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Matlock Bath: General Views from Cat Tor, 1906 - 1913
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings

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View from Cat Tor (1)

View from Cat Tor (2)

New Bath Hotel (2),
with lime tree

Derwent Gardens - The Switchback, (1) Rise & Fall

Three more views looking north from Cat Tor, photographed from the same position. Although similar to other images, the focus has moved slightly away from the New Bath hotel shown on the two previous pages although we can still see a very small area of its garden on the extreme left in the first two pictures here. The church and the Royal Hotel are centre stage. The top card is the later of these two images and shows the relatively newly built extension on the back of the Royal Hotel (behind the church and to its left). The Grand Pavilion or Kursaal (behind the church, to its right) was also now part of the scene, the second pavilion to be built in the village. Although trees slightly obscure this Pavilion, we can see both the dome and the southern side of the building. Curiously, the ferry house on the river bank had not been demolished. The remains of the lime tree in the New Bath's grounds, blown down in 1912, had been removed, which suggests a date of 1912-13 for the card.

The second card is from a somewhat earlier date as the New Bath's lime tree was still standing and the extension on the back of the Royal Hotel had not been built. This image was therefore first published before 1908, and probably between the dates suggested below.

Roll over this image to find the places mentioned in the text

We can see just how lovely the shared grounds of the Royal Hotel and the Pavilion above it were at that time, with the hotel's grounds bordering Clifton Road and sloping down to the back of Holy Trinity Church. Mr. Buxton's Derwent Gardens, with its switchback railway taking pride of place, were between the road and the river and we can just see the shed at the southern end of the track.

The hotel had been restored in 1906. "Standing in 20 acres of beautifully wooded and romantic pleasure grounds, shaded in summer and sheltered in winter, it is an ideal home"[1]. Available activities included golf links up the hill, fishing in the Derwent, tennis, croquet and billiards. In addition, music was provided twice daily by Mr. Luigo Avanzi's Milanese Orchestra. For those who could afford it, the Royal Hotel must have been a delightful place to stay.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 30 May 1912

In perfect climate and enchanting scenery, surrounded by summer beauty of Tor and Dale
in the English Switzerland. At the
Royal Hotel
Matlock Bath. You will appreciate the alert service, prompt attention, and excellent cuisine.
There is just the right atmosphere about this Hotel, and facilities for every amusement, mild or
strenuous. The "cure" installation, too, will interest you. Moderate Tariff. Booklets on
application to Manager Royal Hotel, MATLOCK BATH.

The final image is perhaps the clearest view of the extended Royal Hotel, which is almost in the centre of the picture. The building was partially destroyed by fire at Easter time of 1929 - the year after the Ward Lock guide the image is scanned from was published. However, the date of the Thomas Meredith Henshall's photograph is uncertain and was possible even pre-war.

Matlock Bath and the Derwent
The buildings bottom right are Bath Terrace Hotel, which became part of the New Bath,
Portland House at the bottom of Clifton Road and Hartle's Bazaar on Derby Road.
The old Royal Pavilion, which had been re-named the Palais Royal in 1923, is top left
surrounded by woodland.

There is more information about the hotel and the fire on:
Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel & Baths (2)
Matlock Bath : New Bath Hotel shows a photograph of what remained after the fire.

It is rather sad that, although the Derwent Gardens remain today, for a variety of reasons there is no switchback railway, no Royal Hotel and no Palais Royal. The two last mentioned former tourist spots are now a large car park and a theme park.

Ward Lock cover, 1928

Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

Bath Terrace Hotel

Portland House

Hartle's Bazaar

1. "Matlock Bath : General View from Cat Tor". Postcard in the Celesque Series, Published by Photochrom Co Ltd, London and Tunbridge Wells, No.B.33149. Printed in England. Not posted. Other cards posted in 1913. Image © Ann Andrews collection.
2. "Matlock Bath : General View from Cat Tor". Photochrom Sepiatone. Unposted. This image © Susan Tomlinson collection.
3. Photograph taken by Thomas Meredith Henshall of Matlock Bath. Undated.
Image published in Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1928). It was also published in the 1926-7 Series.
The photographs in the book were unlikely to have been taken specifically for the guide and were also not necessarily of the same date the book was published.
From the collection of, provided for this website by and © Ray Ash.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 29 June 1906. Royal Hotels and Baths, Matlock Bath.

More Matlock Bath images from the 1928 Ward Lock Guide

Fish Pond,

North Parade

The Parade