approximately where this view was taken from) the
view was not quite so open. This is because in early 1906,
following Royal assent being granted to the Matlock Bath
Improvement Act of 1905,
Matlock Bath Urban District Council took away the low fence
that ran along the promenade side of the main road and replaced
it with higher railings and eventually a tall hedge.
This eventually obscured the view of the ground floors of
the shops that can be seen in this picture (see the black
and white image below).
What is especially striking about this image, though, is
the high stone wall reinforcing the river bank. As part of
Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1887, when
the Jubilee Bridge was built and opened, the existing wall
was raised by three feet. As a result the Council were able
to widen the Promenade and made it such a feature for the
tourists until the A6 was widened in 1967.
It was a busy day when the picture was taken and all the
riverside seats were filled, but it is impossible to know
whether they were tourists sitting on them or local people
enjoying the sunshine. Hiring a rowing boat and spending a peaceful
afternoon on the Derwent has long been a pleasant thing to
Above the shops and businesses of the Parade are various
houses. On the left is a section of Waterloo road from Wellington
House to Belgrano before it zigzags up the hillside towards
the "round" house. The large building on the right,
with a large greenhouse in the garden, is the large property
known as Green Bank. It was divided into two with Francis
a bank manager, in one half and a solicitor, Thomas Henry
Ladd, in the
other half. George Henry Key,
the colour manufacturer, moved into Green Bank in the early
See a roughly contemporary
black and white image, "Matlock
Bath from the River" (it is in the "Just images" section
of the site).
view of North Parade Matlock Bath, about 1870 shows the
river flowing past the Midland Hotel (also in the "Just
The second picture, produced by the same publisher (JWS), was
taken a few yards downstream and will have been taken a few
minutes afterwards. We can see the buildings from the Methodist
Church (just about visible on the right) to Fountain Villas
and the red bricks of Fernie Bank. Perhaps the two boats
on the river were hired from the landing stage on the right
hand bank. The card was posted in October 1904 and the sender
was enjoying an Indian summer in the Matlocks as he wrote "We
are having very nice weather it was like July yesterday".
The third image,
that was taken between the wars, also
features the landing stage which had by this time lost
the shelter on the left hand end. It is included here to show
the how the hedge changed the view of the Parade.
Whilst no boats appear to be for hire, the seats on the prom are again
full of people enjoying what looks to be a warm summer afternoon.
Behind them, the hedge has grown up although at this time it
remained relatively low. This picture was taken from
closer to the Jubilee Bridge than the coloured postcard. The
person on the first floor balcony over one of the restaurants
is probably Mrs. Eliza Hardstaff.