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Postcards of Matlock Bath, about 1890
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Postcard of Matlock Bath, about 1890
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Three 1870s images



Shown here are views of the River Derwent and Derwent Terrace in Matlock Bath and were probably taken from the railway bridge around 1890. Although the images are now rather brown because of aging, the post cards show how little of the Upperwood area had been developed by 1890.

The buildings on the opposite side of the road from the river include the Fountain Baths (top image, lower centre, partly behind a tree). The old Fountain Bath had been demolished in 1881; it had measured 39 feet in length by 18 feet wide and was described as having "a low pitched arched roof in which were two circular openings, some two feet in diameter, for light and air, to which were fitted two dome shaped moveable frames as covers". The water was 4 feet deep. Benjamin Bryan observed that "the former Fountain Bath was small, close and inconvenient". It was replaced with a new swimming pool and facilities for hot baths on 2 March 1883. Bryan was more complimentary about the new facilities: "the advantage of the waters can be availed of at as high a temperature as may be desired. These are calculated to meet the requirements of every variety of case and the needs of any applicant for their use"[1]. The premises also housed an Assembly Room that was used for a variety of functions and where Matlock Local Board would meet[2].

Enlargement of part of the above, showing the newly constructed Jubilee Bridge and the landing stage beside the river where
boats could be hired. The large building is Mr. Howe's relatively recently rebuilt Fountain Baths, mentioned above.
Fernie Bank is to the right of the Baths and the properties behind are on Waterloo Road.

One of the shopkeepers with premises on Derwent Parade was Mrs. Priscilla Eaton at No. 8, where she was the proprietress of a large fancy repository which she ran with her husband until his death. She sold off her household goods when she moved away in 1892[3]. Another was the grocer Henry Wyvill who applied for a beer-off license in 1898 so he could sell bottled beer, having received 300 requests for it the previous year. He'd been a grocer in Matlock Bath for 28 years and already held a wine and spirits licence. He was finally granted a licence with the provision that the beer should only be sold in bottles[4]. Peter Reeds and his wife had a restaurant and grocery on the Parade[5]. There was drama in 1891 when fire broke out at the Derwent Parade Post Office, then run by Mr. and Mrs. Clark. The fire was discovered at 10p.m. in a back storeroom next to Mr. Astbury's chemists shop. Things could have been a lot worse but fortunately a quantity of paraffin did not ignite[6].

The Methodist Church sits in the centre of Derwent Parade, though does not stand out as much in these images as it does in others. Beside the river, running from the Fountain Baths down to the garden of the Midland Hotel, is the Promenade. The Promenade of the 1870s had been extended following the erection of the Jubilee Bridge and was to be further landscaped in the next couple of decades. Unfortunately, the main thoroughfare through Matlock Bath was never very wide and the Promenade was largely sacrificed when the road was widened in the late 1960s.

Above Derwent Parade is the zig zag of Waterloo Road leading up to the Round House and the wooded grounds of Heights of Abraham. Part of Temple Walk is also visible, though the Temple Hotel is semi-obscured by the trees.

Almost the same view as the top image. On the right is the garden of the Midland Hotel.

More information about the shops and businesses in Matlock Bath at this time can be found in the following on site transcripts:

The 1891 census for Matlock Bath.
The second half of Enumeration District 11 includes the properties on North Parade, Fountain Villas and Derwent Parade.

Kelly's Directory, 1891 and Kelly's Directory, 1895. Also provide names and addresses.

See Dupré's Analysis of the Thermal Springs at the Fountain Bath

Matlock Bath's Main Attractions

Jubilee Bridge Matlock Bath

The Promenade 1905

1 and 2. "Matlock Bath". The postcard was published by Francis Frith. No.24613.
3. "Matlock Bath from Railway". Also published by Francis Frith. No.24614.
Postcards in the collection of and provided by © Ann Andrews.
Written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[2] "Derbyshire Times ", 7 February 1891. Resolution proposed by Mr. Peters at a Local Board Meeting for the purchase of "the new building owned by the representatives of the late Mr. W. E. Howe (i.e. the Assembly Rooms and Baths, plus the attached cottage) ... to be used as Local Board, clerk's and surveyors offices ... public baths, library, reading room and any other purpose desired by the public". The scheme was abandoned at the next Board meeting. The Executors offered it for sale, but the Lot did not sell.

[3] Mrs. Eaton can be found in the 1891 census, She was living on Museum Parade in 1881.Also see Kelly's 1891 Directory
Her husband had died at 8 Derwent Parade in March 1889 ("Derbyshire Courier", 9 March 1889). He had been a trustee of Scarthin Chapel. She sold off her household goods in 1892 ("Derbyshire Times ", 20 April 1892).

[4] "Derbyshire Times ", 27 August 1898. A Grocer's Beer License.

[5] "Derbyshire Times ", 13 April 1895. Sale by Joseph Hodgkinson of the Reeds household furniture, plus his restaurant and tea room requisites.

[6] "Sheffield Independent", 7 January 1891. Fire at the Matlock Bath Post Office.