Kelly's Directory of 1848 reported that "The Manchester,
Buxton, Matlock and Midlands railway, now in the course of construction,
will have a station at Matlock Bath".
The Ambergate to Rowsley length of the line, which passed through
Matlock and Matlock Bath, opened in 1849. Before then the nearest
station to Matlock Bath was at Ambergate and there was an omnibus
connection which left Matlock Bath for Ambergate four times a
day; this had been in operation since 1840. The fare was One
[shilling] and Sixpence each, including luggage.
A few years later, in 1855, Kelly's noted that "The
Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands railway, which is open
to Rowsley, has a station at Matlock Bath; and the Midlands company
run frequent excursion trains in the summer season, thus rendering
this beautiful locality accessible to the artizans &c. of
Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and other neighbouring towns".
The station's main building was designed in the Swiss chalet style,
probably by Sir Joseph Paxton, "to suit its surroundings and
had large overhanging eaves at the gables supported on brackets.
The main building and roof ran parallel to the platform but, midway,
was crossed by a higher roof with similar projections, apparently
making the building cross-shaped in plan but not in reality. Extending
along the platform at either end of the building were pent-roof,
passage-like shelters, not unlike supermarket carpark approach shelters.
To the north, an extension was erected in the 1890's having two
large gables facing the platform in sympathy with the first building".
The black and white photograph above shows the 1890's extension.
Whilst an exact date for this photograph cannot be provided "the
platforms have been extended, the new buildings erected and signal
box moved which ... makes it after the mid-1890's but ... could
be anywhere between then and the First World War". It is possible it was taken slightly before 1906 as Michael Bentley says the coaches are a mixed bag, as used on slow or local passenger trains, with possibly a Class 1. 2-4-0 engine on the front.
The seat backs all have Matlock Bath on them and the two sign boards
that are jutting out from the building are for the Gentleman's and
Ladies' Waiting Rooms (the Gents is the closer of the two). Behind
the Station Master, below the sign for Mason's Extract, is a public
weighing machine with hand rails and beside it is a drinking fountain.
The station was lit by gas lamps.
The waiting rooms today, from the platform
Viewed from a different angle
The booking hall, from the Approach
In the 1920's "the Railway Guard was a Mr. Wright who quelled
all complaints about going before time and not waiting for stragglers
by remarking "I follow the right time not the Wright time".
... The railway was busy, businesslike, efficient and social. It
was used for local travel and for children growing up at that time
was used to travel to the Picture Palace Cinema on Saturday afternoons.
During the week locals commuted to Derby on the ten to eight passenger
train which stopped at all stations en route, returning home at
There was a fascinating article about and colour scale drawings
of the station in the August 2002 issue of Railway Modeller; this
was especially interesting for those wishing to build a replica
for their model railway.
Modeller (external link, so will open in a new window)
Also see, elsewhere in the Matlock section of this web site, Bemroses'
Guide, which dates from about 1869:
engraving of High Tor Tunnel, showing the railway station building
(see bottom of the page) which shows the pent-roof, passage-like
shelters at either end of the station building
Tickets on the Midland Railway
Fares on the Midland Railway
More information about the railway elsewhere on this website:
Cards of Derbyshire Scenes - more Midland Railway cards, but
not the same publisher
Railways of Derbyshire, 1903 - a map
Those with railway ancestors might like to see the
following, as some Midland Railway employees moved from Matlock
to Matlock Bath station:
Matlock & Matlock
Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff, 1911 - 1966, A -
Matlock & Matlock
Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff,
1911 - 1966, K - Y
View even more about the station by clicking on
the images below: