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Matlock Bath's Glove Factory
People who lived in the Matlocks : Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Dated 1930, this shows some of the factory's employees. Betty's mother, Annie, is sitting on the left hand side
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Pavilion, about 1920

Pavilion, with the glove factory, 1920s

Matlock Bath's glove factory opened for business in 1917, initially in the Grand Pavilion, and provided welcome employment for some of the local girls. At the outset it employed a dozen girls[1]. It was set up because Matlock Bath UDC had wanted to let part of the Pavilion and George Henry Key, the Council Chairman at the time, agreed to invest; Henry Hetherington was also involved at the beginning[2]. The enterprise became the Spa Glove Company.

Whilst the date on the back of the top photograph seems to be be slightly inaccurate (1930) it shows some of the girls at work making gloves. Amongst their number was Annie Ellen Holbrook who was born in 1905; she was one of seven children and lived in Bonsall and /or Matlock Bath. She worked at the glove factory as a teenager although by the time she married in 1936 she was no longer employed in the industry. Annie is pictured sitting behind her sewing machine on the left side at the front, with piles of gloves in front of her[3]. Two Matlock Bath sisters, Florence and Nellie Boden, also worked there for a time[4]; they were the daughters of George Boden who was killed during the First War[5]. Florence later recalled hearing that the Armistice had been signed through the large round first floor window of the glove factory building[4]. Another employee was Muriel Hatton, the great aunt of the web mistress[6].

The second image (below), of South Parade with the Heights of Abraham and the Victoria Tower on the hillside above, was taken from Temple Walk at a point roughly opposite the Pavilion. The large building on the right hand side next to the fish pond has the name "BODEN'S" painted on the roof (the pond itself is hidden behind the trees). This became the glove factory building; the premises had become available after WW1 as the building was no longer used as a restaurant by the Bodens. Gloves were sold from a shop in the front section of the building, next to the road, whilst the gloves were made at the back[6].

For some years the factory advertised in Kelly's Trades Directories, changing its name several times.

1922 Spa Glove Co. glove manufacturers. T A "Gloves, Matlock;" T N 184 Matlock.
1925 Perry & Rodwell glove manufacturers, Corner house. T A "Perry, Matlock;" T N Matlock 116.
Lower down the list was Rodwell, Benjamin glove manufr. see Perry & Rodwell.
Perry, Frank James, Springfield was listed amongst the Private Residents
1928 Perry (Matlock Bath) Ltd. glove mfrs. Corner ho. T A "Perry, Matlock;" TN Matlock 116.
Frank James Perry was still living at Springfield in that year.

It is not clear when the partnership of Perry and Rodwell, who were both Glove Manufacturers and Fancy Goods Dealers, began but it was dissolved on 31st December 1924[7]. After that the Matlock Bath business seems to have been run solely by Frank James Perry. Frank Perry (1874 - 1951) and his wife Jeane Pullinger Perry had come from Yeovil[8] and lived at Springfield on Clifton Road. Perry was the older partner in the firm. Benjamin Hunter Rodwell (1900 - 1967), the other partner, had grown up in Matlock Bath, having moved to the village with his mother and stepfather James Fearn about 1904[9].

In January 1929 fire ravaged the building, leaving a roofless shell, although the engine house at the back was saved[10]. It was not to be rebuilt and was the first of two major calamities to affect Matlock Bath's trade in 1929. In April, the Royal Hotel was also destroyed[11]. The glove factory returned briefly to the Pavilion, but Mr. Perry later moved it to Chelmsford[6].

Panorama of Matlock Bath, with the old glove factory on the right © Betty Atkinson
From the writing on the back of the postcard, and the image itself, the picture was taken in the 1920's.
Notice the the old bicycles and motor bikes - something still associated with Matlock Bath

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Photographs of Matlock Bath Today (3)
The Pitchings, South Parade
Edwardian Matlock Bath, a coloured postcard

If one of your relatives worked at the Glove Factory please get in touch (contact link in the page footer)

Photograph and postcard kindly provided by and © Bette Atkinson Research provided by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only
Postcard: "South Parade, Matlock Bath. Peak District". Donlion Productions Ltd., Doncaster. No.28 9

References (coloured links lead to more on site information):

[1] See High Peak News : Saturday, September 22, 1917
[2] Mr. Key is listed in Kelly's 1916: Official Establishments, Local Institutions etc and both he and Mr. Hetherington appear in Kelly's, 1916, Matlock Bath. In 1918 Key was still involved with the glove factory; it was included amongst his commercial interests when he bought "an extensive tract of the Hopton estate" (Derby Daily Telegraph, Aug 1918)
[3] Information from her daughter, Bette Atkinson, who owns the photograph.
[4] Beresford, Charles (2007) "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War". Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8
[5] George William Boden's name appears on both Matlock's War Memorial at Pic Tor and Matlock Bath War Memorial
[6] Recollections of the late Frank Clay. Muriel was a seamstress and lived for some years at Belle Vue Cottage with her parents.
[7] "The London Gazette", 3 April 1925
[8] Frank James Perry was born in West Camel, Somerset, in 1874 and died in the Yeovil District in 1951. He had formerly worked as an Insurance Agent.
[9] Benjamin Hunter Rodwell was born in Chesterton, Cambridge in 1900, the son of James Hunter Rodwell and his wife Vine. He married Paulina Stringfellow at St. Giles in 1923 and died in the Ilkeston District in 1967. BHR's stepfather, mother and sister were all buried at Holy Trinity.
[10] Perry lost about £5,000 of goods and stock, including the machines, a large stock of skins and goods awaiting despatch. Perry's cat, reputed to be the best rat catcher in the district, was the only loss of life! The fire also destroyed the fancy goods business of Mr. Worth. Worth lost about £1,000 of stock. (Derby Daily Telegraph, 3 Jan 1929). Also see The Matlocks UDC Fire Brigade, about 1930.
[11] See The Royal Hotel