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Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel, Pavilion & Holy Trinity Church
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
The Royal Hotel, Pavilion and Holy Trinity Church
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Switchback, Rise & Fall

Adrenalin Rush

The Riverbank,
about 1880

Similar view,
but a "Hold to Light" card

The Royal Hotel and Bathing Establishment

Radium or Royal Well

Fish Pond Stables, Providence Mine & the Mud Heap

The attractive view of the Royal Hotel, the Pavilion and Holy Trinity Church in the top image is of Matlock Bath at the very beginning of the twentieth century. The Switchback in the Derwent Gardens had been open for just over ten years. The entrance was from the Derby Road and people were lined up against the wooden railings, either waiting for their turn or just looking at the "bubble pond" below.

At the bottom of the picture, almost in the centre, is a single storey building with a red roof which would have been used to store various horse drawn vehicles. The building is also shown on one of the Switchback Railway pictures[1].

On the main road, opposite the old Fish Pond Stables, are a couple of small buildings and some hoardings. Although it is impossible to read the advertisements, one of them shows the head of a female. Several things in Matlock Bath were to change after the Matlock Bath Improvements Act was passed in 1905[2]. Part of the scheme was for public lavatories to be built, although the matter had been discussed by the Local Board in 1891 when they were seeking to buy the land below the Royal Hotel from Mrs. Sellors for the purpose[3]. The small buildings are, almost certainly, the toilets with Furniss's booking office next to them[4]. They can also be seen in the second image, below.

Above the left hand end of the Royal Pavilion (it became the Palais Royal after the first war) is a longish building with a brown roof which might have been a skittle or bowling alley. Even higher on the hillside are two of the houses in Upper Wood[6].

However, the main interest is the largish crowd assembled on the rather less attractive rough piece of ground. They are watching a play being performed on an open stage. This picture was taken when there was an attempt to find lead on the plot, prior to the Kursaal (now the Grand Pavilion) being built[5].

A few years later. The annexe of the Royal Hotel was built in 1908. The stage had been removed and the area
that was supposedly a lead mine, in the bare patch just above the title, had been fenced.

A little known additional attraction to the Matlock Bath scene was a lighthouse helter skelter, seen on the far right of Caletta Tinti's sepia photograph (second image, above). It was positioned at the entrance to the Fishpond Stables, so was not part of the Derwent Gardens complex. As far as can be ascertained, its time in the village was short lived. Perhaps it wasn't overly popular or possibly it was for sale (see right) because the land was about to be redeveloped.   The Era 20 March 1909
Wanted to sell
Helter-Skelter Lighthouse,
cheap, in good order.
Fishpond Hotel, Matlock Bath

The patch of ground where the lead workings had been was later to be used as a rubbish tip[4]. These days the area is much higher than it was at the time the pictures were taken, understandable because of its former use. It was eventually covered and converted into two hard tennis courts. In the 1950s candy floss was available from a kiosk at the side of the courts. Then a mini fun fair was installed and it is now a basketball court.

1. "Pavilion, Royal Hotel and Holy Trinity Church, Matlock Bath" published by A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, London E.C., No.1994. Chromotyped in Saxony. Artistic Series. Unposted.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Pauline Jordan.
2. "Matlock Bath From Lovers' Walks". Postcard published by Davidson Bros., London & New York. Printed in England, no.5192-4. The photographer was C. M. Tinti of Matlock Bath. Photo taken 1906-1909. Posted on 12 Apr 1909. There was no message.
The second postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Images scanned for this website and information researched by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.

References (the coloured links lead to more onsite information):

[1] See Switchback, Rise & Fall.

[2] The Royal Assent was given and the Matlock Bath Improvement Act became law on 4 August, 1905.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 12 August, 1891. Report of Local Board meeting.

[4] Recollections of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress, some of which were written in 1998 and remain copyright.

[5] See: Fish Pond Stables, Providence Mine & the Mud Heap

[6] From conversations with Ken Smith.