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Scarthin Nick & the Greyhound Pond, about 1905
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Scarthin Nick
From Allen's Hill, 1892

An Edwardian photograph of the Greyhound Pond, looking from the lower slopes of Cromford Hill across Water Lane, where the pony and trap is, to the houses and cottages of the hamlet of Scarthin on the far side. We can see some buildings that remain next to the pond today but the landscape was to begin to change in the next few years. Firstly the Wesleyan Methodist Reformed Chapel was rebuilt in 1907 and early the following year the Clerk of Matlock Bath UDC reported that they had closed with the offer of Mr. Frederic C. Arkwright for a piece of land in Scarthin for a promenade there; the Council had paid £180[1]. It was to sweep away the gardens next to the pond, including the area where the washing was pegged out in this photo. The new Scarthin promenade was formally opened on 24 June 1909.

The three storey property on the promenade had a shop on the ground floor with living quarters above; it is now the home of Scarthin Books. The large roof of the Wesleyan chapel is behind it. A couple of years later this was rebuilt and extended forwards over the houses next to the shop to become the entrance of Mount Tabor chapel. It is now an engineering works.

Such a large pond is a wonderful asset for any community but during the nineteenth century Scarthin's residents faced some public health issues because of the pond. It was contaminated by Bonsall sewage, which drained into it.

In 1872 the Inspector of Nuisances, Mr. Sharp, stated that the drainage in the district of Scarthin Nick was in a most imperfect state.[3] Then, in a report to the Bakewell Rural Sanitary Authority in 1887, Dr. Knox said that he had "frequently complained of the filthy pond in that village, surrounded as it is by cottages. Miasma is constantly given off, and the pond is largely contributed to by the Scarthen [sic] portion of the Matlock Local Board, who should at once be prohibited from making this pond foul with their sewage"[4].

A public meeting, chaired by Mr. Arkwright, was held in 1890; it was suggested that, if Matlock Bath Local Board desired, Scarthin could be included in the Cromford Meadows sewerage scheme that was proposed for Cromford village[5]. The scheme went ahead, but Matlock Bath's Local Board were then refused a grant that they'd hoped would cover the cost and in 1894 Arkwright's steward, Mr. Parkin, wrote that "no notice had been taken by the Board of his request for payment by his superior in the Scarthin sewage scheme"[6].

When the retaining wall at the rear of Mr. Doxey's business premises collapsed for the second time within a few months in 1913, some local children had a lucky escape[7]. It was the fourth time this had happened in one householder's time. The journalist who reported on the incident provided a good description of the hamlet: "The houses in Scarthin are built in tiers of terraces on a hillside, and in order to make level stretches of ground for paths and gardens these tiers are divided by retaining walls and the intervening spaces filled with earth, constituting what is known as 'made' ground". He also observed that "nearly all the houses in Scarthin - some of them very old - incline out of the perpendicular towards the lake. The windows and door jambs, too, as well as most of the rainwater down spouts on the houses on the houses, are all out of plumb"[8].

We can see an example of the retaining walls mentioned in 1913,
supporting the terrace of houses built on the side of Harp Edge.

"Scarthin, Cromford". Postcard, no. 2673. Both the main image and the enlargements are in the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

[1] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 12 March 1908. Matlock Bath Urban.

[2] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 25 June 1909. A Matlock Promenade Opened. Report of the opening on the previous day.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, January 10, 1872.

[4] "ibid", Wednesday, October 5, 1887. The Filthy Pond.

[5] "ibid", Wednesday, November 26, 1890. The Sewerage Question at Cromford.

[6] "ibid", Wednesday, May 9, 1894. Report of Local Board meeting, when the letter was discussed.

[7] There is a report on Matlock Bath & Scarthin Newspaper Cuttings (see 1913).

[8] "Derbyshire Courier", 20 May 1913. Wall Collapses. Exciting Incident at Scarthin. Tenants' Story of Unheeded Warnings.