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Matlock: View From Matlock Bank
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View of Matlock from Matlock Bank

View, from Matlock Bank, of Matlock Village, High Tor, Masson, and the Middle Peak Hills in the Distance
Engraving by H. Dudley, used as the frontispiece in "Practical Hydropathy"
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An image from:

Smedley's Practical Hydropathy

John Smedley

Bemrose's Guide, p.42

William Adam provided an early description of the exterior of the hydro and its grounds in the 1857 of "Gem of the Peak". Because the hydro had been built on sloping hilside there were a series of raised terraces, "well planted with open borders and basket-work, formed of the tufa found at Matlock Bath". There were alcoves and summer-houses at the corners, a gymnastic house glassed in and a spacious plot for outdoor exercises. The aspect was southerly, so sheltered from the cutting east winds.

The hydro "commands views into the beautiful Dales of Tansley, Darley and Matlock. High Tor, the church and its rocks were part of the view from the saloon, with "the Heights of Masson Low directly in front, Riber to the South and between the two the pine-crowned hill of Barrel Edge and the Black Rocks ; ... to the west the towering hills of Middleton by Wirksworth and to the north the beautiful Darley Dale".

Around twenty years later, In his preface to the 15th edition of "Practical Hydropathy", William B. Hunter also describes the hydro's setting:

"SMEDLEY'S INSTITUTION, as situated in Matlock, is in the centre of England, in the midst of a district renowned for its varied and beautiful scenery, and stands on the south-western slope of a range of sandstone hills, at an altitude which secures a pure, dry, and bracing atmosphere. It is remote from the great centres of population, with their contaminations, yet is easy of access, and is surrounded by numerous objects of interest, alike from the natural, artistic, and antiquarian point of view".

"Practical Hydropathy", which John Smedley produced in several editions, describes the treatments the hydro offered and includes several engravings of the local scenery. These are randomly scattered throughout the book and the page they are on tells us nothing about the images other than their title. This image shows High Tor and Masson, the railway bridge over the river near the Boat House Hotel and the church with Knowleston Place below it. There were settlements in Matlock Town and Matlock Green, but both the Bank and Matlock Bridge were hardly developed at this time.

More images from "Practical Hydropathy":
Starting out

Drawing Room


Riber Hall

Matlock Bath

The Heights

High Tor


Riber Castle

The above mid 19th century engraving has been taken from:
Smedley, John "Smedley's Practical Hydropathy, 15th ed.", James Blackwood & Co., Paternoster Row, London. By the time this edition was published Mr. Smedley had died and the business had been taken over by Smedley's Hydropathic Company (Limited)
Image scan and information researched by © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.