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Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel - the Royal or Radium Well
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Three cards which show the well in the hotel's grounds:

The Radium Well (or Royal Well) was built of tufa, probably early in the twentieth century. This was the location of the first spring to be discovered in Matlock Bath in 1696, the Old Bath Spring (Wolley's Well)[1]. The first bath was built a couple of years afterwards; it was constructed of wood and lined with lead,[2] and used the spring as the water source. It was this spring that led to the erection of the Old Bath Hotel and its water also supplied the Royal Hotel which was built on the same site, though the Royal Hotel was built closer to the Matlock Bath Church than the Old Bath had been.

Defoe[3] described the replacement for the lead lined bath, which was constructed of stone, as "secured by a stone wall on every side, by which the water is brought to rise to a due height; and if it is too high there is a sluice to let it out as low as you please". He recounted that the water was "but just milk warm". The Lysons recorded the dimensions as "17 feet high, 33 feet long, and 20 feet wide"[2].

The Royal Well can be seen today in the public car park on Temple Road that now covers the former hotel site. It is shown on three roughly contemporary images of the Royal Hotel elsewhere on this site:
Matlock Bath: Royal Hotel & Baths.
Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel and garden. The second image down shows the hotel's garden and the well is on the left hand side.
Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel, Pavilion & Holy Trinity Church. It appears to be a pile of rubble, so was possibly about to be built.

See FAQ: Tufa for a description of how tufa is formed.

1. Postcard: "Radium Well, Matlock Bath". In the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith
Research provided by, written by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only


[1] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[2] Lysons, Rev Daniel and Samuel Lysons Esq. (1817) "Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire" London: Printed for T. Cadell, Strand; and G. and A. Greenland, Poultry. The lead lined bath was constructed in 1698.

[3] Defoe, Daniel (1724-6) "A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain". An extract about Matlock [Bath] is elsewhere onsite.