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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Darley Dale, Whitworth Park

Whitworth Institute Park was opened in August 1892. The generous gift to Darley Dale was in memory of Sir Joseph Whitworth and was just one of several projects undertaken in his memory. The pleasure grounds and playing fields were developed close to Darley Institute (Whitworth Institute) and covered 15 acres adjoining the railway station. Joseph Dawson, who was the steward at Stancliffe Hall where Whitworth had lived, directed the laying out of the grounds. The landscaping included walks, promenades, alcoves, a lake and waterfalls. "The water passes over a series of falls and underneath an artistic bridge", which is shown in the above image. An island in the centre of the lake was covered with plants, shrubs and trees. Although it had not been completed in time for the opening, a similar lake was being constructed for children to use. It was safe as it was shallow[1].

Unfortunately, things were not an unmitigated success as the lake seems to have sprung a leak by mid October that year. The Derbyshire Advertiser reported: "Too much water everywhere lately Darley Dale way, but none whatever in artificial lake in the grounds Whitworth Institute. Lake won't hold water; sandy bottom. Funny to see an island not surrounded water. A number of hands are now at work breaking stones and making preparations for putting a concrete bottom in the lake. The Whitworth Institute is a magnificent building, and the well laid out grounds are very pretty, and much admired by travellers on the Midland Railway, but without its lake these grounds would lose much of their beauty. The lake will be put right regardless of expense"[2].

A memorial to Sir Joseph Whitworth was unveiled in the grounds on 1st Sept 1894. The ceremony was included as part of the annual Darley Dale Flower Show. The Bess-O'Th'-Barns Band played and the attractions included a Grand Cricket match involving several Derbyshire county players[3].

A few years later, when the lake had frozen over in the winter, "The men out of work at Darley Dale are spending their time on the Whitworth Institute Lake, skating in fine style"[4]. The photographs of the park in the Vernon Lamb Archive, taken before the First World War, show the grounds being used for a variety of community events.

The War Memorial was unveiled in November 1920[5]. The park continued to be enjoyed in the inter war years, with visitors such as a party of 60 members and friends of the Rowditch Labour Women travelling to Darley Dale by charabanc. They and others like them, would spend a pleasant afternoon in the grounds, with boating on the lake, the swings, etc., all being available. The parties would then sit down for a splendid tea which was served in the grounds[6]. There were carnivals and cricket matches, and the coronation of George V was celebrated in style. There was free boating on the lake to mark the occasion[7].

Boating continued in the park post war, as various photographs from the early 1950s show[8], but the lake was eventually filled in.

Selection of photographs from the Vernon Lamb Archive taken in Whitworth Park











1. "The Bridge, Whitworth Institute, Darley Dale". Postcard in the Artistic Series, A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, London, E.C, No. 2308. Chromotyped in Saxony. Posted on 24 Aug 1908 in Chesterfield. Message not relevant.
2. "The Boating Lake, Whitworth Institute, Darley Dale". Also published by Artistic Series, A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, London, E.C., No.2309. Chromotyped in Saxony. Posted on 15 Sep 1906 in Matlock Bath.
Images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Page researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derbyshire Courier", 13 August 1892. Opening of a Public Park at Darley.

[2] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 21 October 1892. Local Intelligence.

[3] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 17 August 1894. Advertisement promoting the event.

[4] "Derbyshire Times", 23 December 1899. Gleanings in the Peak.

[5] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 22 November 1920.

[6] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 20 August 1926. Rowditch Labour Women. Outing on Tuesday.

[7] "Derby Daily Telegraph",3 May 1935.

[8] "The Matlocks, Derbyshire", guide book published in the 1950s. Geo. Hodgkinson, Printer, Matlock.

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From the Vernon Lamb Archive