Bath, South Parade & the Pitchings
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Print of The Pitchings, Matlock Bath, with the wooded Heights of
Abraham in the background from an original drawing by the web
The Pitchings rises steeply from South Parade; the narrow roadway
is called Pitchings after the pitch stones - hard stone cobbles
- that were used to surface it. Hodgkinson's Hotel is the building
behind the tree and was where coaches travelling through the village
used to change their horses. There was stabling on the opposite
side of the road. A much bigger hotel, the Great Hotel, originally
ran the length of the Parade but this was split up into smaller
units and the section beside the Pitchings is the only part that
remained as an hotel. It became Varley's Hotel,
where the writer Ebenezer Rhodes stayed when he visited Matlock
Bath about 1818 (quoted below).
It was next known as the Matlock Bath Hotel or Robinson's Hotel,
as the proprietor was Thomas Robinson. It was subsequently run
by Job Hodgkinson and his wife Sarah.
Mr. Hodgkinson's nephew William Brooker took over the business
Despite members of the Hodgkinson family not running the
hotel for well over a century, the hotel's name has remained.
Ebenezer Rhodes wrote:
"We ended a long day's perambulation
at Varley's Hotel ; but so completely was my mind occupied
with the scenery around me that I walked very deliberately
into the front room of an adjoining house and rudely disturbed
an evening party ... I was evidently an intruder : the master
of the house leaned back in his chair, and with a Stentorian
voice that waked me from my reverie bawled out "This is
not an inn, Sir" ...
The comforts of a good inn can only be duly appreciated
by those who, like myself and my companions, have been rambling
for days together amongst the moreland and wild rocky glens,
subject to those privations consequent on such exertions ...
we had no reason to regret that we had made Varley's Hotel
our home during our short stay at Matlock Bath".
Matlock Bath has long been a tourist centre, with people first
visiting the village to take the waters, be fascinated by the
petrifying wells and wonder at the caverns - or to just 'Promenade'
and be seen. The Napoleonic Wars saw many come who had not visited
before and the construction of the railway in 1848 brought a
very different kind of tourist as it opened things up for the
city dwellers. The village's popularity cannot be over-exaggerated;
in the year 1912 some 12,000 people had already entered the village
by midday on Good Friday!
1863 has an illustrated advertisement for Hodgkinson's Hotel
Matlock Bath Business
Clay, artist. Examples of the work of a Derbyshire artist.
This page is elsewhere within The Andrews Pages
Through the Centuries: Arrivals at Matlock Bath, 1820-1850.
European Royal families and nobility, British politicians, academics,
clergy, members of the British aristocracy and upper and middle
classes of society. Some of them would have stayed at Hodgkinson's.
Print, from a drawing by and part of the Frank Clay estate, and © Ann
Andrews collection. Re scanned Oct, 2015. This was one of the first
images on the web site.
Information written, researched, provided by and © Ann
Intended for personal use only.
links go to on site transcripts):
 Mr. Varley's advertisement is given
in Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements,
 Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak
Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown,
and Green, Paternoster Row
 Thomas Robinson can be found on Matlock & Matlock
Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1822. Also see: Glover's
Directory, 1827-8-9 (Matlock Bath section) | Pigot's
 Job Hodgkinson is listed in Pigot's
Directory, 1831 | Pigot's
Directory, 1842 | ... White's Directory 1852 (last
directory entry). And in the census
: the 1841 census |
the 1851 census. . There is a notice
of his death on Matlock Bath & Scarthin Newspaper Cuttings,
for this family: Matlock
 William Brooker placed an announcement
in the Derby Mercury in 1857. See Matlock & Matlock
Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1857. He was living with
his aunt and uncle in 1851 (as Brookes) and went into business with
his aunt at the Spirit Vaults.
 Recollections of the late Frank Clay, in
private papers owned by the web mistress.