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Matlock Bath: Visitors to Cliff House, 1906
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Pedigree of Leacroft



Cliff House had been the home of various members of the Leacroft family for over a century when Major E. R. Leacroft decided to leave Matlock; the sale of the property was announced in 1897. The house was described as a desirable stone built residence and its grounds included both pleasure and kitchen gardens[1]. Mrs Esther Dennis[2], the eldest daughter of James and Sarah Pearson of Matlock Bath and sister to David Palmer Pearson, moved in and took in paying guests. She was born on 19th July 1842 and in 1870 married Mr. John Dennis of Nottingham. She lived at Cliff House for well over a decade and subsequently during the First World War went to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Smith of Spar Villas, whose husband wass at the front. It was there that she passed away[3].

The message on the back of this Edwardian postcard reveals how much the visitors are enjoying their stay at Cliff House. "This is just part of the garden where we are staying, none of us knew we were being taken. ... We simply live out of doors from morning til night it is just too lovely". Mr. Henshall, the photographer, must have been summoned to take a picture and proved to be very unobtrusive.

The visitors must have found the views from near the top of the Heights of Abraham wonderful, as Cliff House and the neighbouring Masson Farm are on the hillside below the Victoria Tower.

Cliff House is not mentioned often in the old guide books, possibly because of its position high up above Matlock Dale:
Henry Moore's "Picturesque Excursions From Derby to Matlock Bath", 1818.
Various editions of William Adam's hugely informative "Gem of the Peak" tell us it was an "old house", and commanded some magnificent views. This is from the 1840 edition - The north entrance to Matlock Dale.


"Terrace Walk, Cliff House, Matlock Bath" [Photograph by Thomas Meredith Henshall]. Posted on 25 Aug 1906 at Matlock Bath and sent to Mr. J. Traill, 19 Ebury Road, Catford. Image in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 13 August 1897.

[2] On site references to Mrs. Dennis include the 1851 census | the 1861 census | the 1901 census | Kelly's Directory 1899 | Kelly's Directory 1908 | Kelly's Directory 1912.

[3] Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 27 October 1916. Sudden death at Matlock.