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Matlock Bath: From the Heights of Abraham, The Changing Landscape
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All the links below take you to the first of a number of pages abut the subject.


The Royal Hotel



Grand Pavilion



Derwent Gardens



As far as the local historian is concerned the two coniferous trees growing up on the slopes of the Heights of Abraham rather curtail what we can see of both the river and Temple Walk. Nevertheless, the southern end of Matlock Bath is positively glowing in the valley below us. This is largely because of the light reflecting off the roof tops of both the Grand Pavilion and the Royal Pavilion (Palais Royal) up in the woods on the hillside behind Matlock Bath's top rated hotel. The Royal Hotel, had been refurbished after the First World War. A section of this image is enlarged below, showing both the hotel, the domed Grand Pavilion and South Parade.

How Matlock Bath could sustain two large pleasure pavilions is beyond most people, but the Grand Pavilion was Council owned whereas the Royal Pavilion was in private hands. In the late spring and early summer of 1922 it was announced that "the Royal Pavilion and Pleasure Grounds, Matlock Bath, closed for so many years to the public", was re-opening "under new and promising auspices"[1]. It opened on Whit Monday, 5th June, and an advertisement said the entertainment was to be provided by The Royal Salon Orchestra, with dancing, as well as Blane Stewart's Pierrots who went by the name of The Stimulants. There were also other, unspecified, attractions. Refreshments, "at popular prices", were also available[2]. A little later the same year a "fine string concert party" was held there[3]. There was a further flurry of activity at the Royal Pavilion when it reopened for the 1923 season under its new name, the Palais Royal.


Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 19 May 1923.

MATLOCK BATH. PALAIS ROYAL (late Royal Pavilion)
Re-opening, Saturday, May 19.
EVERY DAY (Mondays excepted). DANCING from to 11 pm. Admission 1/6.
AFTERNOON TEA DANCES 3.0 p.m. - 5.30 p.m. Admission, including Tea. 1s. 6d.
...
Special Engagement of Gordon William's Syncopated Orchestra


There were few notices or newspaper reports after this until 1927 when an advertisement for the sale of the Royal Hotel, following the death of Mrs. McArthur (formerly Hocker), appeared in the press.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 10 September 1927
[Sales by Knight, Frank and Rutley]

ROYAL HOTEL, MATLOCK BATH

In the Beautiful Peak District.
Exceptional Public Rooms, 101 Bedrooms, Ample
Bathrooms. Spacious Baths for Therapeutic Treatment,
Etc. Thermal Spring. Also

THE PALAIS ROYAL, Seating 800 Persons.
Picturesque Grounds about Acres.


One joint venture between the two pavilions was in 1929, after fire had destroyed the main part of the Royal Hotel. At the annual Diocesan Festival for Derbyshire on Saturday 4th May there was an elaborate programme of competitions held at both venues which included choral singing, recitations and team games[4].

It is unclear when the main picture was taken as there are no real clues, other than the Grand Pavilion had been built and the two buildings that were burned down in 1929 are both still standing. Boden's Restaurant, later the glove factory, in almost totally hidden by trees - but it is there. But it seems likely that this image was almost certainly taken post war and dates from the early 1920s at the latest.

And for those who like trains, there are trucks on the Cromford and High Peak Railway on Cromford Moor, although you can't see them easily. The distant view of the Moor may not be overly clear, but the view down into Matlock Bath itself is really good.




The Grand Pavilion and the Royal Hotel. The hotel's gates are wide open to welcome guests.
On the left, beyond the Pavilion, are the tennis courts and the Switchback Railway in the Derwent Gardens
whilst just beyond the church on the main road the Cumberland Cabin was open for business.
We can see the sweep of Clifton Road behind the hotel and the greenhouses in the grounds of the New Bath hotel.
Whilst the Fish Pond is hidden from view, we can see the area around Fish Pond Hill.
There are several motor vehicles in this scene, but the only one that might be a charabanc is tucked away behind the Grand Pavilion.

 

1866-78

1892

About 1914

After WW2

Matlock Bath
Today (2)

Upper Tower,
Heights of Abraham

Victoria Prospect
Tower

Victoria Tower,
from Masson,
1907-09

 

Matlock Bath from Heights of Abraham. Peak District [Don Lion Series] Empire View Productions, No.25.31. Real Photo by Charles M. Jamson (Copyright Empire View Productions, Doncaster). Not used.
Postcard in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 17 June 1922. It had been closed since the first decade of the twentieth century, before the Kursaal (Grand Pavilion) was built. See: Matlock Bath: The Royal Pavilion - the Palais Royal.

[2] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 27 May 1922.

[3] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 7 July 1922.

[4] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 6 May 1929. 1000 take Part in Matlock Bath Contests.