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Visit of Princess Victoria & Her Mother, 1832
A collection of newspaper reports that were mostly published over 75 years ago.
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A good deal has been written over the years about this mid-autumn visit to Matlock Bath by the thirteen year old Princess and her mother but, somewhat disappointingly, very little was reported at the time. The hours of daylight would have been shortening and, as the mother and daughter, plus their party, did not leave Belper until 3p.m., they could not have been in Matlock Bath overly long before it became dark and they returned to Chatsworth House. Perhaps, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1814, Princess Victoria enjoyed all she saw and found the petrifying well full of curiosities.


The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, October 24, 1832

Yesterday about 12 o'clock the Duke of Devonshire and his illustrious Visitors their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria, accompanied by a large party ... inspected the extensive Cotton Manufacturies of the Messrs. Herbert Strutt at Belper. ... The Royal Party expressed themselves highly gratified with their reception, and with the neat and healthy appearance of the persons employed in the Works, and were much interested in the different processes of the manufacture.

The whole party afterwards honoured Mr. and Mrs. Strutt by taking luncheon at Bridge Hill, and left about 3 o'clock, intending to view some of the curiosities at Matlock before returning to Chatsworth.

The Morning Post, Thursday, 25 October 1832

For several weeks past great preparations have been making at Chatsworth House for the reception of the Duchess of KENT and the PRINCESS Victoria. Their Royal Highnesses accordingly arrived at Chatsworth on Friday evening from Buxton, accompanied by Sir J. CONROY &c. ... Today (Tuesday) the Royal party will visit Matlock and Mr. STRUTT's mills ...

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 31 October, 1832

MATLOCK. - Tuesday the 23d instant was a day of truly joyful festivity at this romantic watering place. In expectation of the arrival of the Duchess of Kent and her Daughter from Chatsworth, considerable preparations had been made to receive them in the most respectful manner possible ; indeed, the inhabitants appeared to vie with each other in displaying their loyalty and attachment to the Royal Visitors. Several large trees were removed from Mr. Gilbert's Heights of Abraham, from which were suspended wreaths and garlands of evergreens and flowers in the most tasteful variety. Flags and banners were flying from the church, and High Tor, and all the houses in the place. The museums of Mr. Vallance and Mrs. Mawe were richly decorated with a profusion of laurel and flowers, and suspended across the road opposite to Mr. Vallance's museum was a large crown of flowers, with six beautiful banners attached to it, on which were appropriate inscriptions.

It had been announced that the Royal Duchess and the Princess would probably be at Matlock about 10 o'clock, and long before that hour the road at the entrances of Matlock Bath and the Fountain Gardens were covered with multitudes of well dressed persons, who were enlivened by the music from an excellent brass band in gay uniforms. A few minutes before 11 o'clock, the Duke of Devonshire's state carriage was seen advancing, drawn by six horses, with outriders in rich liveries, and accompanied by three other carriages, each drawn by four horses. The Duchess of Kent, the Princess, Lady Blanche Cavendish, and the Duke of Devonshire occupied the state carriage, and as it approached a general shout burst forth from the assembled throng, mingles with pleasing cried of "welcome". The Royal Party, preceded by the band, passed slowly through the place without stopping, and went forward to Belper to inspect the cotton works of Messrs. Strutt (as noticed in our last week's publication). On their return, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, they were again met near Saxton's New Bath Hotel by several thousand persons, accompanied by the band, playing "God save the King". Several gentlemen, wearing blue and white favours, walked uncovered by the sides of the carriage, and the Royal visitors, after calling at some of the spar shops, proceeded to Mr. Vallance's and Mrs. Mawe's museums, where they alighted and made several purchases, and after visiting Mr. Pearson's petrifying well, they entered the carriages, and drove off on their way to Chatsworth amid the deafening cheers of the multitudes.

The Duchess and her amiable daughter expressed themselves as being highly gratified with this cordial reception, heightened as it was by the romantic scenery around them, and their affable and courteous manners appeared to give heartfelt satisfaction to every individual.

Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria left Chatsworth early on Wednesday morning, and were escorted as far as Ashborne (at which place they were between eleven and twelve o'clock by the Wirksworth Yeomanry, under the command of Captain Goodwin. They were received amid the ringing of the church bells and the enthusiastic acclamations of the inhabitants. The civil authorities were in attendance, and the whole scene had a lively and splendid appearance. The highest enconium is due to Mr. Brooks, the recently established proprietor of the Green Man and Black's Head Hotel for the magnificent and expensive display he main on this occasion, in the decoration and caparison of his horses and postilions.