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Matlock: Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home (NALGO House)
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The ancient lime tree

1863 ad for Lime Tree View Hydro

Lime Tree View on Lime Tree Lane (later Lime Tree Road) was a guest house and hydropathic establishment from the mid-nineteenth century, first owned by William Cartledge[1]. The poet and artist "Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddall, later his wife, stayed there in 1857[2]". Rossetti, together with Holman Hunt and John Everett Millias, "was a leading spirit in founding the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood[3]". He married Elizabeth Siddall, who "had been a model for a number of paintings including Millais' Ophelia", in 1860[3].

Mr. Cartledge's establishment opened in 1857, so it was new when the Rossetti's stayed there. In 1872, when it was first placed on the market, the stone built property was described as "a large and commodious house and premises, with terrace, lawns, kitchen gardens, stabling and coach-houses". It was suggested that the house "could at little cost be converted to a first-class hydropathic establishment"[4]. Another advertisement two years later said it had "6 sitting rooms, 2 entrance halls, 14 principal bedrooms, 3 attic bedrooms, 2 kitchens and scullery, 2 pantries and a well-fitted bathroom and outbuildings included a double coach house and stabling for 5 horses"[5].

In 1877 Lime Tree View was being enlarged by Messrs C. Allen, B.A. and his brother J. Allen, two schoolteachers who were moving from Sheffield and opening Matlock Bank College. They later moved to Smedley Street, re-naming their school the Cavendish School[6].

The property was purchased in December 1888 for £1,950 for what was to become the Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home (pictured above), that was linked to the one already established at Derby for the sick poor[7]. The money to buy it had been raised entirely from donations. The Lime Tree Road property had been chosen because it had to be capable of receiving 35 patients and for its position "situated on Limetree-hill ... about 500 feet above the [river] Derwent[8]". When it was bought there was still a sitting tenant (the school) but they were due to leave on 25th March 1889[7]. A fundraising grand bazaar was held in the Drill Hall in February 1889 and a large sum was raised for the Convalescent Home[7]; this was an event repeated in subsequent years. A Board of Trustees and management and officers were appointed[7].

Advertisements were placed in local papers during February 1889 and Miss Peet was appointed as the matron; Miss Eastland took over later on[9]. The venture was opened by Lady Edward Cavendish in June 1889[8]. Annual meetings were held and in 1900 the board reported extensive repairs to the boundary walls and building as well as redecoration both inside and out[10]. They also tried to help the war effort that year (the Boer War).

"In January last, at a special meeting, the Board decided to place ten beds at the disposal of the War office for convalescent soldiers returning from the front, giving the preference to members of the Derbyshire Regiments or men from Derby and the county." By the date of the meeting they had only received one application and he wasn't from Derbyshire![10]

Christmas Day in 1914 saw a continuation of the traditional celebrations when patients, staff, and a number of Belgian refugees, as well as friends of the Home, were entertained by the kindness of committee. "The rooms were tastefully decorated by Mr. W. Daniels, with evergreens, flowers, flags and the colours of the Allies"[11]. By 1917 the patients were wounded soldiers who were in Matlock to convalesce. "Among the many institutions which are working hard for the alleviation of sufferings and the restoration to health of our gallant men from the battlefields of France must be included the and Derbyshire Convalescent Home at Matlock. Since June, 1915, over 320 convalescent soldiers have been received and have stayed an average of 39 days each. All left the home greatly benefited and in many cases completely restored to health"[12].

The Convalescent Home on Lime Tree Road closed at Christmas 1921, after 33 years in Matlock, because of the small number of applications for admission. Six thousand patients had passed through its doors, including a final total of 655 wounded and invalided soldiers as well as 94 war pensioners[13]. The Derby and Derbyshire Association for Convalescents was then formed instead, mostly because of the preference for seaside nursing homes[14].

Two months later, in February 1922, the building was again advertised for sale[15]. It was bought by NALGO, or the National Association of Local Government Officers, as a Convalescent home for its members[16]. They had been encouraged to make the purchase because the NUT had made a similar investment, opening Golding House in the town as a convalescent home the previous year[17].

NALGO House, Lime Tree Road, Matlock

Once NALGO acquired the property they began to renovate it although when the building had been used during the war it had been adapted to the Army's requirements so they saved money on structural alterations. They were therefore able to redecorate and refurnish. On the ground floor were various reception rooms as well as rooms for billiards and games. All the walls on this floor were decorated with cream enamel and had a dark brown dado, something which was very popular at the time and the colour scheme lasted in a number private homes lasted the 1950s. The dark brown was serviceable but was also very drab and gloomy.

The 20 bedrooms were painted a pale grey with a white frieze and a floral heading; the new bedding was described as of good quality. The male and female sections were separated by a large bedroom occupied by the matron, "who thus controls both wings"! There was a staircase at either end of the house, so presumably these were also either male or female. The building had been wired for electric light in readiness for the current being laid on, as the mains was due to reach Matlock a month or two afterwards. There was a small piece of land at the back, for which the home had received an offer, and it was said that it would probably be acquired for a kitchen garden.

Indeed, the association thought it had one of the brightest, best equipped and up to date convalescent homes in the country. The opening ceremony took place on Saturday, 28th July and was attended by members of the association's Executive Council and other delegates; as had become the custom with similar occasions, they all adjourned to the Royal Hotel for lunch.

Mrs. L. Thompson, who had previously worked at Highfield and Southend on Sea, had been appointed Matron[16] [17]. She had been advertising for staff, a cook, gardener and housemaids as she had been staying at Lilybank shortly before the grand opening[18].

This card was sent to the Hursthouse family, who were then living on Smedley Street.
The sender was "Ivy" who was recuperating at NALGO House. She clearly knew the
recipients and invited them to a garden fete that was to take place the following Saturday.

On 30 May 1929 voters at the Town Hall were startled when they heard the fire bells ring out for what turned out to be a fire at NALGO House; the electioneering crowd saw the brigade turn out in just a few seconds[19]. They had been alerted by a schoolgirl who was walking past the building and had seen smoke[20]. Several bedrooms at the Convalescent Home were ablaze but the fire was under control within 15 minutes. Although little damage was reported it nevertheless amounted to several hundred pounds worth[19]. It may have been co-incidental but this was third fire in the Matlocks in the first six months of 1929 and there were five fires in the district in total, several very destructive.

Alderman O Ling of Derby, who had his own happy association with NALGO, provided an interesting history of it in a speech given in 1933 when he also discussed the progress it had made. NALGO was formed in 1906, with 16 branches and 8000 members at the start. By 1932 Its activities included holiday camps and the Matlock convalescent home and there were 500 branches and more than 62,000 members. It was an approved society and had its own benevolent funds[21]. This was quite an achievement.

At the beginning of the Second World War Miss Mary Bridges was matron. Interestingly, it was still shown on the pre WW2 maps under its early twentieth century name. By 1967 it had become The Lindens[2] residential home for the elderly but has been converted into three private dwellings in recent years.

The Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home in the Vernon Lamb Archive.

VLA4861, Christmas





1." Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home, Matlock". No publisher. Written at the Convalescent Home on 28 June 1911 and posted at Matlock on 29 June 1911.
2. "NALGO House, Matlock". A Real Photograph Postcard, No 18. Unused. Note that this image has been repaired before publication on this web site.
Postcards 1 and 2 in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
3. "N.A.L.G.O. Convalescent Home. NALGO House, Lime Tree Road, Matlock, Derbyshire".No publisher. Posted Matlock 1933. © Maureen Smith collection
Information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured hyperlinks are mainly to transcripts elsewhere on this website):

[1] William Cartledge was christened at Crich on 26 Dec 1819. He can be found in business in Matlock in Kelly's 1855 Directory | White's 1857 Directory | the 1861 census | White's 1862 Directory (2 entries) | Kelly's 1864 Directory | Harrod's Directory, 1870 | the 1871 census. He advertised in both "Days in Derbyshire", 1863 (scroll down), complete with testimonials, and "On Foot Through the Peak", 1868. Mr. Cartledge encountered some financial problems (Names in the London Gazette, 1870) but these were resolved (Matlock Names in the London Gazette, 1871).

[2] Barton, David A. "Around Matlock in Old Photographs", (1998) part of a series called "Britain in Old Photographs", Budding Books, ISBN 1-84015-076-9.

[3] "Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1967), The Masters, No. 89 (text by William Gaunt), Purnell & Sons Ltd.

[4] "Derbyshire Times", 23 October 1872. Sale at the Horse Shoe by Messrs. Bristow & Son. "The establishment has for 15 years past, and is still successfully occupied and used as a family private hotel and boarding house".

[5] "ibid.", 22 August 1874. Sale by Else & Newbold.

[6] "ibid.", 25 August 1877. Matlock Bank College. There is more about the school on Schools in Earlier Times - Former Private Schools.

[7] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, February 20, 1889.

[8] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, June 19, 1889.

[9] Miss Fanny Alada Peet was the matron of the Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home from about 1891 and references to her include:
1891 Kelly's Directory | 1891 Census | 1908 Kelly's Directory. She retired in July 1908 and passed away in Bristol on 27 Jan 1915. Miss Janie Bruce Brown succeeded her as sister/matron in charge until mid 1911. She was followed by Miss E. Eastland, was the sister in charge in both 1912 Kelly's Directory and 1916 Kelly's Directory.

[10] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 25 July, 1900.

[11] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 31 December 1914. Derby and Derbyshire Convalescent Home, Matlock. Christmas Cheer for Patients and Belgian Refugees.

[12] "ibid.", 24 April 1917. Derby and Derbyshire Convalescent Home.

[13] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 4 August 1922. Old Association's New Role.

[14] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 10 August 1927. Helping Sick Folk.

[15] "Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer", 3 February 1922. Private Treaty. Property in Matlock. Suitable for School, Home, Boarding House.  Immediate possession. Fully Furnished and Equipped. That substantial and well-built Property, lately occupied Derby and Derbyshire Convalescent Home. Splendid situation.

[16] Trade directory references to Nalgo House Convalescent Home for Local Government Officers have been found in Kelly's 1932 Directory (Miss Pacey, Matron) and Kelly's 1941 Directory (Miss Mary L. Bridges, matron).

[17] "Derbyshire Times", Sat 4 August 1923.

[18] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 21 July 1923.

[19] "Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer", 31 May 1929. Matlock Alarm. Bedrooms at Convalescent Home on Fire.

[20] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 31 May 1929.

[21] "ibid,", 23 January 1932.

NALGO, or the National Association of Local Government Officers, even provided Holiday Camps for the members.
An interesting website, with a short history of NALGO, is Trade Union Ancestors (this will open in a new window).