The majority of people in the picture are looking down the Parade
towards the bend in the road. A horse drawn charabanc
is stationary outside Hodgkinson's Hotel. Quite what the
commotion was around the corner is not known but the policeman
appears to be striding purposefully off to sort things out.
The group of men standing in the shadows outside the Petrifying
Well and Aquarium are oblivious, their eyes caught by something
they can see through the railings.
Matlock Bath was said to be infuriated by the fairy tales
of an over-imaginative press that were published in the London
papers in early 1914. Local councillors were outraged
by an announcement that Matlock Bath wished to change its
name because "all
the glory of its enterprise is audaciously appropriated by
the neighbouring Matlock (minus the Bath)". Councillor
White denounced this example of "inventive genius",
saying that a photo of High Tor had also been published,
with the claim that it was to be demolished! Reading
between the lines, someone was clearly having a good laugh
at Matlock Bath's expense but some of the councillors could
not see the joke.
This picture was taken some time over the summer of 1914.
In May that year the village attempted to re-introduce the
ancient and picturesque Derbyshire custom of well-dressing,
something that had been tried in the past - the last time
thirty-five years before. Well-dressing was combined with
a floral fete and Matlock Bath Improvement Association had
promoted the event to further the interests of the village
as a health and pleasure resort, but the attendance on the
first couple of days was somewhat disappointing.
It perhaps should be said that well-dressing was not the
long established custom in Matlock Bath as it was in other
parts of Derbyshire.
When war was declared war on Germany on 4th August of that
year things did not shut down completely but village life
was to change. For a while Matlock Bath tried to continue
as normal and a delayed regatta was held at the end of August,
but there was no Venetian
On Thursday 20th August 1914 a German gentleman, William
Stiewe, was arrested at Hodgkinson's Hotel under the Aliens'
Act of 5th August 1914 for having failed to register himself.
He had lived in England for about 20 years. The case was
regarded as very serious and Mr. Stiewe was jailed for three
months, with hard labour.
A little under a fortnight earlier three waiters from the
Royal Hotel were arrested under the same act, but they were
dealt with less harshly and were able to return to work.
Nevertheless, those early days of the war were not comfortable
ones for the village.
The booking hall for charabanc trips to Dovedale, Haddon
Hall, Chatsworth and other local
tourist attractions was open for business. Motor landaulettes
and touring cars could
also be hired from here. According to the 1911 census
this was the office of Hand
The female on the left could be taking something to one
of the riverside eating places.
Whilst this vey brightly coloured picture of South Parade
was posted in 1910 it is likely
to have been taken before then. Boden's Dining & Refreshment
Rooms were open and Matlock
Bath was perhaps preparing for a busy day. The reason
it is included here is because of what
appears to be a temporary wooden structure next door
to Boden's. Presumably the pre-war
booking hall of Hands of Matlock, shown in the image
immediately above, replaced it.