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Matlock Bath: Promenade Gardens, about 1915
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Old railing removed

New railings, 1908

Shows gates and fencing

Following the Matlock Bath Improvement Act of 1905 several major changes were made to the Promenade[1]. The Council's proposals had been published in "The London Gazette" at the end of 1904. These included enlarging the recreation and pleasure grounds, improving the banks of the river and providing shelters, seats, kiosks, boathouses and other buildings. They wanted to extend their powers regarding their existing pleasure grounds in the district, including the river walks and other public walks. They also wished to charge admission[2].

The Promenade had initially been fenced with a low railing, so charging admission meant the railings had to be replaced by something considerably higher and stronger. In addition, entrance gates would be needed to limit the points of entry. These were all to be in place by Easter 1906[3]. This meant that the Promenade and riverbank could no longer be seen from the pavements of North Parade although the residents could still enjoy the view from their upstairs windows. A report in the Manchester newspaper during the summer of 1906 commented that Matlock Bath was endeavouring to attract visitors with the first programme ever catered for by the local Council. This included band concerts on the promenade and Pierrots, but the proposal for dancing to be introduced had been abandoned after a decision by the magistrates[4].

By the time the top photograph was taken in 1914 a hedge had been planted on the Promenade side of the railings and was growing to a good height and the shelter in the middle distance had been erected. There were still no railings beside the river so, although there were railings to keep people out who did not want to pay, there was still nothing to protect people who did gain entry from falling into the river! And some did.

At a meeting of Matlock Bath Urban District Council in 1920 the chairman, Mr. J Boden, J.P., reported that the combined takings of the Promenade and the Pavilion for the month of August showed the total income was nearly double that of 1919, and almost four times 1916[5].

Promenade and lamp

The second photograph is looking in the same direction, but was taken from slightly closer to the Promenade's main entrance next to the Midland Hotel. The picture was taken after the first image as some of the trees are bigger, and probably dates from about 1919. The War Memorial was eventually to replace the lamp post.

Also see:
About Matlock Bath's Memorial
Unveiling Matlock Bath's War Memorial
Matlock Bath: Remembrance Day, about 1930

About 1900

Before 1902

About 1904-05

Before 1905

Before 1904

About 1902

About 1905


Tufa fountain
War memorial

Band stand

Road widening

1. "Promenade Gardens, Matlock Bath". Valentine's Series, No. 79513. Not posted but first registered in 1914. Another card was posted in 1919. Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
2." Matlock Bath, Promenade and Heights of Jacob". Photochrom Co. Ltd., London & Tunbridge Wells No.49094. Exclusive Sepiatone Series. Unposted. © Pauline Jordan.
Images scanned for this website and information researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only


[1] "The Times", 3 Jun, 1905. House of Lords: Matlock Bath Improvement Bill read for the third time and passed on Friday 2 June. The Royal Assent was given to the Bill and the Matlock Bath Improvement Act became law on 4 August, 1905.
[2] "The London Gazette", 22 Nov 1904. Matlock Bath Improvement. Notice to apply to Parliament to introduce a Bill.
[3] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 23 September 1905.
[4] "Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser", 2 June 1906. The Pleasure Resorts.
[5] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 16 September 1920. Matlock Bath Prosperity.