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Matlock Bath: Lovers' Walks, 1914
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
 
Two young women seated next to the river
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Lovers' Walks, brief history



Lovers' Walks 1901



Steps & Woodland Walk



Lovers' Walks & River Derwent



Lovers' Walks (Edwardian)



Although war had been declared before the top card was posted, visitors were still staying in Matlock Bath's hotels. In early October 1914 the Royal Hotel was almost fully booked[1]. The photograph shows two young women (or girls) on one of the riverside seats, this one outside the Ladies' Shelter & Lavatories. They were probably locals. Perhaps they had been dropped off by the gentleman in the boat, or they had perhaps been rowed across from the landing stage on the opposite bank.

In 1913 Matlock Bath's Council made what was considered to be an important step that would affect the crowds of excursionists who visited the Spa. The Promenades had been closed and an admission charge of 2 pence per. person had been levied. This was to change, with the Promenade free and for access to the Lovers' Walks to be reduced to a penny per. person[2].



The second picture pre-dates the top picture by several years and may even have been taken around the turn of the century. There were plenty of seats for people who were waiting to cross the river via the ferry. A number of boats are moored against the bank, including the ferry, but it is the ivy covered building that is of interest. There is no seat outside. Instead, there are two wooden supports and it looks as if it might have been a collection point for logs, thought it could equally be a seat that has disappeared under the foliage. An intriguing sign on the tree announces "Ferns Collected". This might have something to do with the Arkwrights as there was a fernery at Willersley and their ferns were far famed.
See more on: Willersley Castle, the Lodge & Gardens of the Arkwrights

A young boy named Joe Peat sent this card to his father, who was in Derby Royal Infirmary for some reason. The message is worth repeating as it is delightful, as children's messages to their parents usually are. "Dear Dadda/ Wish you were here with Mag and I enjoying ourselves. Hope you [are] getting better now / Joe. Maggie put the stamp on" - he clearly felt the need to comment about this as it was at a decided angle, but it was also her contribution.


1. No title. Photographic postcard sent from The Royal Hotel, Matlock Bath on 7 Oct 1914 by J. S. Harrison to his daughter Lily in Barnsley.
This postcard could have been produced for the hotel as there is no publisher's name on the back.
2. "Lovers Walk, Matlock Bath". No publisher. Posted on 2 Aug 1906 in Matlock Bath.
Both images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Beresford, Charles "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007). Country Books/Ashridge Press. ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8

[2] "Sheffield Evening Telegraph", 8 May 1913. Privileges for the Public at Matlock.