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Matlock: Oldham House Hydro, Lounge, 1920s-1930s
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Oldham House Hydro, Prospect Place & Woodlands School

Oldham House and Prospect Place Hydro, 1903 Advertisement

Oldham House Hydro

Oldham House Hydro, Wellington Street, 1920s

Dining Room

Tennis court & bowling green

Vernon Lamb Archive,

In 1918 the hydro's lounge was described as "good" and central heating had been installed throughout the establishment[1]. We can see a large radiator on the far left. Oldham House was by then lit by electricity - there is a light switch close to the radiator. An earlier image of the lounge shows gas lighting and a more ornamental fireplace; the oval mirror above the fireplace in this photo replaced a mirrored fireplace top.

Apart from their being rather a lot of furniture in a smallish space, hydro lounges were often home to a piano as the instrument would provide entertainment for the visitors. There is a large piece of furniture on the far right that we can only partially see but it looks like a musical instrument. Lubin George Wildgoose and his wife Jane (nee Barnsley) ran the hydro by this time and Lubin was well known as a keen musician. At the time of their marriage in 1898 he had been an organist at the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Bank Road chapel for over 9 years and the wedding presents given to the couple included an organ[2].

One almost wishes that the staff had removed the somewhat crumpled antimacassar on the back of the armchair before the photo was taken. Antimacassars were made of cloth, or even lace, and sometimes were hand embroidered as this one was. They were used both for decorative purposes and also to keep the chair clean as they could be washed regularly. Macassar oil was hugely popular hair product, designed to keep men's (and some women's) hair tidy. But it would also leave behind a greasy residue on the chair fabric and over time would look unsightly.

See samples of their notepaper on Matlock: Letterheads of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (4), N - R
The Vernon Lamb Archive, Hydros and Convalescing, Index has 15 photos of the hydro's staff and guests.

"The Lounge, Oldham & Prospect Hydro, Matlock". The only clue to a publisher is K Ltd in the stamp box. No.3081. Not used.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 28 June 1918.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 5 February 1898.