This view of the Royal Hotel, the Pavilion and Holy Trinity Church
is of Matlock Bath at the very beginning of the twentieth century.
The Switchback in the Derwent Gardens had been open for just over
ten years. The entrance was from the Derby Road and people are
lined up against the wooden railings, either waiting for their
turn or just looking at the "bubble pond" below.
At the bottom of the picture, almost in the centre, is a single
storey building with a red roof which would have been used to store
various horse drawn vehicles. The building is also shown on one
of the Switchback Railway pictures.
the main road, opposite the old Fish Pond Stables, are a couple
of small buildings and some hoardings. Although it is impossible
to read the advertisements, one of them shows the head of a female.
Several things in Matlock Bath were to change after the Matlock
Bath Improvements Act was passed in 1905.
Part of the scheme was for public lavatories to be built, although
the matter had been discussed by the Local Board in 1891 when they
were seeking to buy the land below the Royal Hotel from Mrs. Sellors
for the purpose.
The small buildings are, almost certainly, the toilets with
Furniss's booking office next to them.
Above the left hand end of the Palais Royal (Royal Pavilion) is
a longish building with a brown roof which might have been a skittle
or bowling alley. Even higher on the hillside are two of the houses
in Upper Wood.
However, the main interest is the largish crowd assembled on the
rough piece of ground. They are watching a play being performed on
an open stage. It looks as if this picture was taken when there was
an attempt to find lead, prior to the Kursaal (now the Grand Pavilion)
The ground was later to be used as
a rubbish tip.
These days the area is much higher than it was at the time this
picture was taken, understandable because of the former use. It
was eventually covered and converted into two hard tennis courts.
In the 1950s candy floss was available from a kiosk at the side
of the courts. Then a mini fun fair was installed and it is now
a basketball court.