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Matlock Bath: Views from Waterloo Road, 1920s - 1940s
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Matlock Bath from Waterloo Road
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Musical Festival

River Derwent & Devonshire Hotel

Aviaries and Monkey Houses, Lovers' Walks

Royal Hotel

Glove Factory

Here are three sepia cards, showing South Parade and the River Derwent from various viewpoints on Waterloo Road.

Although the top postcard was not used, the image was registered by Valentine's in 1927. We can see the dome of Grand Pavilion, originally called "The Kursaal", peeping above the trees with the Royal Hotel immediately behind it; the original (Old) Pavilion is higher up the hillside. The large rounded roof, bottom right, belongs to the Fountain Baths. Houses on Temple Walk can be seen above the shops and houses of South Parade.

People were strolling along the footpaths of Lovers' Walks on the left side of the riverbank.

Whilst it is difficult to see, there is a banner spanning the main road through the village, seemingly suspended between the Devonshire Hotel and the buildings opposite (so possibly 1 or 2 North Parade), and advertising Matlock Bath's Musical Festival. This was an annual event that had begun in September 1923[1]. So we can calculate that this photograph would have been taken in either the August or September of 1927.

The second image was taken a few years earlier. It affords us a better view of the church, the Grand Pavilion and Royal Hotel as it was photographed from slightly higher up, so we can see Matlock Bath against the backdrop of both Cat Tor (behind the church and to the left) and the Cromford hillside in the far distance. Close to the bend in the road is the Devonshire Hotel, with the white rectangular sign high up on the hotel's wall, and beyond it is a white building. This was originally William's Garage and was later used by North Western Bus Co.[2] It also shows us, centre and just above the bottom of the post card (go a little to the right from the word collection), the aviaries and monkey houses on Lovers' Walks that were such an attraction between the wars.

The third image was, again, not posted but probably dates from the 1930s. Two important buildings had suffered irreparable fire damage in early 1929 and had to be demolished. The main wing of the Royal Hotel had been destroyed and was never rebuilt. Boden's Restaurant (later the Glove Factory building) next to the Grand Pavilion had also disappeared from the landscape.

Enlargement of a section of the third postcard, showing what remained of the Royal Hotel after the 1929 fire.
There are buses in the Grand Pavilion's car park. These also would not have been seen before the glove factory fire.

1. "Matlock Bath from Waterloo Road". Valentine's Post Card, No.202147 JV. Published in 1927. "This is a real photograph". Re-scanned March 2014.
2. "Matlock Bath". Judges Ltd., Hastings, No.4962. Not posted, but published before 1921.
3. "Matlock Bath, from Heights of Abraham". No publisher, but No.26741.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Monday 10 September 1923.

[2] See: Matlock Bath: Bus Services, 1912 - 1933, Tickets and Timetables.