Here are several photographs from a small brochure about "The
Royal Hotel and Bathing Establishment".
The booklet was probably placed in the bedrooms for the
hotel guests' use. The pictures were taken by Percy Rowbottom,
a local photographer whose studio was, for many years, in the
small building opposite the hotel (above the Fish Pond Hotel).
The top picture shows the Entrance Hall to the Royal Hotel
in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Hotel's Hall is shown to have been light and airy, with light
coloured walls (possibly white or cream), quite a
contrast to fussy Victorian interiors. It was full of bamboo
and wicker chairs, which were introduced in the Edwardian
era. The hotel was lit by electric lights, also a relatively
new introduction, and the cost was included in the room price.
Fires in rooms, though, were an additional extra on the hotel
bill. Prices were fixed at 1/6 [one shilling and sixpence]
for a fire in a private sitting room during the day and 2/6
for a fire during both the day and night. Bedroom fires were
slightly cheaper at 1/- [one shilling] for the day and 2/-
for day and night.
The second photo shows the Dining Room, which had
mock beams on the ceiling. The walls were papered down
to the dado rail, below which was wood panelling. A fireplace
between the two entrance archways warmed the room; it is
unclear if the sloping chimney breast above it is painted
or if it has a metal hood. There is definitely, however,
a splayed metal hood above the actual fire; these were
usually made of copper or iron. Above it is a deep wooden
A former guest described the hotel:
"The windows of the dining-room, drawing-room and
writing-room all look across to the terrace to the gorge
of the Derwent ... By the side of the Hotel are the tennis
courts, and behind it, higher up the hill, is the pavilion,
a great glazed hall, which the proprietors of the Royal
Hotel have recently bought. It is now chiefly used as a
recreation room in bad weather, and a Badminton court has
been traced out on the great dancing floor. The grounds
belonging to the hotel are so extensive that a patient
can take all the exercise he or she requires without moving
beyond their borders"
Meals were inclusive if you stayed for a week or more, otherwise
there was a charge, and Edwardian visitors could eat their
way through breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Details of possible activities and excursions for guests.
Taking the waters in Matlock Bath had been a health cure
for several centuries. The first spring
had been discovered on the hotel's site in 1698 and the
medicinal qualities of the drinking water were well known.
It is perhaps a slight exaggeration
that the Golf Course was a few minutes walk from the Hotel
It would have been quite a hard climb up the hill to reach
the links in Upperwood, and only a really fit person would
have been able to do so in a few minutes. The quickest
route would have been the path near the Speedwell Cavern.
A slightly longer alternative would have been to climb the
steps up through the grounds of the Palais Royal, reputed
to number 365. So one for every day of the year!
The Royal Hotel provided entertainment for its visitors
and a Milanese String Band is mentioned
above, led by Professor Avanzi. They played in the Lounge
twice daily during the season. It was a similar band that
had brought Romolo Tinti to Matlock Bath not long before.
He returned to the village to marry and swore the Oath of
Allegiance in 1907.
This brochure dates from around 1908, under Andreas Büttgen's
The hotel employed quite a few Europeans before the first
World War, as did many other British hotels and restaurants.
Although none are listed in the 1901 census, by 1911 the
hotel staff included people from both Austria and Germany.
They had perhaps been initially employed a few years earlier
during Herr Büttgen's time at the hotel.
In 1911 the Chef was George
Heimworth who was born in Berlin and a Masseuse, Clara Anna
Kunth, was from Leipzig.
A few years later, at the outbreak of war in 1914, locals
were shocked when three German waiters from the hotel were
arrested, taken to Matlock Police station and then to Derby
before being allowed to return to Matlock Bath.
The Hotel could provide rooms for servants, if required,
or a servant could stay in the same room as their master or
mistress. Dogs could also
stay with their owners, but were not allowed in public rooms.
The charge for a dog was 1/6 per day. Some of the bath treatments
were also included in the daily or weekly room tariff. Some
of the hotel's charges are shown below.
of Residence 
For visitors staying one week or longer.
£3. 10s., £3 17s., and £5 5s., per week, according
to bedroom selected. Includes breakfast, lunch,
afternoon tea and dinner ; also attendance
and electric light and certain baths as stated
on page 13
Visitors staying one month or longer, between November
1st and the end of February, are allowed a discount
of 10 per cent. off the above tariff.
Attendance and electric light are included in the
price of rooms, also baths as stated on page
Bedroom and Bathroom, en suite
Private Sitting Room
Bed for children
Servants' Room and Board
Servants' (if occupying Visitor's Room)
Ladies' Douche Bath
D'Arsonval High Frequency & X-Ray Apparatus
used at the time
Baths (on Bedroom Floor)
In the booklet are two pages showing small pictures of
the baths and treatments available. Each page was beautifully
presented, decorated in the Art Nouveau style with potted
palms, moons and swirling lines as a backdrop to the photos.
available for female patients
2 Treatments available for male patients
Some of the images on the two pages have been enlarged below.
Fango di Battaglia.
Application of a Fango.
A Fango was a mud bath and the bathman is shown applying
the hot mud pack to the patient's legs. The mud was washed
off from wherever it had been applied, after a suitable
time had elapsed, by either a warm douche or a spray.
The Fango used was "the Volcanic Mineral Deposit
obtained from the Hot Springs of Battaglia, near Padua.
It had been employed in Italy for centuries for the
relief and cure of painful affections, such as sciatica,
neuritis, lumbago, gout and rheumatism etc."
The treatment had been used successfully in German
spa resorts such as Baden-Baden and Kissingen before
being introduced to the Royal Hotel. The attendants
were specially trained.
Four-Cell Electric Bath.
The male patient in the photograph is fully dressed for
this, although he is wearing shorts,
not trousers. Women could also have (enjoy?) the treatment.
The Electric Current was "administered in graduated
doses, and directed to any part of the body".
Presumably the bathman ran the risk of getting wet,
Electric Light Bath
Other available treatments included Sulphur Baths,
Brine Baths and Nauheim or Carbonic Baths.
Dowsing Radiant Heat Baths
This final image, which is on another page in the
brochure, shows "a complete installation of the
most modern type of this well known apparatus has recently
been added by the Dowsing Company, and licence given
for the administration of this valuable treatment by
means of luminous heat rays and hot air to patients
in Matlock Bath and district"
links are to transcripts elsewhere on this web site or more
 Matlock Bath Golf Course opened
in 1903 but did not survive the First World War.
London Gazette", 3 December 1907.
Büttgen is in the brochure and he is listed as manager in Kelly's
1908 Directory. By the 1911 census Mr. Matthews had taken
over at the Royal Hotel and Andreas Büttgen had moved to
the Abernant Hotel, Llanwrtyd Wells in Brecknockshire. He was
34 in 1911, and had been born in
Germany. His wife was from Belgium and two of their children
were born in Matlock Bath. He subsequently moved to the Osborne
Hotel, Langland Bay, near Swansea where a son was born but unfortunately
got into financial difficulties ("Western
Mail", 31 March 1914). He was released by the Official
Receiver in 1915 (London Gazette, 24 August 1915). There
are no further records but he does not seem to have emigrated.
possibly returned home, or even changed his name. It is likely
that he would have been interned if he remained in Britain during
 The 1911 census is available on Find
My Past (link opens in a new window)
 Beresford, Charles "The Bath
at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007).
Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8. p.447.