Charlotte Eliza Farnsworth and Mr. Gregory
outside the rustic wooden kiosk on the landing stage entrance behind
the Grand Pavilion. The kiosk was one of of several that used to
be at key points in Matlock Bath and were used as shelters for
the people collecting the fees, in this instance for the hire of
rowing boats or for a trip across the river by ferry. Some of the
earlier kiosks had thatched rooves but this one had wooden shingles,
possibly a replacement for the thatch.
Charlotte Farnsworth was known as "Lottie" and was born
in Bonsall on 8 Apr 1889;
daughter of Arthur, a stonemason, and his wife Charlotte (nee Wormleighton).
In 1911 she was working as a mill hand as a trimmer in a hosiery
works and living in Bonsall with her parents and brother.
Charlotte's father became clerk of works for the council and her
brother was to marry Grace Boden, who lived on the Pitchings. He
eventually became the headmaster of Middleton school. For a time
they lived in one of tehe houses in Rockvale Terrace.
a young girl she would visit Matlock Bath. "I remember
coming over the fields from Bonsall when I was a girl and watching
the crowds streaming down on a bank holiday from the excursion
She must have been writing poems in her mid-twenties as Stuart
Flint told the web mistress that she wrote poetry about the men
who lived at Cromford, Bonsall, Matlock Bath, and Scarthin who
fell in the First World War.
Sepia image of the landing stage, with the kiosk, behind the
date but probably late 1940s.
There are four people on the postcard. As they are difficult
to see they have been enlarged below.
Lottie (walking away),
someone leaning on the
turnstile and Mr. Gregory
By 1939 Lottie was employed by the Council as a Cashier for the
Grand Pavilion's Cinema and the Boat Ticket Office. At that time
she was living in part of "Woodlands" on
Temple Walk; she
also lived with Mrs Lusby above what later became Harry Gill's
She would fill the tedium and lonely hours on days when customers
didn't pass through her riverside turnstile behind the Pavilion
by writing poetry. Her inspiration was her beloved Matlock Bath.
One of her more famous poems, written in 1935, was about the Venetian
Fete as it used to be called, though is now known as the Venetian
Nights. She describes the magic of the Venetian Fête when
it was held on the Promenade and the band played in the band-stand.
If you cannot go to Venice
To view the wondrous sights,
Just come along to Matlock Bath
And see how fairy lights
Are reflected in the Derwent,
As they shine upon the trees !
Come to the Grand Venetian Fete,
Which has never failed to please !
The wood is like a spangled gown
The bridge, a rainbow span-
The bandstand like a jewell'd crown,-
Come, see them, if you can !
The fireworks are a grand display
And the music is a treat.
Competing boats, in bright array,
Make a pageant hard to beat.
Be sure you come to Matlock Bath,
To see this charming Fete !
Woods may be bright with Autumn tints,
So do not come too late
To climb the Heights, or see the Caves
And the Petrifying rills !
Thousands who come will come again,
Lured by beauty, lights, and thrills.
CHARLOTTE E. FARNSWORTH,
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.
It is unclear quite how many poems she published in total but
in 1937 Messrs. A. H. Stockwell, Ltd. published a selection of "Derbyshire
The following year another selection, this time of of eighteen poems,
was published by the same publisher in a booklet called "Earthen
Vessels". The title
is from one of the poems. Other poems, said to be of topical events,
were called "Jerusalem" and "Whither?" A review
in a Derby newspaper commented that although Miss Farnsworth has
a full-time job she has been writing songs and poems for several
years, and she had had several songs published in addition to the
Lottie wasn't the only female poet to write about Matlock Bath.
Matlock & Matlock
Bath - Poetry
Lottie Farnsworth died at Nottingham in 1971, aged 82. In later
life she was asked by a local paper, presumably the "Matlock
Mercury", to write about Matlock Bath in bygone years.
Her article, "Golden Years in Matlock Bath" (see
below), was probably written not long before her death as she refers
to Mods and Rockers, youth sub-cultures that came into being in
the early to mid 1960s.
GOLDEN YEARS IN MATLOCK BATH.
Looking back over the last sixty years, I remember many
interesting things that happened in Matlock Bath.
I remember coming over the fields from Bonsall when I was
a girl and watching the crowds streaming down from the station
on a Bank Holiday from the excursion trains.
I remember the crowded ferry boat and the merry crews on
the river in the rowing boats and especially I remember the
Good Friday when four young people were drowned in the flooded
river at the weir.
Matlock Bath was a popular place, in those days with the
Royal Hotel in full swing; with a wonderful Italian Band
playing out on the terrace each evening and dances and concerts
in the lovely Old Pavilion.
Then the new Grand Pavilion opened and I remember many of
the plays, concerts and pictures we had there.
We ran for nearly two years on Stoll's wonderful British
productions, featuring all the best books and actors, also
many popular musical comedies, such as "The Quaker Girl", "Tons
of Money", "Paddy the next best thing".
Matlock Bath was really 'with it' in those days and I remember
meeting many well-known artistes at the Pavilion, also among
the pierrot troupes who had a pitch behind the Pavilion and
were greatly appreciated on a wet day, as they had a shelter
for the crowds.
I remember too, the days of the first World War when the
Canadian officers were billeted in the Royal Hotel and old
Pavilion, as a Convalescent Hospital.
I think they had nearly 200 permanent staff to wait on them.
These men got to know the local people well and even fell
in love and married some of the local girls and took them
back to Canada.
I remember the fire at the Royal Hotel, also the one that
destroyed the engine room at the Pavilion and put an end
to the silent pictures there, for the talkies came in before
we could get started again.
In spite of all the sorrow and trouble of War, there are
many pleasant incidents to remember and there were no Mods
and Rockers in those days.
Matlock Bath is a beautiful place and thousands of people
know it and love it and I hope it will be even more popular
in future years.
My thanks go to those who have tried to make it and keep
it a charming holiday resort - the 'Switzerland of England'.
Some of the events and places mentioned by
Lottie in "Golden Years in Matlock Bath"
and in her "Venetian
links are to information elsewhere on this web site):
 Date of birth from the 1939 Register,
available on FindMyPast and confirmed in ONS BMD records.
 From the 1911 census,
available on FindMyPast.
 Recollections of the late Mr. Frank
Clay, from private papers and notes owned by Mrs. Doreen Buxton,
some of which were written in 1992 and are still within copyright.
 Newspaper article written by Lottie,
date unknown but in Ken Smith's collection. If, as suggested above,
it was written in the 1960s it was probably republished in the
same newspaper in the 1990s.
 There is more about the Fête. See Matlock
Bath: Illuminations and Venetian Fête in the 1950s and Matlock
Bath: Venetian Fete (now Venetian Nights), decorated boats
 "Derbyshire Times",
9 July 1937. Reviews. Although it does not say how many poems were
included the price of the publication was 6d. The publisher, Arthur
Stockwell, was based at 29 Ludgate Hill in London.
 "Derby Daily
Telegraph", 23 December 1938. Derby and Joan. Matlock
Bath Poetess and Song-Writer. "I now have news of another local
authoress, Miss Charlotte E. Farnsworth".
 Charlotte Farnsworth was referring
to silent pictures. Stoll's films included The Temple of Dusk.
The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu ("Derbyshire Advertiser and
Journal", 22 September 1923) and Conan Doyle's "The
Hound of the Baskerville's"