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Matlock Bath: Station House & Last Station Master
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Matlock Bath Station House
© William Rosling's family
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The Railways of Derbyshire, 1903
(Old Maps of Derbyshire)

Midland Railway Distances

Tucked between the station buildings at Matlock Bath is the Station Master's house which was built in 1924 by J. W. Haynes, contractors, of Bakewell[1]. The design seems somewhat out of keeping amidst the Swiss chalet style structures that surrounded it but the style was typical for the time. Unfortunately, during its construction some sheet lead was stolen from the premises. The miscreant, who was from Kirkby in Ashfield and claimed to have had nothing to eat for three days, did not travel far in his attempt to try to sell the stolen goods as he was apprehended at the George Hotel on North Parade[2].

This photograph of the building was taken in 1952. The corner of the station building can be seen to the right of the house. Until 1966/7 the house had no mains electricity.

The second photograph (below) is of one of its former occupants, Mr. William Rosling (1899 - 1969). Mr. Rosling was the station master at Matlock Bath from 1947 until it was closed by Beeching. He began his long railway career as a signalman and he was employed in the industry for over 50 years. The picture shows him on the platform with one of his grandchildren and it was taken in the late 1950s. Mr. Rosling was well known in Matlock Bath for his associations with the Illuminations and Venetian Nights Committee, the Attractions Committee and other local organizations. He was also a long standing member of the Temple Lodge (Matlock Bath) of the Buffs.

The early Victorian station building behind William Rosling was probably designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. The lovely herringbone pattern of the bricks in the wall behind him is of architectural note. This type of brickwork, between wooden framing, is known as nogging.

The last Station Master
© William Rosling's family The sign behind William, on a BRITISH RAILWAYS notice board, reads:

This London Midland Station
is at your service

The Station Master is
Mr. W Rosling
For Travel and Freight
Services Information
Telephone MATLOCK 54
[this was the phone number of Matlock Bath Station]
It is difficult to tell whether the window behind William shows the reflection of the Starkholmes hillside or is simply the view through the window on the other side of the building. However, the pattern in the top frame is of the leaded windows (detail below).
Leaded windows - detail

Earlier station masters at Matlock Bath included:
David Ritchie[3]
Robert Skirrow[4]
William Rich[5]
Charles Ward[6]
William Richardson[7]
Albert C. Belham[8]
Frank Porter[9]
Henry Lovatt[10]
John Allen[11]
William Edward Parsons[12]
George White[13]

Towards the end of the nineteenth century Midland Railway directors decided to give £150 each year as prize money to the station masters who made the borders at their stations as attractive as possible. Mr. Richardson received £6 for ensuring the station had the prettiest floral display in 1893[14]. He was to win again in 1895. In 1898 Matlock Bath Station once again won first prize in the competition for the prettiest station garden on the Midland Railway. This time it was Mr. Bilham whose garden proved to be the best[15].

There are two more photos of William Rosling:
Beside the footbridge (will open in a new window)
Beside the sign on the platform ( " ). His home is behind him.

Matlock Bath, Illuminations & Venetian Fête in the 1950's. The web mistress' family contributed to the annual event.

Also see, elsewhere in the Matlock section of this web site, Bemroses' Guide, which dates from about 1869:
Vignette engraving of High Tor Tunnel, showing the railway station building (image at the bottom of the page)
Tourist Tickets on the Midland Railway
Weekend Fares on the Midland Railway

More information about the railway elsewhere on this website:
Railway Cards of Derbyshire Scenes - more Midland Railway cards, but not the same publisher
The Railways of Derbyshire, 1903 - a map

Those with railway ancestors might like to see the following, as some Midland Railway employees moved from Matlock to Matlock Bath station and the names include Mr. Rosling:
Matlock & Matlock Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff, 1911 - 1966, A - J
Matlock & Matlock Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff, 1911 - 1966, K - Y

View even more about the station by clicking on the images below:


19C stereoview1

19C stereoview2


Tunnel, 19C
About 1906



Today, image3

Black and white photographs from the album of William Rosling's family, published with their kind permission and © William Rosling's family.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
References (the coloured links are to onsite transcripts or more information):

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 3 May 1924.

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 26 April 1924 and 3 May 1924. The thief, who had just lost a child and had no money to pay for the burial by the sounds of things, was sent to gaol for a month with hard labour.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", 16 March, 1853 carried a report that midnight marauders had stolen food from the pantry of Mr Ritchie, the Matlock Bath Station Master. He was station master in 1849. See the 1851 census

[4] Robert Skirrow is listed in Whites1857 Directory. By the 1861 census he had become a coal merchant.

[5] William Rich can be found in Whites1862 Directory | Kelly's 1864 Directory.

[6] Charles Ward is named in Kelly's (1876) Directory, the 1871 census and the 1881 census. He retired in 1885 and on 31 March, 1886 "The Derby Mercury" announced his death in Nottingham. He had been Matlock Bath's station master for over 20 years. It was Charles Ward who welcomed the Emperor and Empress of the Brazils and led them along the platform to the waiting carriages when they arrived on the 5.39 p.m. train in 1871 ("Derbyshire Times", 12 August 1871). There is more on Matlock Bath: New Bath Hotel Stereoview.
Matlock & Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets - T. A. Staton wrote a poem to mark the Royal visit.

[7] William Richardson appears in the 1891 census and Kelly's 1887 Directory | Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory. He was in Matlock Bath for thirteen years before moving to Buxton ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 6 September 1907 - his retirement)

[8] Albert C. Belham/Bilham was named in Kelly's 1899 Directory (near the bottom of the page) and the 1901 census.

[9] Frank Porter - Kelly's 1908 Directory and an Official the same year. He retired at Southwell, where he had been for 10 years ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 27 January 1928)

[10] Henry Lovatt can be found in Matlock Bath in the 1911 census and Kelly's 1912 Directory.

[11] John Allen is named in Kelly's 1916 Directory (as a Private Resident) and an Official and Kelly's 1922 Directory. See his MI at Holy Trinity.
He had moved to Matlock Bath in 1914 and he and his wife lived at 2 Clarence Villas. John Allen died at Westminster Hospital, in London, aged 49 ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 30 May 1923 and "Derbyshire Times", 2 June 1923). A. H. White acted as the relief stationmaster.

[12] William Edward Parsons - Kelly's 1925 Directory.

[13] See George White's MI at Holy Trinity.

[14] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 12 December 1893. Railway Station Gardens.

[15] "Derbyshire Times", 12 November 1898.