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Matlock Board School, Ist Class Boys
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W.N. Statham's photograph of the Ist Class Boys at Matlock Board School. Mr. Edwin Davis, the Headmaster, is seated front left. Thomas Ash is easily identified because another boy has his hands on Thomas's shoulders. © Ray Ash
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Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

Matlock Coucil Junior School, about 1931

Matlock Council School, 1936 (2)

Mr. Chippett's School at Riber Castle

The undated photograph, above, was taken by one of Matlock's best known photographers, William Nathan Statham, who had a studio on Dale Road, Matlock Bridge. It shows the Ist Class Boys at Matlock Board School, with the then headmaster Edwin Davis, and most boys seem to be wearing smart clothing. The boys with the distinctive white collars lived at St. Andrew's Home, which had opened in 1901. Ray Ash's grandfather is amongst the pupils (2nd row, 4th from the left), and it was originally estimated that the the photograph's date was around 1898-9. It is now thought that it dates from 1901.

The school was built on Chesterfield Road in 1897 and Edwin Davis was its first headmaster. He had taught at Matlock's British School, which this school replaced, for many years and had been been the headmaster there too[1]. The Board School was to become the Council School after Matlock School Board was disbanded in 1903 and Mr. Davis retired in 1907. He passed away in 1927.

Many of these boys faced a very bleak prospect - the Great War - and one wonders both how many were caught up in the war and how many returned.

Three generations of the Ash family attended the Council School. Ray and his two sisters followed in their grandfather's and father's footsteps. Mr Mills was head in Ray's father's time, and Mr Brown when Ray was there. Ray and his father were both taught by the same teacher, Miss Reeve.

Thomas Ash (1887-1965) managed Frisby's shoe shop in Matlock as a young man, then went to work at Smedley's. He served in the RAMC throughout the Great War in advance field dressing stations on the Western Front (including the Somme). Men who served with him told his son that he was absolutely unflinching in the face of the terrible injuries he had to deal with and always did the very best for the lads concerned. He was a sergeant in the RAMC by the end of the war. On returning to Smedley's he rose to become Assistant Head Bathman and Ray believes that he was also very highly regarded for his professionalism at Smedleys.

You may like to view more onsite information
Matlock's Schools in Earlier Times
About Chesterfield Road School
The War Memorials

From the collection of the Ash family, published here with kind permission of Ray Ash.
Image scan and information supplied by and Copyright Ray Ash and is intended for personal use only.
If you have any further information about the identity of anyone in the photograph we would really appreciate knowing ourselves.
Please contact both the webmistress and Ray Ash (via the web mistress).

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Edwin Davis and his wife had come to Matlock from Lancashire. Edwin was teaching in Rochdale in 1871.
See the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census.
Trade Directory entries: Kelly's Directory, 1899 | Kelly's Directory, 1908 | Matlock : Kelly's Directory, 1912 | Kelly's Directory, 1916

[21] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 8 January 1929. Mr. Edward Davis, aged 86, of Thornleigh, Smedley-street, Matlock, was buried [the previous day] at the side his wife at the Wesleyan Cemetery, Darley Dale. Mr. Davis, who died on Thursday last, was for many years a headmaster ... Unfortunately, the names of the wrong schools were given in the article.