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Matlock: Smedley's Hydro Drawing Room, 1906
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Smedley's Hydro, Public Drawing Room

Smedley's brochure, about 1925.

Smedley's brochure, 1939

Grand dining room

Smoking room

Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

The photograph of the drawing room at Smedley's was taken for the hydro. The room had been altered and refurbished since the earlier engraving was published in "Practical Hydropathy"[1], although the secluded curtained alcoves with upholstered settles around the edges remained. They are a striking feature of the room and must have been very cosy to sit in. Another photograph of this room, but without the curtains in the alcoves, was published in the hydro's booklet dating from around 1925, "Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment Matlock. Established 1853"[2].

Two very large portraits of the hydro's founder, John Smedley, and his wife Caroline were hung on the end wall and dominated the room; these were later reduced in size and are now at Lea Mills. Considering the hydro was usually very busy, it is a little surprising to see an Edwardian drawing room with nobody in it!

Enlargement of the top image, showing the portraits

The "auntie" who wrote the card's message to her niece clearly enjoyed her stay at Smedley's: "I wish you could have been with me as we had a very nice entertainment. A few good songs well sung to begin with and some of the best tableaus I have seen. The dresses and scenery were lovely". A satisfied customer!

Below is a second photograph, showing the other end of the drawing room. It was probably taken slightly earlier, after the rebuilding and refurbishment of 1894. At the far end of the room is a stage.

Drawing room, photogrpahed by Frederick Barber


View Smedley's Christmas Banquet Menus by clicking on the images below:

1926 & 1927

Christmas 1946 & 1948.
New Year 1949

1 and 2. "Matlock. Smedley's Hydro (Drawing Room)". Published by Photochrom Co. Ltd., London. Posted 30 May 1906 at Matlock Bridge.
3. "Drawing Room, Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment, Matlock Bridge", photographed by Frederick Barber and published as a carte de visite about 1894-1900 (see Photographers)
Both images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Page researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured hyperlinks are to information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Mid 19th century images from John Smedley's "Practical Hydropathy" include:
Matlock: Smedley's Hydro, Public Drawing Room
Matlock: Smedley's Hydro, Starting Out

[2] Images of the book are on this web site. Go to Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment Matlock, Brochure, about 1925 and the 1939 version