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Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel, with the large extension
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1881 fountain restored after BP's visit



B-P at the Parade in 1917



The Royal Hotel after the large extension had been added to the rear of the building. The tennis courts and bowling green can be seen on the left of the hotel.

Over the years the Royal Hotel was used for public functions and conferences as well as for private visitors. For example, in 1883 the Associated Chamber of Commerce visited the hotel[1]. Six years later the Midland Gas Managers' Association met there[2].

Perhaps the most significant conference that ever took place at the Royal Hotel, though, was during the First World War when the first Boy Scout Commissioners' Conference was held there[3]. The event is still remembered in the village today, commemorated on a plaque beside the drinking fountain that was erected by the Council[4]. The Scout Conference was held in March 1917 and Scouts from the district attended a Sunday Parade. They marched from Matlock to Holy Trinity Church where the Chief Scout, Sir Robin Baden-Powell, read the lesson at a special service. The youngsters then assembled in the grounds of the Royal Hotel, where they were inspected by the Chief Scout[3].

Just a few months later, on 30th November, it was announced that the Royal Hotel was to be taken over as a hospital for "wounded Canadian soldiers[5]".

Matlock Bath's Scout and Rovers Troops were named after Baden Powell, presumably to commemorate his visit to the village[6].


"Royal Hotel, Matlock Bath" No publisher details provided. Unposted
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Pauline Jordan.
Image scanned for this website and information researched by and © Ann Andrews Intended for personal use only

References (the coloured links are to onsite transcripts):

[1] Report in the "Birmingham Daily Post", Saturday, 6 October, 1883. Associated Chamber of Commerce visit to Derby. The final events included the attendees travelling by special train to Cromford station for a visit to Willersley and Mr. Arkwright's invitation. They spent the afternoon at the Royal Hotel, where they were entertained before returning to Derby.
[2] "Birmingham Daily Post", Saturday, 18 May, 1889. Report of the spring meeting of the Midland Gas Managers' Association being held at the Royal Hotel "on Thursday afternoon".
[3] "The Times", 19 Mar, 1917 and "The High Peak News", 24 Mar 1917
[4] Information from Ken Smith. The drinking fountain itself is dated 1881 and was cast by Handyside. This firm had built Friargate Bridge in Derby as well as making lots of post boxes! The County Council's plaque records the 1917 restoration (not 1928 as erroneously recorded elsewhere).
[5] Beresford, Charles "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007). Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8.
[6] See Baden Powell Scouts, 1933 - Bugle and Drums (1) | Baden Powell Scouts, 1933 (2) | Baden Powell Scouts - Annual Entertainment, 1934