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Matlock Bath: Fountain Baths, Swimmers From Riber School
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Riber Castle School
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Mr. Chippett's School at Riber Castle

Riber Castle, Matlock :
A Classroom

The pupils from Mr. Chippett's school at Riber attended weekly swimming lessons at the Fountain Baths. The signboard that the boys and their masters are standing round reads "Deep End 7 Feet". Richard Beaumont remembered the pool as "old and really quite dangerous" when reminiscing about his time as a pupil at Riber in 1918[1].

Local historian and journalist Benjamin Bryan, writing about the newly opened replacement Fountain Baths in 1887[2], said the building was "spacious, well planned, and particularly light and airy". He commented that the depth of the water "can be raised or lowered at very short notice" and that the "beautifully clear and pure" water, brought into the pool in 6" pipes, connected to the spring that came down from Masson. He also said that bubbles in "greater numbers are ... created when any bather plunges into the water and all who avail themselves of the use of the bath agree in testifying to the exhilarating and invigorating properties it possesses". He didn't seem to have tried it for himself!

Bryan went on to say there were "a row of dressing boxes on the Eastern side"; these can be seen in the photograph of the swimmers. He added that "it must not be omitted to mention that there are also here several rooms fitted up with hot baths".

Please email the web mistress if you recognize anyone in the photograph.

There's a leaflet about the medicinal properties of the water for the Fountain Baths elsewhere on this website. The original baths were demolished in 1881[2].

1903 advertisement.
It pre-dates the photograph at the top of the page. There was no diving platform.

Photograph in the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith.
Advertisement from Heywood, Abel (1903) "Abel Heywood's Guide Books, With Cycling, Walking and Driving Routes. Matlock Illustrated." © Ann Andrews collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Beaumont, Richard Melville (1998) "In his own words", private publication © Estate of Richard Melville Beaumont

[2] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, February 16, 1887; "The Warm Mineral Springs of Matlock Bath" by Benjamin Bryan