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Matlock Bath from Cat Tor
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Postcard of Matlock Bath from Cat Tor, dating from about 1905 - 1910
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Nineteenth Century Engraving

New Bath Hotel (2)

Derby Road, Hartle's Bazaar

Woodland House

Views from Cat Tor

Matlock Bath Today (5)

This lovely coloured postcard, taken from the top of Cat Tor, dates from the late nineteenth century and shows Derby Road and the New Bath Hotel. At the very bottom of the photograph, which is enlarged lower down the page, is the roof of the former Matlock Bath School with the rear of the houses of Woodland Terrace alongside the school. Their gardens slope down to the edge of the River Derwent. Both the houses and the school are built against the hill, so they appear to be smaller in height from the main road than they are in reality. We can also see the end of Woodland House and some of the properties that bordered the driveway up the New Bath hotel (New Bath Road) but were demolished when the A6 was widened in the late 1960s. Further along the riverbank is the Derwent Gardens and the Switchback Railway can be just seen next to the river.

The New Bath is one of Matlock Bath's oldest hotels, of course. In the gardens is a huge tree - the outdoor swimming pool was eventually built in the area next to this tree. At the far end of the garden is what used to be the Bath Terrace or Walker's Hotel; by 1898 the two hotels were under the same ownership[1]. Holy Trinity Church is further along Derby road, towards the centre of the village, and behind stands the relatively newly built Royal Hotel. The hill in the distance is the Heights of Abraham and the white building high on the hillside is the Upper Tower.

The houses at the top of Clifton Road include Dovedale House, at the time home of Mr. Rowland of Matlock Bath school, and the house where the web mistress lived as a young girl. On the same level as the houses is the domed Royal Pavilion, re-branded as the Palais Royal in 1923. The old Pavilion was made of glass and was opened in 1884 by Lord Edward Cavendish. It featured a terrace that was 228 feet long and had extensive landscaped grounds. The entrances were from Clifton Road, now blocked up, and Temple Walk. A band performed twice daily at the old Pavilion throughout the season.

A sepia version of this card was one of the very first images included on the Matlock and Matlock Bath website and can still be seen on the site.

In addition to the properties mentioned in the first paragraph we can see one of Matlock Bath's petrifying wells, mentioned by William Adam in 1838. "Mr. Boden's, by the Post Office, near Saxton's Green, where the head and antlers still are of the deer killed at Chatsworth, on the arrival of Princess Victoria"[2]. Frank Clay tells us that "Mr. Beck later established a bakery in the building over the petrifying well, which used water from the spring supplying the New Bath. The well was down some steps against the middle road to the New Bath Hotel (New Bath Road) and was still in use by the Smiths who ran the Royal Petrifying Well on South Parade"[3]. We can just see the building, tucked under the wall behind the shop opposite the former Matlock Bath School building. You have to look hard for the steps but they are there as well.

The petrifying well is mentioned in the Will of Thomas Boden of Matlock Bath, 1812 (scroll down).


Postcard, "Matlock Bath from Cat Tor", is one of the Valentines Series, No. 17465, first registered in 1892.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] The New Bath Hotel Company was formed in 1898 ("Derbyshire Times", 5 March 1898) and the Bath Terrace was under the same ownership ("Derbyshire Times", 6 August 1898).

[2] Adam, W. (1838) "The Gem of the Peak; or Matlock Bath and Its Vicinity. ..." London; Longman & Co., Paternoster Row ; ... Mawe, Royal Museum, Matlock ; .... This was the first edition of his guide.

[3] Reminiscences of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress.