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Matlock Bath: From the Eato Family Album - Pierrots & a Masson Mill party
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Pierrot group, Matlock Bath
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The two photographs on this page are from the album of the late Catherine Taylor, nee Eato, who was born in Matlock Bath on 31 October 1914. The George Vaults had been advertised to let in early 1911 as being in a central situation, it was free and fully licensed and there had vacant possession[1]. Catherine's parents and three sisters moved to Matlock Bath from Holymoorside[2] on 9 Oct 1911[3] when her father became the licensee of the George[4].

About the Eato family:

Frank Eato, who was born in South Normanton[2], was still at the George in early 1917 when his wife Florence was fined and he had to pay costs for a sending-off-to-the-war party for one of their regular customers that went wrong; sadly, the person in whose honour it was given failed to turn up to the event! Because they then allowed the meal to be consumed they ran out of stipulated hours. Although everything the Eatos possessed was locked up in the business the Bench were only prepared to grant a temporary authority for Mrs. Eato's licence application until a new tenant could be found to take over[5]. The family had to leave the George[6] and first moved to Melbourne House, Temple Walk / Orchard Road[7].

Frank was the oldest man from Matlock Bath to join the colours in the First World War[8] and served with the 21st Light Train Company, Royal Engineers[8], which had been formed in early 1917. He remained with them until he was discharged from the army[9]. Gunner George Ratcliffe, a near neighbour at home, had seen him at the Front in September 1917[10].

Their eldest daughter, Alice Louisa, married the Canadian soldier Sergeant Carl William Goodman at Holy Trinity in June 1919[9]. They had met whilst he was a patient at the Canadian Hospital in the Royal Hotel building which was used as a hospital by the Canadians from late 1917 until not long after the end of the First World War.

After he was discharged the family moved to Holme Road for a time, where they ran a boarding house, and also had a green grocery on North Parade[11].

Frank and Florence's youngest daughter, Catherine Marjorie, danced a great deal when she was a girl and was often took part in concerts and plays, usually performing in such places as local church halls[12]. Other venues were Matlock Bath School, where she was educated, and the Assembly Rooms at the Fountain Baths (now the Aquarium) in Matlock Bath. Catherine would have learned to swim at the Fountain Baths and proved to be a strong swimmer, winning a cup inscribed "Derbyshire Individual Championship 1927 "[13] as well as a number of other events the following year.
George Vaults
George Vaults, North Parade, early 20th century
(from a postcard).

Frank Eato eventually returned to the hotel trade when he became the proprietor of the Boat House Hotel in Matlock Dale in late 1932. It has been suggested that he may have worked for a time at Mr. Greatorex's quarry nearby, but there is no evidence for this to date. He died on 18 April 1938[14] and the report of his funeral described him as being one of the oldest members of Matlock & District Licensed Victuallers' Association[15]. He had been the association's President in 1916[16]. Florence married a family friend in 1940; she passed away at her daughter's home in Codnor Park on 26 Jul 1958.

About the photograph at the top of the page:

This undated photograph seems to have been taken outside a wooden shed, probably the Pierrot Pavilion that was at the back of the Kursaal (later the Grand Pavilion) for some years. Mrs. Eato was photographed with a group of performers (dancers?) who were dressed up for one of their concerts. Pierrots visiting Matlock Bath stayed with Mrs. Eato when she was at Melbourne House. The success of their shows depended on the weather and sometimes, as in 1927 when the weather was very wet, they earned very little[17].

About the photograph below:

The group picture, believed to be some of the staff at Masson Mill[14], shows Catherine Eato aged about 18, so it was probably taken about 1932. She is seated 4th from the left on the front row and her sister, Lilian, is possibly next to her (3rd left). The photograph looks like a work's party or a post-concert party but we are unsure where it was taken, other than in Matlock Bath. The event may have been held at the Grand Pavilion[14]. There is a young woman in a black dress (2nd row, centre) standing behind a seated man who seems to be wearing a false nose. She is on the wedding photograph of the web mistress's aunt, and has been identified as Ethel Moore.

Catherine did not stay at Masson Mill long. She moved to the Picture House Cafe (later the Ritz Cinema) and when she married in 1936 the manager and staff gave her a fireside chair.

Matlock Bath group, about 1932
Masson Mill workers party, about 1932.

Please email the web mistress if you can identify any of the other people in either photograph or provide an exact date. Thank you.

Pierrot and party photographs supplied by and © Christine Rigley collection.
Image of the George Vaults from a postcard © Ann Andrews collection.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links go to on site transcripts):

[1] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 20 January 1911. It was sold on 22 February.

[2] Frank Eato, born in 1875, was a Ganger in the mine in the 1891 and listed as a Railway Engine Stoker in the 1901 census. The family moved to Holymoorside, where he held the licence of the Lamb Inn (1911 census, taken on 2 April 1911).

[3] The School Admissions records for Holymoorside show that Alice and her sister Florence "went To Matlock" on 9.10.1911. They seems to have moved from Hasland earlier that year as they were admitted to Holymoorside on 13 Mar 1911, just before the 1911 census was taken.

[4] George Hotel: the Eatos were in listed Kelly's Directory of 1912 and Kelly's Directory, 1916

[5] "Mansfield Reporter", 19 January 1917, "Derby Daily Telegraph", 15 March 1917 and "Belper News", 23 March 1917. Rather than waste what was prepared the Eatos went ahead, but things started rather late. Although no charge had been made for the refreshments, the Bench fined them for serving the drinks after hours.

[6] Information provided by the late Frank Clay who knew the family when they lived in Matlock Bath

[7] Trade directory references to the Eatos after they left the George Vaults include:

  • 1922 Eato, Mrs Florence apartments, Orchard Mount
  • 1928 Eato, Frank, shopkeeper, North Parade
  • 1932 Eato, Frank, boarding house, 4 Clarence Terrace, Holme road - see the houses on Clarence Terrace, Holme Road, about 1900

[8] Beresford, Charles "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007). Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8. Frank Eato was about 40 when he joined up in 1916, p.246. There is a photo of Frank standing on the footplate of a Hudson Locomotive in the book. President of Matlock & District Licensed Victuallers' Association, p186.

  • Note: Frank Eato's Medal card at the National Archives Corps Regiment No Rank provides two numbers for him
    Royal Engineers 256794 Corporal 2nd
    Royal Engineers WR269233 Corporal 2nd

[9] "High Peak News", 7 June 1919. Frank Eato was still with the Army when their elder daughter got married, so she was given away by her sister Lily.

[10] "High Peak News", 27 Sep 1917.

[11] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 13 June 1928. Matlock Woman Terrified. Man Who Prowls Outside Her Shop. Remanded in Custody. Both Florence Eato's name and business were mentioned. The man in question was a former lodger who Had attacked her in 1923.

[13] Another sporting success was in 1928. "Sheffield Daily Telegraph",5 October 1928. Matlock Bath Girl's Achievement.
Young Matlock Bath girl achieved a fine swimming victory at Belper. This was Miss [Catherine] Marjorie Eato, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Eato, who won the Elementary Schools Championship.

[14] Catherine worked very briefly at Masson Mills and was also "In Service" for a friend of the family in Derby, but following that until her marriage in 1936 she worked at "The Cinema Cafe", Matlock, and may also have helped at the Boat House when her father was not well.
Christine Rigley, his granddaughter, adds that Frank Eato died at the Boat House.

[15] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 22 April 1938. Funeral of Matlock Hotel Proprietor. He was buried at St. Giles'- see MI Surnames Index, E

[16] "High Peak News", 22 Apr 1916.

[17] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 4 October 1927. Pierrot's Plight. Disastrous Season at Matlock Bath. One young man, up before the court, was living on just a few shillings a week sent by his father.