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Matlock Bath: Derwent Gardens - The Café (1)
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Derwent Gardens
Café (2)


The Riverbank,
about 1880

The couple, standing on the riverside path with their dog are believed to be Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Buxton, who owned and operated the Derwent Gardens pleasure grounds[1]. They are near the Café, which looks newly built - there aren't even the curtains at the windows that are shown in the next image. The new building would have replaced the Dining and Tea Rooms at the Ferry House run by Bill Boden, which was demolished when the Kursaal was built[2].

Dwarfing the café is the main building of the Switchback Railway. The wooden steps up from the Gardens to the start of the Switchback can be seen behind the Café.

After Mr. Buxton died his son Harold ran the Derwent Gardens. They "functioned quite well in the 1920s, the grounds were well cared for, the ponds stocked, the trees were beautiful, peacocks nested in the trees and displayed themselves on the lawns. When we were children their cries and appearance enchanted us. Think of lovely spring days. We would gaze down to see the newly painted boats, see the chairs and tables out on the lawn, even the slot machines being brought out onto the seaside pier construction that was the Switchback[3]".

Photograph in the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Image scanned for this website and information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.
References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Herbert Buxton, who died in 1912, is found in all the Matlock Bath census returns between 1841 and 1901. His son Harold first appeared in the 1861 census, aged 1 month. The Buxton family appear in both the nineteenth century trade directories and the twentieth century trade directories for Matlock Bath.

[2] The Royal Assent was given to the Bill and the Matlock Bath Improvement Act became law on 4 August, 1905. This meant that the Local Board could compulsorily purchase some Matlock Bath properties so that the Kursaal (New Pavilion) could be built. Both the Fish Pond Stables and the Ferry House were demolished to make way for the Pavilion.

[2] Recollections of the late Mr. Frank Clay. From his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress, some of which were written in 1998 and remain copyright.