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Matlock Dale: St. John's Church, Cliff Road (2)
Matlock Dale: Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
St. John's Church, Cliff Road, Matlock Dale
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St. John's (1)

St. John's (2)

Interior of St. John's

St. John's Church peeps out from amongst the trees on the hillside above the row of cottages and houses in Matlock Dale on the two sepia images below. The top postcard is the later of the two as an extra terrace of houses, Charnwood Terrace, had been built in the row below the church. It appears to be a very quiet and secluded spot.

However, in early 1912 some of the people who lived in the Common Wood cottages had a narrow escape when there was quite a serious landslip at about 6 o'clock in the morning[1]. The Derby paper reported that the affected area of the Dale "is situated well above the main roadway. ... Four villa residences stand perched on the hillside below the [church] and it was the embankment above the houses [that] gave way", with the damage extending to about 20 feet in length. "Tons of masonry crashed into the rear of the houses occupied by Messrs. Frank Buckley and G. T. Smith and other parts of the embankment were pushed out of position".

St. John's Church, Cliff Road

It was still dark when the landslip occurred and George Talbot Smith, a book keeper working for a Matlock ironmonger, had been asleep. He heard a terrific crash, found a light and went downstairs to discover two large pieces of rock in his kitchen and the back door on the table. His neighbour, Frank Buckley, was just going to work; if he'd left by the back door a minute earlier he might have been crushed to death. "Mr. Ernest Taylor, the owner of the houses, said the accident was partly due to wet weather and partly due to some heavy traffic on the Dale Church road above the embankment".

Enlargement of part of the second image, showing the houses of Common Wood.

This final postcard, published by Samuel and Lucy Brown of Dale Crescent, was sent to
Miss A E Pidcock c/o Mrs. Wildgoose, Oldham House Hydro. "Dear Agnes, Come down
at eight. Shall be at work till then Yours sincerely Fred
". The young man was Frederick
Lewis, whom Agnes later married. He became a casualty in World War One.

1. St. John's Church, Cliff Road, Matlock". Postcard published by Charles Colledge, Smedley Street, Matlock. Unposted.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
2 and 3. "St. John's Church, Matlock Bath", published by C. Colledge, Stationer, Matlock. Printed in Germany. Unposted. In the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
4. "St. John's Church, Matlock Dale" published by S. Brown, Stationer, Matlock. Posted 13 Aug 1908 at Matlock, also © Ann Andrews.
Images scanned for this website by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Derby Daily Telegraph, 18 January 1912. An early morning sensation. Narrow Escape.