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Matlock Bath: Dale Road, Holme Road & the Prospect Tower
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Dale Road 1895

Matlock Bath & the Heights of Abraham, 1890s

County & Station Hotel, 1900-1939

County & Station, Holmefield House

Dale Road & The Heights of Abraham, about 1948

Victoria Prospect Tower

Two quite dark sepia images, showing the bottom of Holme Road and the view up to the Heights of Abraham. The top picture is by Hawley; at present we don't know who he is, but some of his cards have "Matlock, Bath Road" on them so it is probable that he lived in the Dale for a time. This postcard could date from about 1910.

On the left was the North Parade drapery run by the Bryan family. William Bryan started the business some time before 1871[1], living in Cavendish House above family concern, and his son Albert William sold "the whole of the furnishings and General Drapers' and Ladies' and Gents' outfitters' stock in trade" in 1935[2]. "Bert" Bryan, who was the choirmaster at Holy Trinity, had a workroom with a glass roof behind the shop where hats were made[3].

The building on the right, with the large oval sign, is the County and Station on Dale Road. A weighing machine stood outside for many years.

We can only see premises on the left hand side of Holme Road. There is a very small lock up shop behind Bryans. Joseph Hardy had a butchery here in the early twentieth century[4] and Anthony Carline,who died at the end of 1952, was there from around 1928[3]. Next up the hill are former stables, which housed a club house on the first floor for a long time. Before 1914 this was the Unionist Club[5]. Partly hidden by the hotel's sign was a general stores, run in the 1930s and 1940s by Mr. Smithson of Speedwell Cottage in Upperwood[3]. The Mortimers were there for a time post war[6]. Just to the left of it is the roof of the workshop used by Frank Clay[7] and earlier by Frank Higton.

In the second picture, which is probably dates from either the late 1920s or the early 1930s as Bryans were still trading, there are two signs advertising "Victoria Prospect Tower Rutland Cavern, Heights of Abraham, Refreshments, Licensed". One is on the left, close to the photographer, whilst the other is on the side of Bryan's shop at the bottom of Holme Road. It is unclear when Samuel Sprinthall first applied for a licence to sell alcohol at the Heights, but it 1905 he appealed for a reduction in the assessment under what was then the new Licensing Act. He managed to show that the income for teas was more than for intoxicating drinks, the total being £75, he was granted a reduction of 50% which cut what he had to pay to £5 a year[8].

Next door but one to the County and Station was the Midland Restaurant in part of the ground floor of Holmefield House. There is a long sign over the door and the two windows. It was run by Mrs. S. E. Marsh in 1932[9].

Enlargements of the second post card


Opposite the bottom of Holme Road is the Midland Hotel which was run by Miss Eleanor Smedley for a good part of the nineteenth century.

The enlarged detail on the left shows a small lean-to with a glass roof and supporting columns. This had at one time been the "verandah" over Smith's Royal Museum and was bought by Miss Smedley from Mr. Samuel Wade of Derby (formerly of Matlock) in 1887. The transaction was reported in the local press as the spar dealer Samuel Smith, who ran the Museum, sued Wade - his late landlord - for £50 damages sustained by Wade's trespass, "the defendant having removed a verandah from over the shop which the plaintiff occupied"[10]. It is not known if Samuel Smith was compensated but the verandah stayed at the Midland.

A rather curious shape can be seen amongst the trees in one of the gardens on Masson
Road. It can be seen on both of the main images, though it is clearer in the second.
When the Jaques family lived at Danbury Lodge[11] they had a long wooden shed at the
top of their garden. The floor was covered with matting as the building was used for both
hockey and cricket practice by the sons, who played various sports[3].

There are two good 19th century stereo views of the Midland Hotel in the "Just Images" section. Go to image 19 and image 20.

1. "Approach. Prospect Tower Matlock". Publisher Hawley of Matlock, No 283. No date. Image © Kenneth Smith collection.
2. "Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath". Published by Lilywhite Ltd., Triangle, Halifax. No.MAT.3.44. "Lilywhite" British "Photreprod" (Regd.) Not posted. Image © Ann Andrews collection.
3. & 4. are enlargements of 2.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] The Bryan family was living over the shop at the time of the 1871 census. Also see the Bryan MI at Holy Trinity Church. Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1916 has an advertisement.

[2] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 1 and 8 March 1935, The auctioneer was Noel Wheatcroft

[3] Recollections of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from private papers and notes owned by Mrs. Doreen Buxton, some of which were written in 1992 and are still within copyright.

[4] Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1912 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory

[5] 1911 census.

[6] The Mortimers sold sweets in cone shaped bags. They also owned a three wheeled Morgan car! They had been on South Parade before then. See Matlock Bath Business Letterheads.

[7] Frank Clay was my father. It was from the Holme Road workshop that he produced the set pieces for the Venetian Fete in the 1950s.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", 9 December 1905 and "Derby Daily Telegraph", 22 December 1905. Matlock Petty Sessions, Councillor Samuel Sprinthall's application.

[9] Kelly's Directory 1932.

[10] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Tuesday 17 May 1887.

[11] The Jaques family can be found at Danbury Lodge in Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1912 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory