The rowing boats were tied up at the landing stage behind the
Grand Pavilion. The man in charge was Walter Bird, who
also operated the ferry across the river.
He was first employed by Matlock Urban District Council
on 5th April 1938 although his Council work was interrupted
by war service. He joined the Royal Signals and was at
a posting in Gibraltar in 1941. Afterwards Walter was employed
by the Council as a motor boat man once more, also working
at the pleasure grounds when necessary. Winter work was
found for employees during the closed season, all important
in a tourist industry with a very limited season. Walter
repaired the rowing boats in the old Pierrot shed which
used to be behind the Grand Pavilion. Later on he was a
handyman and also served as a caretaker at the Pavilion.
Mr. Gregory, who lived at the lodge at the Heights
with his brother Arthur, also worked on the boats.
Walter Bird was born in Matlock Bath on 2 Feb 1904, one of
the children of Walter and Lizzie Bird (nee Bemrose);
Walter senior was employed by the New Bath Hotel Company
to quarry tufa for a time. Walter
Bird's grandfather was William Edward Bird, the
marble mason, and his great grandfather was Edward Bird,
the artist and engraver on black marble.
Walter Bird junior married Elizabeth Brown in 1929 and they
lived on Orchard Road.
During the 1960s he was involved with the Illuminations
and Venetian Nights Committee.