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Matlock Bath, South Parade & the Pitchings
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The Pitchings, Matlock Bath, DBY  Frank Clay
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Adam's Royal Museum
formerly Mawe's)



Edwardian Matlock Bath



South Parade and the Heights of Abraham, 1905



South Parade, 1909



Matlock Bath Today (3)



Print of The Pitchings, Matlock Bath, with the wooded Heights of Abraham in the background from an original drawing by the web mistress' father.

The Pitchings rises steeply from South Parade; the narrow roadway was known locally as the Pitchings after the pitch stones - hard stone cobbles - that were used to surface it. It is now part of Waterloo Road. Hodgkinson's Hotel is the building behind the tree. A much bigger hotel, the Great Hotel, originally ran the length of the Parade but it did not succeed and was split up into smaller units; the section beside the Pitchings is the only part that remained as an hotel. It became Varley's Hotel[1], where the writer Ebenezer Rhodes stayed when he visited Matlock Bath about 1818 (quoted below)[2]. It was next known as the Matlock Bath Hotel or Robinson's Hotel[3], as the proprietor was Thomas Robinson. It was subsequently run by Job Hodgkinson and his wife Sarah[4]. Mr. Hodgkinson's nephew William Brooker took over the business in 1857[5]. Despite members of the Hodgkinson family not running the hotel for well over a century, the hotel's name has remained.

This was where coaches travelling through the village used to change their horses. There was stabling on the opposite side of the road but the original stabling was part of the way up the Pitchings, on the right hand side (between the backs of the buildings on North Parade and the properties on what used to be Waterloo Square). This was where Mawe's, later Adam's, Royal Museum had their workshops.


Ebenezer Rhodes wrote:

"We ended a long day's perambulation at Varley's Hotel ; but so completely was my mind occupied with the scenery around me that I walked very deliberately into the front room of an adjoining house and rudely disturbed an evening party ... I was evidently an intruder : the master of the house leaned back in his chair, and with a Stentorian voice that waked me from my reverie bawled out "This is not an inn, Sir" ...

The comforts of a good inn can only be duly appreciated by those who, like myself and my companions, have been rambling for days together amongst the moreland and wild rocky glens, subject to those privations consequent on such exertions ... we had no reason to regret that we had made Varley's Hotel our home during our short stay at Matlock Bath"[2].


Matlock Bath has long been a tourist centre, with people first visiting the village to take the waters, be fascinated by the petrifying wells and wonder at the caverns - or to just 'Promenade' and be seen. The Napoleonic Wars saw many come who had not visited before and the construction of the railway in 1848 brought a very different kind of tourist as it opened things up for the city dwellers. The village's popularity cannot be over-exaggerated; in the year 1912 some 12,000 people had already entered the village by midday on Good Friday![6]

Readers may be interested to know that the render on the exterior of the hotel was limewashed for Warren Boden in 1938, the windows were painted white and stonework (window cills, etc) was washed down[7]. Limewashing was and still is a traditional finish for buildings, and in keeping with the date of the South Parade buildings. Croston, writing in both 1862 and 1868 noted that "the museum parade, with its long row of shops and hotels, their delicate white and cream-coloured fronts agreeably harmonising with the varied greenery behind"[8]. Croston was not, of course, talking of the brilliant white of modern paints but would have been a light cream colour or off-white.

Hall's "Days in Derbyshire", 1863 has an illustrated advertisement for Hodgkinson's Hotel.
Matlock Bath Business Letterheads.
Frank Clay, artist. Examples of the work of a Derbyshire artist. This page is elsewhere within The Andrews Pages.
Hodgkinson's Hotel website.


Lists Through the Centuries: Arrivals at Matlock Bath, 1820-1850. European Royal families and nobility, British politicians, academics, clergy, members of the British aristocracy and upper and middle classes of society. Some of them would have stayed at Hodgkinson's.


Print, from a drawing by and part of the Frank Clay estate, and © Ann Andrews collection.
Re scanned Oct, 2015. This was one of the first images on the web site.
Information written, researched, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links go to on site transcripts):

[1] Mr. Varley's advertisement is given in Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1819.

[2] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.

[3] Thomas Robinson can be found on Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1822. He was living at Tor House in Matlock Dale in the 1841 census | the 1851 census.
He also appears in the following trade Directories: Glover's 1827-8-9 (Matlock Bath section) | Pigot's 1828-9 | Pigot's 1831 | Pigot's 1842 | Bagshaw's 1846 | Kelly's 1848 ( gentry) | White's 1852 | Kelly's 1855.
Also see: Matlock Bath: High Tor by Thomas Allom, about 1836.

[4] Job Hodgkinson is listed in Pigot's Directory, 1831 | Pigot's Directory, 1842 | ... White's Directory 1852 (last directory entry). And in the census: the 1841 census | the 1851 census. There is a notice of his death on Matlock Bath & Scarthin Newspaper Cuttings, 1853. MIs for this family: Matlock Bath-1.

[5] William Brooker placed an announcement in the Derby Mercury in 1857. See Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1857. He was living with his aunt and uncle in 1851 (as Brookes) and went into business with his aunt at the Spirit Vaults.

[6] Recollections of the late Frank Clay, in private papers owned by the web mistress.

[7] Ledger of estimates invoices and receipts for Mr. Clay's painting and decorating business, 1938. Ann Andrews collection.

[8] See Croston, James (2nd edn. 1868) "On Foot Through the Peak". He also described Museum Parade in the first edition.