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Matlock Bath: The Grand Pavilion, 1920s
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The Glove Factory

The Fish Pond Hotel, 1900

The Fish Pond Hotel,
about 1910

Fish Pond Hotel, 1930s

Travelling by Motor Charabanc

Charles White junior as a teenager in Scarthin

Four postcards of the Grand Pavilion, all taken in the 1920s.

On both the top and second card, below, we can see part of the Fish Pond Hotel; in the 1920's the proprietress was Lilian Hicking[1]. The first image (Matlock Bath at Sunset) is the earlier of the two; what is interesting is that what had been a very large sign advertising the Fish Pond Stables on the side of the shop next door[2] has been painted over. However, on the second picture all evidence of the sign has gone, indicating that the side wall of the shop next door had perhaps been rebuilt. The hotel had also been repainted in the intervening years; what looks like a large window on the first floor of the first view was actually two windows with a darkly painted sign between them. Perhaps this was painted over when the new wooden sign, shown below, was put in place.

The large building on the far side of the Fish Pond from the photographer was burned down in 1929 and was never rebuilt. On the roof of the building are the words "Boden's Restaurant"; it had been used as a restaurant before the First War but after the war it became the glove factory.

Matlock Bath

The second card shows that the Grand Pavilion Theatre was running the silent film "If Business Interferes", made by F.B.O. in 1925 and starring Dorothy Revier. Other cast members were Ford Sterling, Robert Agnew and Thomas Rickets. Although this card was stamped 15 May 1938 on the back, the photo for the card was taken well before then; it will have been taken in 1927[3]. In the bus stop area is a woman with sign board; she was selling linen at 2d though it is unclear what was actually on offer. By the time this picture was taken the relatively narrow entrance opposite the Pavilion's main door, where the boy is standing in the top picture, had gone and the bus stop and seating area had been enlarged.

The Fish Pond and Pavilion, Matlock Bath

The third picture shows the Pavilion from the north and includes the Fish Pond, with the fountain in the large tufa rock. There is a car outside the Pavilion's main entrance and a bus travelling towards Cromford on the right. We can see the redesigned entrance layout and bus stop area.

At the end of 1927 the finances of Pavilion were causing some concern amongst certain members of the local Council, even though the car park was making money. At a monthly meeting at the end of December they discussed letting the building, which they had run as a picture house for some considerable time. Councillor Lubin G Wildgoose, who lived in Matlock, said the Pavilion had lost £820 the previous year, a loss equal to 2s. 7d. rate on the assessment of Matlock Bath. Councillor Wildgoose questioned the necessity of keeping the building for the benefit of the trade of Matlock Bath. However, Mr. Le Blanc Smith of Matlock Bath pointed out that Matlock Bath had willingly born the burden before the amalgamation of the two Councils (Matlock UDC with Matlock Bath & Scarthin Nick UDC), and "it would be hard lines if the Pavilion was now closed in their faces". The decision was deferred until end of finacial year[4].

The second Valentine's image from 1927 is not overly sharp but does show numerous vehicles
at the front of the Grand Pavilion.

The heated discussions continued in 1928 following a proposal by Mr. F. D. Baxter to close the Pavilion Cinema because of its heavy losses. Having appointed a special sub-committee to go into the whole question of the Pavilion, the Council decided to continue showing pictures though the only way they could economise was to sack both the violinist and bass player. This meant that two people were out of a job. It was also decided to improve the lower room and make it fit for catering and dancing. Mr. Randle, who had been the manager, asked to be relieved of his duties and the Council decided to manage the building with a sub committee![5]

Matlock Bath did not enjoy a good summer season in 1929. It is hardly surprising as two buildings close to the Pavilion, the Glove Factory premises and the Royal Hotel, had gone. The slump in trade led to Councillor Charles Frederick White putting the following resolution before a Council meeting in early September:

"That this council views with alarm the continued and increasing financial loss on the Pavilion and pleasure grounds at Matlock Bath, and recommends to the Pleasure Grounds Committee and sub-committee the urgent need for curtailing the expenditure and the giving up of unprofitable and unnecessary undertakings"[6].

White's resolution was defeated, but not before one of the sub-committee, Mr. Sadler, had offered his resignation as a result of what was said to be the carping criticism of both him and the sub-committee by Mr. White[7]. In retrospect it seems a strange irony that, almost twenty years after his father (also Charles) had done all in his power to get the Pavilion built, his son wanted it to be closed. History shows that the Pavilion survived the various crises, but the late 1920s had been turbulent.

Grand Pavilion
(Kursaal) 1910-12

Grand Pavilion
(The Kursaal) 1915

Pavilion, Obelisk & Spar Shop

Grand Pavilion,

The Ballroom, before 1928

Grand Pavilion, 1930s

Pavilion, 1938

Pavilion Grounds

Industrial Exhibition 1946

Musical Festival 1961

1. "Matlock Bath at Sunset", t334. Not posted © Ann Andrews collection. There was a black and white version, N.526. In the collection of provided by and © Ann Andrews
2. "Matlock Bath". Valentine's Real Postcards, No. 202150 JV. Unposted, though registered in 1927 and date stamped 15 May 1938. In the collection of provided by and © Ken Smith.
3. "The Fish Pond and Pavilion, Matlock Bath". Donlion Productions Ltd., Doncaster. No.25 57. Unposted. In the collection of provided by and © Ken Smith.
4. "Matlock Bath. One of Valentine's Picture Panels of Matlock & District. Twelve Real Photos, printed in Great Britain, No.202151. First published in 1927.
Researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links lead to more on site information):

[1] Lilian Hicking was shown as the proprietress in Kelly's Directory, 1922, 1925 and 1928 although in 1928 she was just a beer retailer with no address given. She and her husband seem to have run the pub between them (from the recollections of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from papers owned and provided by Mrs. Doreen Buxton). She had taken over the licence from her brother Harry (Norman Harry) Sellors. Lilian Sellors (Florence Lilian C) was born in Tewsksbury in 1875 and married Ernest Hicking in 1919.

[2] See Matlock Bath: Nos. 1 & 2 South Parade, 1906

[3] The publisher registered the following card in the series (No.202151) in August 1927, which helps date this card.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 20 December 1927.

[5] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 16 October 1928. Matlock [Bath] Cinema to Carry On. Musicians "Sacked" to Economise.

[6] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 13 September 1929. Matlock Pavilion Problem. Councillor's Alarm. Councillor F. White has given notice to move at Monday's meeting of Matlock Urban District Council the following resolution ...

[7] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 17 September 1929.