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Matlock Bath Pavilion & the Schools Mobile Library
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Photo of the staff
and an early mobile library bus,
taken behind Matlock Bath Pavilion
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The schools' mobile library parked outside the Pavilion in Matlock Bath © Bette Atkinson

Bette Atkinson worked for the Derbyshire's Schools Library Service. She writes that "the Schools Library Service was started in the early 1960s. Up till then all the primary schools in the county had been sent boxes of books selected at County Offices, but the Mobile Service allowed them to choose their own books.

The books and staff were housed on the ground floor of the Pavilion [Matlock Bath] on the right hand side. The school meals supplies, i.e. the equipment not the food, was also housed there. It was a cold place in the winter, dark with awful toilets at the back. It was pleasant in the summer, if it was not our day out on the van, to sit by the river and have our lunch or in the winter to go to the little cafe up the jitty opposite the [old] glove factory.

We visited each primary school in the county, I think twice a year, from Padfield and Hadfield in the north to places like Walton on Trent in the south. Depending on the enthusiasm of the staff for books the selection was made by anything from one member of staff to every pupil in the school. I particularly remember the very small village schools with, perhaps, 10 - 12 pupils in total, for whom the library visit was a big event and at lunch everyone, including the cook, sat down round together for a meal cooked at the school.

We started with one Mobile but added another later. Marjorie Chambers was in charge of the whole School Library Service and Olive Saunders, on the photo [above], was the librarian in charge of the School Mobile Service. Arthur Wall was the driver and is also in the photo."

Photographs kindly provided by and © Betty Atkinson, who worked for some years at Matlock Library

There is more on site information about
Matlock's Schools in Earlier Times