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The Promenade, Matlock Bath
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Thrre 1870s images



Late 1905

Jubilee Bridge

Churches & Chapels

This is an excellent view of Matlock Bath's Promenade and Gardens in the early years of the twentieth century, probably dating from 1900 although it may date from a year or two before as the trees and shrubs are not very mature. The view is towards the Heights of Jacob and on the right are the shops and businesses of Derwent Terrace on North Parade, all of which would have enjoyed a wonderful outlook. The building furthest right housed the Derby and Derbyshire Bank Company Limited and next door is the relatively newly built Derwent Terrace Wesleyan Methodist Church. An enlargement of the church is featured below.

The promenade was, together with Jubilee Bridge, part of a scheme to commemorate the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria's reign in 1887. Matlock Bath and Scarthin Nick Local Board acquired land belonging to Mrs. Rogers and Messrs Greenhough, Buxton and Howe on the north side of the River Derwent and on the south side a portion of Lovers' Walks, which was the property of F. C. Arkwright, and they were to connect the two pieces of land with the bridge[1]. A free public Promenade opposite Derwent Parade, 300 yards in length, had been paid for by public subscription in 1873-4. The 1887 Promenade was extended by a further 100 yards over land leased at a rent from Mr. Henry Cooper[2]. It ran from the Midland Hotel to the opposite side of the road from the Fountain Baths.

In April 1887 a local press report commented that the gardens were sufficiently near to completion to show what an immense improvement they would be for "this long neglected although beautiful health and pleasure resort". Matlock Bath's visitors would notice an improvement to "what was last year a most untidy and slovenly frontage on the river side of the Derwent Parade." It was "transformed into a very beautiful piece of ornamental ground, and a promenade of no mean order, sixteen feet wide and nearly 400 yards long. The ground lying between the new Promenade and the Derwent Parade is intersected by cross walks ten feet wide, connecting the Promenade with the Parade, and the remaining portion is brought down to a level for grass, upon which ornamental dwarf shrubs are tastefully arranged". Both the design and the work were undertaken by Mr. E. Speed[3].

The river wall had been raised by three feet to bring the edge up to a proper level, enabling the ground to be widened from six to eight feet. It was intended to fence the area off from the Derwent Parade by what was described as a dwarf neat iron fence so as not to obstruct the line of sight and a similar one was to be placed on the river wall as a guard to the river[3]. Although low railings were installed next to the road, the proposal for something similar on the top of the river wall was not implemented and it was not until the 1930s that we find photographs which show that a protective barrier had eventually been erected.

The unknown journalist added that the roads, which a few years before were "proverbial as being amongst the worst roads in the county" had been put into first class condition[3]!

John Higton, a nineteenth century geologist with an interest in all things relating to Matlock Bath, recorded that the trees and shrubs had been given by the Honorable Mr. Trollope, Mr. Peters of Guilderoy and Mr. John Brown of Matlock Bank[4].

Enlargement of the Wesleyan Methodist Church

You may like to view more onsite information
Matlock Bath's Main Attractions
Postcards of Matlock Bath, about 1890. The River Derwent and Derwent Terrace, Matlock Bath, probably from the railway bridge. Three images
There is another image of the buildings of North Parade, including the church, in the Images Only section (Image 1)


Before 1902

About 1904-05

Before 1905

Before 1904

About 1902

About 1905

About 1915


Tufa fountain

War memorial

Band stand

Road widening

"Promenade, Matlock Bath". The "Wyndham" Series, W2088. Posted 7 Aug 1905 in Matlock Bath and sent to Mansfield, but no message.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and information written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 9 May 1887. The Jubilee Committee announced in a letter from Mr. John Wright of The Villa, the committee's Chairman, to Matlock Bath and Scarthin Nick Local Board. The Local Board was to have the entire management of the grounds, and could make any arrangements they liked providing they remained pleasure grounds.

[2] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[3] "Derbyshire Times", 30 April 1887.

[4] "ibid.", 22 Feb 1890. Mr. Higton was setting the record straight as there had been a claim that it was not know who had provided the plants. Charles Trollope lived at the New Bath Hotel for a number of years. See the 1891 census.