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Holy Trinity Church and the Switchback Railway, Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings

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Church & Boat House 1887-9

Lovers' Walks and River Derwent

Switchback, Rise & Fall

Adrenalin Rush

A very tranquil view of Holy Trinity Church and the River Derwent, taken from the Lovers' Walks on the opposite bank. The church spire soars over the Switchback Railway in the Derwent Gardens. Boats could be hired from the landing stage on the river's edge and there was a ferry station just out of the picture on the right.

It is striking just how empty the river bank was as even in less than ideal weather there were usually visitors and the Switchback was always busy during the season. Perhaps it was early morning.

There is an amusing story of an occurence in early October 1902, when Matlock was"rapidly emptying". Late visitors to the village found the Derwent enveloped in a thick pall of mist. "Matlock was wrapped from end to end in white mysteriousness. The precipitous crags and lofty masses of trees were but faint shadows. The whole of the valley was itself a ghostly world ... All that could be detected of the Switchback was the sound of screams of laughter, by which one inferred that parties, totally invisible, were riding up and down in the fog". ... Fortunately, when the remaining visitors woke the next morning all had changed and Matlock Bath was bathed in bright sunshine. The local paper advised its readers that: "Now, acordingly, is the time to spend a week at Matlock, with only its scenery for company, and in a few days' time, to watch the autumn dye the green Derwent Dale yellow, red, and purple"[1].


Just in front of the main switchback building, almost obscured by the boat house, was the Derwent Gardens Cafe. You can just read the sign in the enlargement on the left.

Matlock Bath: Derwent Gardens - The Café (1)
Matlock Bath: Derwent Gardens - The Café (2)

The pretty Art Noveau design, below, is a coloured version of the top picture from the same publisher but was unfortunately wrongly labelled. It may say "St. John's Church, Matlock, from the Derwent, Derbyshire" but either the publisher or the printer didn't do his homework! It seems strange that a company should print the same image, and yet get the name of the church so totally wrong.

Art Nouveau card

1 and 2. "Holy Trinity Church, Matlock from the Derwent". Printed for the 'Philco' Publishing Co. Ltd. for A Peters, Midland Road, Derby. Greetings from Derbyshire. [Printed in] Saxony [under stamp]. Posted 14 Jul 1913 at Derby. Personal message.
3. "St. John's Church, Matlock, from the Derwent, Derbyshire" [sic] Published by The Philco Publishing Co., Holborn Place, London, WC, Series 1130 - Printed at the works in Germany.
Posted 23 Jul 1916. Another card of this design was posted in 1910.
From the collection of, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
ntended for personal use only.

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

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 4 October 1902. Gleanings in the Peak and West Derbyshire.