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Matlock Bath: Visitors to the Royal Hotel, August 1909
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
 
The car was photogrpahed in the grounds of the Royal Hotel
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Percy Rowbottom



Matlock Bath's premier hotel attracted wealthy guests in the Edwardian era. The large open topped touring car shown here was a 1908 Napier and was almost certainly owned by the Windsor-Richards family, iron and steel manufacturers of Plas Lecha, Tredunnock (near Chepstow). Their chauffeur Alfred Edwards (1879 - 1918) is sitting in the front, on the left. What slightly muddies the waters is the unidentified man on Mr. Edwards' right, who is wearing a slightly different uniform, and is in the driver's seat. However, a second picture in the owner's collection shows a very similar car, so it is very likely that the two pictures are of the same car.

The vehicle was parked in the Royal Hotel's grounds, and photographed by Percy Rowbottom against the backdrop of the limestone crags on the other side of the Derwent valley. Lynda Grange, whose photograph this is, thinks that the other people in car were probably servants who may have been staying at hotel with other employers, or they could even have been a few of the staff. Posing in the employer's car seems to have been something that servants did as Lynda has a photo of her grandmother, who also worked for the Windsor-Richards family, and two other girls sitting in a car wearing chauffeur uniforms.

Mrs Windsor-Richards, who isn't in the photograph, went on to Edinburgh from Matlock Bath. She sent a postcard of Matlock Bath to her home on 15 Aug 1909. Her message was brief: "We have motored as far as here. Give my love to baby and a kiss. LWR".


Photograph by Percy Rowbottom, Temple Walk Studio, Matlock Bath, May 1909.
Image supplied by and © Lynda Grange. Information written by Ann Andrews from material sent by Lynda. Intended for personal use only