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Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel, Pavilion & Holy Trinity Church
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
The Royal Hotel, Pavilion and Holy Trinity Church
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Switchback, Rise & Fall

Adrenalin Rush

The Riverbank,
about 1880

Similar view,
but a "Hold to Light" card

The Royal Hotel and Bathing Establishment

Radium or Royal Well

Fish Pond Stables, Providence Mine & the Mud Heap

This view of the Royal Hotel, the Pavilion and Holy Trinity Church is of Matlock Bath at the very beginning of the twentieth century. The Switchback in the Derwent Gardens had been open for just over ten years. The entrance was from the Derby Road and people are lined up against the wooden railings, either waiting for their turn or just looking at the "bubble pond" below.

At the bottom of the picture, almost in the centre, is a single storey building with a red roof which would have been used to store various horse drawn vehicles. The building is also shown on one of the Switchback Railway pictures[1].

On the main road, opposite the old Fish Pond Stables, are a couple of small buildings and some hoardings. Although it is impossible to read the advertisements, one of them shows the head of a female. Several things in Matlock Bath were to change after the Matlock Bath Improvements Act was passed in 1905[2]. Part of the scheme was for public lavatories to be built, although the matter had been discussed by the Local Board in 1891 when they were seeking to buy the land below the Royal Hotel from Mrs. Sellors for the purpose[3]. The small buildings are, almost certainly, the toilets with Furniss's booking office next to them[4].

Above the left hand end of the Royal Pavilion (it became the Palais Royal after the first war) is a longish building with a brown roof which might have been a skittle or bowling alley. Even higher on the hillside are two of the houses in Upper Wood[6].

However, the main interest is the largish crowd assembled on the rough piece of ground. They are watching a play being performed on an open stage. It looks as if this picture was taken when there was an attempt to find lead, prior to the Kursaal (now the Grand Pavilion) being built[5].

The ground was later to be used as a rubbish tip[4]. These days the area is much higher than it was at the time this picture was taken, understandable because of the former use. It was eventually covered and converted into two hard tennis courts. In the 1950s candy floss was available from a kiosk at the side of the courts. Then a mini fun fair was installed and it is now a basketball court.

"Pavilion, Royal Hotel and Holy Trinity Church, Matlock Bath" published by A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, London E.C., No.1994.
Chromotyped in Saxony. Artistic Series. Unposted
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Pauline Jordan.
Image scanned for this website and information researched by and © Ann Andrews Intended for personal use only

References (the coloured links lead to more onsite information):

[1] See Switchback, Rise & Fall

[2] The Royal Assent was given and the Matlock Bath Improvement Act became law on 4 August, 1905.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 12 August, 1891. Report of Local Board meeting.

[4] 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.

[5] See: Fish Pond Stables, Providence Mine & the Mud Heap

[6] From conversations with Ken Smith