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Matlock: The Douglas Brothers
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Smedley's Hydropathic Institution, 1890s



Church Organ Recitals given by Harry Douglas, 1906-36




Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers



Arthur (top left), Alfred William (seated) and Harry Douglas (on the right) were photographed by William Harvey Barber some time between 1895 and 1900. The three boys were the sons of Alfred Henry Douglas and his wife Ellen (nee Challand) who had married at St Mary the Virgin Southwell on 14 June 1881[1]. Alfred Henry was the Manager of Smedley's Hydro and Ellen was the sister of Henry Challand, also to become a Smedley's employee. Ellen was a school teacher before she married and met Alfred Douglas when he went to buy wool for Smedleys Mills[2].

Their eldest son, Harry, was born in Matlock on the 17th July 1882, followed by Alfred William (known as Billy) on 12th March 1884 and lastly Arthur on 22nd December 1886[3]; the family were living on Chesterfield Road in 1891[4]. The boys' father died in August 1893[5] and their mother went on to marry Harry Bramah at the Congregational Chapel on Matlock Bank in 1900. This was the church the Douglas family who remained in Matlock were associated with for many years.

Ellen's second husband was the eldest son of Henry Bramah, of the firm Bramah and Sons of Fargate, Sheffield and the two younger boys moved to Sheffield to live with their mother and stepfather whilst Harry remained in Matlock with Henry Challand[6]. Unfortunately for Ellen, her second marriage did not last long as Harry Bramah died on 7 December 1902, aged 45[7]. Ellen subsequently returned to Matlock to live with her sister at Norrisdene on Imperial Road[8].

Of the three sons Harry was the only one to continue to live and work in Matlock[9]. After he married Sarah Platts in January 1910[10] Billy move to Workington in Cumberland where he was initially an inspecting engineer but by 1939 was a "Civil Servant Junior Assistant Engineer P.R.I.B.A. A.M.I.M.E. Crown Agent For The Colonies". According to his niece, Peggy, his job was testing steel. Billy and Cissie had eight children[2]. Arthur became an Electrical Engineer and worked in Newcastle Upon Tyne before the First World War.


Harry and Arthur Douglas, late 1914-early 1915


The second photograph was taken either at the beginning of the First World War or perhaps in early 1915. Harry Douglas had been in the Territorial Force Reserve but was to join the Sherwood Foresters in 1914 and is wearing the uniform of Second Lieutenant (see next page). The Territorial Force Imperial Service Badge is pinned above the right breast pocket. Arthur enlisted in the Royal Marines in London on 24 September 1914; he became a Sapper and part of the Royal Marines Divisional Engineers at Deal but was discharged in August 1916 as he was to return to munition work[11]. He married Minnie Wood after the war and continued to work as an Electrical Engineer on the Administrative side.

Their mother remained in Matlock where she passed away on 8 Oct 1928[12].


1. Image of the three brothers supplied by and Copyright © Jane Leslie collection.
2. Image of the two brothers supplied by and Copyright © Jean Douglas collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to information elsewhere on this website):

[1] Marriage of Alfred Henry and Ellen Challand on FindMyPast.

[2] Memories of Peggy Kempster (nee Douglas) re her ancestors in Matlock, Derbyshire.

[3] DOB information from the 1939 Register is available on FindMyPast.

[4] See the transcript of the 1891 census.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 26 August 1893. Funeral of the late Mr. A. H. Douglas.

[6] Alfred W (Billy) and Arthur were in Sheffield in 1901. See Strays, Surnames D. Harry was living with the Challands on Lime Grove Walk in the 1901 census.

[7] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 9 December 1902. Death of Mr. Bramah at 41 Westenholm Road, Sheffield.

[8] She is shown at Norrisdene in Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1912 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory |

[9] There is more information about Harry Douglas. Begin with:
i. Church Organ Recitals given by Harry Douglas, 1906-36
ii. Smedley's Hydro, 1906-7
iii. Smedley's Hydro during the First World War
iv. Smedley's Hydro, The Inter-War Years
v. Also use Find a Name to continue.

[10] "Derbyshire Courier", 22 January 1910. Sarah Platts was the only daughter of Mr [George] Platts of Cecil Road, Matlock. The Platts are shown in both the 1891 census and the 1901 census. The groom's address was given as Imperial Road, Matlock.

[11] Royal Marines 1899-1919. The records are available on FindMyPast.

[12] See Matlock, Riber & Starkholmes Newspaper Cuttings for 1928 | Wills Calendar, Surnames B