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Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel, with the large extension
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The Royal Hotel

Royal Hotel & Baths (2)

The Royal Hotel - the Royal or Radium Well

1881 fountain restored after BP's visit

B-P at the Parade in 1917

The Royal Pavilion,
the Palais Royal

The Bath Terrace, also commandeered for use by the Canadian Hospital

The Royal Hotel after the large extension had been added to the rear of the building in 1908. The tennis courts and bowling green can be seen on the left of the hotel. The large Victorian houses on Clifton Road are behind it on the left and The Royal Pavilion (Palais Royal) is on the hillside on the right.

"Daily Telegraph", 15 July 1908 (part of an advertisement).

Royal Hotel & Baths (open all the year round).
Standing in over twenty acres of beautifully wooded and romantic grounds.
With the famous Thermal Spring,
Noted for its anti-acid properties and efficacy in the cure of Gout, Rheumatism and Kindred Ailments
The New Wing is now open, containing large and elegant bedrooms, sitting rooms, and bathrooms en suite. Elegantly and comfortably furnished. Wide banconies to every window.
A spacious New Lounge has been added and the baths enlarged.

Over the years the Royal Hotel was used for public functions and conferences as well as for private visitors. For example, in 1883 the Associated Chamber of Commerce visited the hotel[1]. Six years later the Midland Gas Managers' Association met there[2].

Perhaps the most significant conference that ever took place at the Royal Hotel, though, was during the First World War when the first Boy Scout Commissioners' Conference was held there[3]. The event is still remembered in the village today, commemorated on a plaque beside the drinking fountain that was erected by the Council[4]. The Scout Conference was held in March 1917 and Scouts from the district attended a Sunday Parade. They marched from Matlock to Holy Trinity Church where the Chief Scout, Sir Robin Baden-Powell, read the lesson at a special service. The youngsters then assembled in the grounds of the Royal Hotel, where they were inspected by the Chief Scout[3]. Matlock Bath's Scout and Rovers Troops were named after Baden Powell, presumably to commemorate his visit to the village[5].

This view is slightly later than the top image. Just behind the hotel was a path that joined the drive up to the Royal
Pavilion. From here hotel visitors could quickly reach the Cumberland Cavern.
The card was sent by Richard Bates, a soldier in the West Yorkshire Regiment - 10th (Service) Battalion, in 1914.
(Part of this image appears as a black and white picture on The Royal Pavilion, the Palais Royal page)

Just a few months later, on 30th November, it was announced that the Royal Hotel was to be taken over as a hospital for "wounded Canadian soldiers[6]". The "Derbyshire Advertiser" reported that it "has been taken over by the military authorities as hospital for convalescent Canadian officers"[7].

The hotel was adapted for its new use and was to accommodate 210 patients; the beds, for example, were replaced by regulation hospital ones. The nursing staff were mostly from the Canadian Army Medical Corps., with some VAD nursing staff and other civilains also employed. Remedial exercises took place in the glass pavilion above the hotel. The garden was to be dug up so food could be grown instead[8]. The hotel's licence, that had been granted to Mr. Vetter, was inoperative until the War Office gave up the premises[9].

It was said at the time that "many a pleasant memory of this little country town in the heart of England will be carried home by our guests from over the sea"[8]. Some Canadian servicemen even extended the memory as they took local girls home with them as brides, including Sgt. K. W. Goodman who married Alice Eato. Captain, then Major, George Washington Stodddart of the Canadian Engineers was also treated at the Hospital. He completed his war service, returned to Toronto but after an absence of fifteen years revisited Matlock Bath and married Bernice Hardstaff, whom he had met whilst he was a patient[10]. After a short spell in Canada they settled in Matlock Bath and ran the Canadian Stores and Prom Café.

After the War ended the Canadian Miss Annie Reaby Hinchey, a Sister at the hospital, was honoured by the Government for her service to the country over the preceeding four years[11].

1. "Royal Hotel, Matlock Bath" No publisher details provided. Unposted. Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Pauline Jordan collection.
2. "Matlock Bath, Royal Hotel". No publisher, No.31699. Printed in Britain. Posted 18 Sep 1914 and sent from Wareham Camp, Dorset.
This postcard © Ann Andrews collection.
Images scanned for this website and information researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (the coloured links are to onsite transcripts):

[1] Report in the "Birmingham Daily Post", Saturday, 6 October, 1883. Associated Chamber of Commerce visit to Derby. The final events included the attendees travelling by special train to Cromford station for a visit to Willersley and Mr. Arkwright's invitation. They spent the afternoon at the Royal Hotel, where they were entertained before returning to Derby.

[2] "Birmingham Daily Post", Saturday, 18 May, 1889. Report of the spring meeting of the Midland Gas Managers' Association being held at the Royal Hotel "on Thursday afternoon".

[3] "The Times", 19 Mar, 1917 and "The High Peak News", 24 Mar 1917
[4] Information from Ken Smith. The drinking fountain itself is dated 1881 and was cast by Handyside. This firm had built Friargate Bridge in Derby as well as making lots of post boxes! The County Council's plaque records the 1917 restoration (not 1928 as erroneously recorded elsewhere).

[5] See Baden Powell Scouts, 1933 - Bugle and Drums (1) | Baden Powell Scouts, 1933 (2) | Baden Powell Scouts - Annual Entertainment, 1934

[6] Beresford, Charles "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007). Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8.

[7] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 30 November 1917. The Royal Hotel, Matlock Bath.

[8] "ibid.", 22 March 1918. Article about the Canadian Convalescent Officers' Hospital.

[9] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 20 December 1917. Hotels Commandeered.

[10] "Yorkshire Evening Post", 20 June 1933. Wartime Romance. "Derby Daily Telegraph", 20 June 1933. Matlock Bath Romance.

[11] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 11 April 1919. Red Cross Workers.