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Matlock Bank, the Hall Leys and Dale Road, 1912-14
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
 
Matlock Bank, the Hall Leys and Dale Road
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Matlock Bridge, late 1880's



Early 1890s



Hall Leys - the first of several images



Matlock : General Views



Pic Tor, the Cycle Track and Matlock Green



Dale Road, 1909



Here are two postcards of the Hall Leys and Matlock Bank, viewed from Pic Tor, with the four semi-detached houses in Derwent Avenue in the foreground (see previous page). Although they were taken from slightly different angles there are many similarities in what they show, even to the white horse or cow tethered at the junction of the road behind the Dale Road shops and the path leading to the former Cycle Track.

The sender of the top card was probably staying at Smedley's Hydro as he or she has marked the building with a large cross. In the bottom left hand quarter of this picture we can see part of Dale Road and the backs of the shops close to the railway bridge. The road behind the shops is a continuation of Olde Englishe Road and the large building with the open sky lights in the bottom left corner (with the card's number on it) used to be the Picture Palace Cinema.

The second, browner, card below shows less of the Matlock Bank hillside and the Dale Road shops. A wooden hut is on the Cycle Track grounds, out of shot on the top card, and tram lines for tennis can be seen on the Olde English Ground. There is also a clearer view of the tethered animal although what it was is still uncertain.


Derwent Avenue, the Hall Leys and Matlock Bank
We can still see the original footbridge over the Derwent, connecting the grounds of the Old English Hotel with the Hall
Leys Park. This bridge was to be moved slightly to the south east a few years later. As yet the date has proved elusive
but it seems likely it was moved between 1916 and 1918[1].
The card's sender wrote that he had "walked over the Hill to Matlock and back", possibly up the Slack, and that he had
"no ill effects, beyond stiffness"!


The football stand on the Hall Leys, shown in two earlier images[2], has been removed by this time and there is a marquee at the Park Head end, closer to Crown Square.

In January 1912 Matlock Council laid the first sods on the bowling green. The previous eighteen months had seen the transformation of the land from "a waste piece of land into a park". There was some talk about the Hall Leys being renamed as Matlock Park at this time but it came to nothing[3].



This enlargement, of another version of the second Valentine card above, shows
a marquee at the head of the park. On the opposite side of the path a section of
the grassed area has been fenced off and prepared as tennis courts.


Whit Monday of 1912 was said to have been a "charming day" when the Matlocks were crowded with visitors and the road between Matlock and Matlock Bath was described as being "literally black with legions of holiday makers". It was reported that the newly laid bowling green and tennis courts on the Hall Leys proved a great attraction to the numerous visitors[4].


1. Top card: "Matlock", published by Valentine, No.73850. Posted in 1917 but registered in 1912.
2. Bottom card: "Matlock", Valentine Select Type Series, Copyright Picture, British Manufacture, No. 79651. Registered in 1914. Posted from Ashover in 1922. Another was posted in 1916.
Both postcards in the collection of and provided by and © Ray Ash.
3. Enlargement of the second image from a card © Susan Tomlinson collection.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 3 April 1920. The article states that the bridge had been moved two of three years before.

[2] See Matlock Bridge, late 1880's and Bridge & Bank, early 1890s

[3] "Derbyshire Times", 6 January 1912. The Matlock Park. New Name suggested for the "Haw Leys".

[4] "Derbyshire Courier", 1 June 1912.