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Matlock's Schools in Earlier Times
How and why Matlock & District's schools were established
Matlock & Matlock Bath Index
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Historical Records

Despite a charitable donation in 1647 to found a free school
the education Matlock's children received in the past was extremely mixed.
Amongst the movers and shakers who improved the situation were George Spateman in the seventeenth century and Ernest Bailey in the twentieth century.


The English Education System, a few key milestones

1870 : Elementary Education Act.

"Better late than never".[1]
Universal elementary education was introduced, although a voluntary system of schools, run by the established Church and other religious voluntary bodies, was already in place. Where no voluntary school existed, school boards were set up so that schools could be established. Before this time, children of the poor had generally been mistreated, including by their parents, and exploited for child labour.

"Only two-fifths of the children between the ages of six and ten were attending school in 1870".[2]
One must also remember that there was a huge increase in the size of families and therefore in the population as a whole in the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, children's educational needs had been ill served for a couple of centuries prior to this and the first aim was to get children into school.

There were 'dame' schools in both Matlock and Matlock Bath, as shown in the on-site early trade directories. A 'dame' school was just as it sounds - a school run by a female - and the teaching was often done in a spare room in her house.
Three local dame schools were mentioned in a book of 1840
Also see early trade directories

1899 : Board of Education Act

1902 : Education Act. Local Education Authorities took over from the school boards.

1918 : Education made compulsory to age 14.

1944 : Education Act.
A secondary education system was inaugurated. Until then, the majority of children had been educated only in primary or elementary schools.
About Matlock's secondary schools (below)

Matlock, unfortunately, did not even have one of the long established grammar schools that were to be found elsewhere in Derbyshire. However, A. F. Leach says that the Matlock School founded by George Spateman (see below) was founded as a grammar school but became an elementary school[4].
Matlock's free school, founded by Spateman, is mentioned in documents in The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock.

Before 1924, when Ernest Bailey established his co-educational grammar school in Matlock, those local school children who were lucky enough to win a grammar school scholarship attended schools outside Matlock. Pupils who won scholarships at the beginning of the twentieth century mostly attended either Herbert Strutt's Grammar School at Belper or Lady Manners School, Bakewell; the often travlled to school by train. Alison Uttley (nee Taylor), for example, attended Lady Manners and she describes going to the school in at least one of her books. Nevertheless, not all could afford to go. It is sad to reflect that some of Matlock and Matlock Bath's children, who perhaps had the ability to receive a grammar school education before the 1944 Act was passed, were too poor to afford either the fare or the uniform.
Read a short biography of Alison Uttley
Lady Manners School, Bakewell - Rosemary Lockie's web page about the school (an external link so opens in a new window)

Children whose parents could afford to pay fees were educated at public or private schools. In earlier times Richard Arkwright had sent two of his sons to Queen Elizabeth's at Ashbourne for a while in 1797 before they went on to Eton[5].
Private schools

Matlock School Board,
(formed 17 Aug., 1895):[3]
Rev. J. W. Kewley (Rector);
Mr. Job Smith (Churchman);
Dr. Moxon (Churchman);
Mr Slack (Nonconformist);
Rev. A. L. Humphries, Primitive Methodist (Nonconformist);
Mr. T. Cooper Drabble (neutral).

Matlock Town & Green

Education in Matlock first began as early as 1647 when Mr George Spateman of Tansley gave 80l. [£80] to found a free school in Matlock. Anthony Wolley, in 1668, left a further 5l. [£5] per annum. By 1817, the Lysons record there was an annual income of 43l. 14s [£43 14shillings][6].

In 1857 the annual income was £36 per annum - £30 to the school master; £2 for incidental expenses; £4 to the poor[7]. At that time the school was open to the sons of all the inhabitants of Matlock, 40 of whom were appointed by the trustees. They were taught free, "apart from a small charge for providing books and fire[7]".

Writing in 1862, Francis White said that "having become greatly dilapidated, a handsome new school was built of stone in 1829, on Tagg Hill. Robert Bunting is the master. The Girls' School, Matlock Town, was built by subscription, in 1816. Ann Cumming, teacher"[8]".

New buildings were erected for Matlock Town Endowed School in 1860 and 1889 to educate some 250 children. In 1871 "The Derby Mercury" reported that "this school, which has recently been rebuilt, has been placed under government inspection. A very handsome headmaster's desk has been presented by Captain Arkwright, M.P. The committee of management have appointed Mr. B. Owen, late of Youlgreave school, as their master ...[9]". By 1891 the average attendance was 100 boys and girls and 60 infants (these attendance figures from Kelly's Directory[1891]).

When Miss Sladen retired from her post as headmistress of the Town school, the "High Peak News" of 15 Nov 1919 reported that two days before she had been presented with a testimonial. Seventeen guineas had been collected from "a very large number of people of all ages" and Canon Kewley, the rector, and the "Testimonial Committee" presented the gift together with a list of all the subscribers to her in her Bank Road home.

Former pupil Tim Lomas writes that between 1966 and 1970 there were 3 members of staff: The infants teacher was Mrs McDonald, the lower juniors were taught by Mrs Brough and the upper juniors teacher and headmaster was Gordon Sidney Ecob.

Children who lived at Artist's Corner in Matlock Dale reached the school by crossing the River Derwent by the footbridge and then walked up the Pic Tor footpath. The school building has now been converted into three dwellings and the adjacent school house, built on a bend in the road, was demolished some years ago. There is now a new school, St. Giles primary, which is next to Highfields Lower School further up the hill.

There is a list of pupils who applied to the Trustees in 1814 elsewhere on this website site
19th Century Lists : Matlock School Charity, 1814

Masters/mistresses have included:
Benjamin Owen, master[see 1871 census]
Joseph Bamford, master[1876]
Mrs. Angela Bamford, mistress[1876]
Joseph Sladen, Master[1891]
Miss Sarah Jane Sladen, mistress[1891]
Thomas Henry Williams*, Master[1895, 1908]
Miss Sarah Jane Sladen, mistress[1895, 1908]
Thomas Henry Williams* and Miss Sladen[1916]
George Smith[1925]
*T. H. Williams joined up in WW1; during his absence G. E. Kenworthy became acting headmaster but Kenworthy himself then joined up and was subsequently Killed in Action (see Names of Matlock's Memorial)

The British School, Matlock Green (formerly a Congregational chapel) was erected in 1863 for 350 pupils. A chapel and Sunday School had opened in 1949 at the bottom of Lime Tree Road but a new schoolroom opened in early 1863[10]. The first function held in the new schoolroom was a lecture on the American War given by William Adam, author of "Gem of the Peak". In 1891 Edwin Davis was master; Miss Elizabeth Bridge was the mistress; the average attendance was 150 boys and girls and 50 infants[1891]. Davis was still the master in 1895 and Miss Elizabeth Beck had become infants' mistress[1895]. The Matlock School Board took over the school in 1895 and Bryan states that this school was closed on 1st June 1896[3].
See Chesterfield Road, Matlock (below).

Matlock Bank - All Saints' School

In October 1873 the Education Department declared that the "school accommodation for the elementary education of the children of the parish was deficient"[3].

This disgraceful situation was mostly due to the massive development of the Bank - i.e. building the various hydros, shops and houses - which had led to an enormous increase in the child population of the town. As I have already written, families in the nineteenth century tended to be large so there was an urgent need for another school.

After considerable debate in early 1874, including the ratepayers deciding by a large majority that a School Board was not necessary for the parish of Matlock, the Churchmen of the parish finally provided a voluntary school and a site was bought from the Rev. John Woolley.

All Saints' School

Mrs. James Arkwright laid the foundation stone on 6 November, 1874 and the Church National School (mixed) - All Saints - was opened on 10th August 1875 for 200 pupils. It had cost £1,000 to build. Architects had been invited to submit drawings and "a design by Mr. Skedward, of Sheffield, was selected ... The new building having been completed, the opening ceremony took place on Tuesday [10th August], under the presidency of Captain Arkwright, M.P. ... The Rector moved a vote of thanks to the subscribers. ... Mr. and Mrs. Wright, of Bradford, had very kindly promised to present the school desks for the use of the children, and to give a reading desk and pulpit when the room was used as a Mission-room[11]". Those present enjoyed a "sumptuous tea[11]".

At that time there was no church in Matlock Bank and Rev. Adam Lowe held his services in the school until All Saints' Church was built some years later. In 1891 the average attendance of pupils was 163[1891]. An infant's school was built in 1899. By 1903 there was "accommodation for upwards of 400 pupils"[3].

Peter Aspey was a pupil at All Saints in the 1950's and was shown around the building a few years ago, and at the time wrote:
"The main thing I can remember are the old wooden desks with ink wells - and on my visit I saw they were still there, only no ink pots in them now!"

Another pupil commented that the "temporary" classrooms were there and looking less than new when he was a pupil in the 1960's but today some pupils are educated at the Hurd's Hollow site instead.

Mark Whitehead recalls the teaching staff from his time as a pupil (1957-63). The teachers were Mrs Geeson (reception), Mrs Hill, Miss Land (top infants' class and headmistress), Mrs Horner (only there for about a year as a stand-in; she was the wife of the Headmaster at Ernest Bailey), Miss Muir (Mrs. Burkimsher), Mrs Bagshaw, Mr Stevens (churchwarden) and Mr Charles Laughton ("who was probably the best teacher I ever had"). Mr Burkimsher was the Headmaster. Mrs Monica Davison taught at All Saints' in the 1970s and early 1980s, having moved from the County School.

All Saints' School, Matlock, DBY
Copyright © 2001 Paul Kettle
All Saints' School, another view

Vernon Lamb Archive, 1910-14

VLA 5191
VLA 5196
VLA 5206
Masters/mistresses have included:
Henry Barnard , master[1887, 1891]
Miss Clara Evans, mistress[1887, 1891]
Robert H Baker, master[1895]
Miss Catherine Brown, mist.[1895]
Robert H Baker, master[1908]
Miss Catherine Brown, mistress
of the infants[1908]
Robert H Baker, master[1916]
Miss Gertrude Roberts,
mistress of the infants[1916]
Robert Charles Newman, master[1925]
Miss Ethel E. Smith, mistress of the infants[1925]

Several old photographs of the teachers and pupils, dating from around the year 1900, have been published in various books and booklets about Matlock.
References - Books and Other Publications

Many original photographs are held by the Derbyshire Record Office
Contacting the DRO (onsite link)

Also see
About All Saints' Church
Biography of Adam Lowe

All Saints' Schoolboys, 1904.
Ninety boys
The staff of All Saints' School, 1903

Chesterfield Road, Matlock

Matlock County School, Matlock, DBY
Copyright © 2001 Paul Kettle
Matlock County School

A Council School, built of of local gritstone, was erected on the Bank at the eastern end of Smedley Street in 1897 as more school accommodation was needed in the town. The school, opened on Thursday 23 September, was the first school to be erected by the newly formed board and "the site covers 4,700 square yards. The contract for the erection of the buildings was let to Mr. L. T. Wildgoose, Matlock, for 3,999l. In addition to this a caretaker's house is erected, and the whole will cost about 5,5000l. The building is fitted with every modern improvement, and provides for 420 children[12]". According to Benjamin Bryan, the final sum was £5,401 9s 2½d[3]. In 1901 there were places for 326 boys and girls and 220 infants.

Edwin Davis was the first headmaster, transferring here from the British School on Matlock Green where he had also been the head.

A former pupil who attended the school during WW2, writes:
"The headmaster of the council school was for many years a Mr Mills who lived on Smedley Street East. His successor was Mr Varnum. He lived at the top of the Dimple near All Saints' Church. Teachers I remember from the Council School were Miss Gretton and Miss Reeve. On my first day at the school I thought that one went home at the morning break and Miss Gretton came to our house to find me and return me to the school which wasn't far from where we lived in Lynholmes. At that time [1938], Lynholmes was a small development of 50 between-the-wars council houses".

"We recently visited Matlock and I took the opportunity to look at the County Primary School of early days. The buildings hadn't changed at all - still the bricked-up bicycle sheds converted into air-raid shelters. How well I remember it all - especially carrying gas masks to school. We were lucky to live in Matlock during the War with little risk of being involved in bombing raids and the like".

Masters/mistresses have included:
Edwin Davis
James A. Mills & Miss H. Edmeston[1908]
James A. Mills & Mrs. K. Parrish [1916, 1925]
Mr. Varnum
Matlock Board School Pupils, ca, 1898
The Ist Class Boys photographed outside their newly built school on Chesterfield Road with the headmaster, Edwin Davis
County Junior School, about 1931 - the girl pupils of Standard VII
Matlock County Infant School Band, about 1935/6/7
Matlock Council School, 1936
Matlock Council School, 1938
Matlock Council Junior School, about 1939
Many of the pupils here are the same children who were in the Infant School Band photograph

A young teacher, Isaac Knight, was severely wounded in WW1. A short report is included in Matlock and Matlock Bath Newspaper Cuttings, Jul 1914 - Nov 1918 - see 1916.


Mrs Thornewill conducted a Church School here in 1872 and by 1875 some 50 children were attending. The National School (mixed) was built of gritstone and opened at Easter 1879 for 80 pupils. At a Concert held in the school a short while later, F. C. Arkwright said that "during the six months the school had been opened, a very marked improvement was noticeable in the appearance of the children, and latterly the attendance had been greatly improved also[13]". In 1891 the average attendance was 40[1891].

The original school building closed and was demolished in about 1965; it was suffering badly from subsidence and gradually slipping down the hillside. Pupils were then educated in supposedly a "temporary" building across the road, which became long term accommodation. This also closed and now pupils from Starkholmes attend St. Giles.

Kirsten Burrell (nee Twiggs), a former pupil, writes:
"The school buildings at the time I attended were on the left hand side of the road going up Starkholmes Road above the White Lion pub. We used to play in the overgrown grounds of the original school; I remember that the playground was badly cracked in places and this can only have been a few years after the school was demolished.

In 1974 when the infant teacher, Mrs Carter retired, I was the child who presented her with her bouquet and have a photo of us standing outside the 'temporary' building [shown below, right].

Behind the purple doors on the photo was a lobby, at the back of which were the cloakrooms. There were only 2 classrooms: the infants on the left and the juniors on the right. There was also the head's office beyond this and, at the far right hand of the school, quite a palatial kitchen.

The roll of the school was falling - it was 56 children in 1980 - and the school closed in the late 80s/early 90s with the children transferring to what was then 'the Town school' (St Giles' school was built later). The wooden 'temporary' building was taken down in about 1991".
See: Matlock Town and Green (above) for info about the Town School.

There's even the milk crate on the picture - for those who can remember the days of (warm) free school milk.

Another teacher, and one who was at the school for many years, was Miss Madge Lees of Matlock Bath. She was one of the daughters of W. H. Lees, a former head teacher at Matlock Bath (see below).

Matlock: Starkholmes School, 1953
The pupils, with the headmistress

Masters/mistresses have included:
Miss Mary M. Webster[1887]
Miss Emily Lowen[1891, 1895]
Mrs. Elizabeth Harding[1908, 1916]
Mrs. L. Page[1925]
  Kirsten presenting a bouquet to Mrs. Carter on her retirement

Holy Trinity School, Matlock Bath

The Church National School (mixed) - Holy Trinity - was built in 1853 for 300 pupils. It was erected on the tufa shelf, not far from the New Bath Hotel and Masson Mill, between what is now the road to Cromford and the River Derwent. The stone building cost £1,200. The money was raised from subscriptions, a parliamentary grant of £205, the National Society gave £50 and the Lichfield Educational Board gave £10[8].

The school's entrances and classrooms were at road level, with a basement level below them for the headmaster's residence. The schoolroom was 55 feet in length and 33 feet wide; this was later divided into four by folding wooden and glass partitions. Underneath the building were the separate vaulted playgrounds for boys and girls; the pupils were able to look, through the railings, down on the river Derwent some distance below.

The original Holy Trinity School, Matlock Bath, DBY which was built in 1853 for 300 pupils.
Copyright © 2001 Ann Andrews
Matlock Bath Holy Trinity School - the old school building

In 1857 Mr John and Mrs. Cope were the master and mistress and the average attendance was 130[7]. White's Directory of that year recorded that "there is a library of about 230 volumes in connection with the school, which is free to all children but other parties pay an annual subscription of 5s [shillings] and 2s and 6d [pence] or 1d [penny] per. volume[7]".

By 1876 George James Rowland was the master and his wife, Mrs. M. M. Rowland, was the mistress[1876]; they were still there in 1891 and the average attendance then was 100[1891]. By 1903 the headmaster no longer lived on the premises, but the Church Sunday School was still held here. Mr. William Henry Lees A.Mus. T.C.L. had become the headmaster by 1908[1908] (also there in 1916[1916]); it was Mr. Lees who taught this writer's father, giving him a life long love of music and art. John Joseph Stirland succeeded Mr. Lees and was the third of the school's headmasters to live on Clifton Road[14]. He was followed by Mr. Saint, who moved to Bailey's to teach Physics in 1950; the web mistress was chosen, as the school's youngest pupil, to present a bouquet to Mrs. Saint.

Mr. Kenneth Bannister (1950-57) followed on from Mr. Saint. Mr. Bannister loved cricket and had captained Matlock Cricket Club for seven years; in 1950 he became the first Matlock player to take 500 wickets in postwar cricket. He moved away from Matlock and Mrs. Moore then became headmistress. She was followed by Mr. Scott.

Amongst the staff, Miss Annie Walker was a well respected class teacher at the beginning of the twentieth century. During the late 1940's the teachers included Miss Gregory of Common Wood, Miss Lawton, Mr. Carter and Miss Peach who ran the cubs and lived next door to the web mistress. Mrs. Agnes Ethel Clay of Orchard Road, sister to Charles White, also taught at the school and in the 1950's Mrs. Wright from Cromford Market Place, Mrs. Cresswell from Wirksworth and Mr. Charles ("Billy") Bourchier were members of staff. Both Mr. Carter and Mr. Bourchier, who went on to be head at Stanton, had been in the air force during the war. It was Mr. Bourchier who took the older boys gardening on the school's allotments on Clifton Road. The boys also went to the school at Lea for woodwork lessons. Another teacher there in the 1960s was Miss Monger.

In Mr. Lees time the pupils were taught to write using Copperplate 'Roundhand' and used both pencils and pen and ink for their work. Pupils in the 1950's used the 'Marion Richardson' style of writing. They did not wear a school uniform.

The building is no longer a school and the school itself moved some years ago closer to the church, to a site on Clifton Road.

There's a little more information about the pupils and school sports elsewhere on the site.
Old Pavilion and Royal Hotel

Secondary Education for all

Until the twentieth century there was no provision for local children to receive more than a basic elementary education unless their parents had enough money to pay for private education (see below). This has been discussed in The English Education System (above). The move towards secondary education for all the local children took place in several stages in Matlock and district.

First of all, Ernest Bailey set up his Grammar School, which is described below. However, it was not until after the second world war that the needs of all the children over 11 years of age were met in full. Those who did not pass the 11+ examination and gain a scholarship place at Ernest Bailey's were still being educated with those of primary age until about September 1956. A Secondary Modern school was finally built in Starkholmes and was named after Charles White, who had been a local M.P. From then on, all pupils changed schools at 11, leaving only the under 11's in the primary schools (i.e. infants and juniors). When Derbyshire later changed over to the comprehensive system of education, the two schools amalgamated and the name was changed to Highfields School.

Ernest Bailey Grammar School

The co-educational school was named after Mr Ernest Henry Bailey (1869-1938), a bachelor who lived at "The Butts". Bailey owned Bailey's Flour Mills in Lumsdale. He had bought the former hydro building on New Street in 1923 and began converting it, offering it to Derbyshire Education Committee as a new secondary school for Matlock. It was a gift they must have welcomed. For most of its life before then the building was known as Bank House and Church View Hydro but became Wyvern House Hydro in 1915. The school opened in 1924.

Until 1944 the pupils were a mixture of those whose parents paid fees and those who had won a scholarship. Very few scholarship places were awarded at first but by 1941 the numbers of fee payers and scholarship children were about equal.

At this time the pupils sat for their School Certificate at the age of 16, when they either "Passed", gained a "Credit" or were awarded a "Distinction". Those who stayed on into the Sixth Form "Matriculated" at the end of their course of study. A former pupil from those times recalls how strict they were with the children during the war years, and everyone had to be properly dressed in the school's uniform. Those who hoped to continue their education past the age of 18 had to wait until after the war to take up a university place. A former pupil, who went to Bailey's in 1944, recollects that "from that year entry to grammar schools was by exam only (presumably the start of the 11 plus system)".

  Ernest Bailey's Building on New Street
Copyright © 2007 Paul Kettle
Read more about: Bank House & Church View Hydro

Grammar School pupils in the 1950's were expected to stay at school until they were at least 16, though Matriculation had been replaced by "O" (Ordinary) level examinations - pupils sat for a variety of subjects. Those staying on until 18 specialized with their chosen "A" (Advanced) levels and usually studied only three subjects. These days all pupils take GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations, usually in the academic year they attain 16. There are, of course, exceptions to this.

Bailey's first headmaster was Dr. E. H. Chapman. The headmaster at the end of WW2 was Mr B. C. Orme ("Kong"). One former pupil comments that "he also played the viola and, together with my mother's influence, engendered a love and interest in music which I have retained (only as a keen listener, I would add). He was always keen that EBGS should compete in Music Festivals. I still remember singing with the school choir at the the Pavilion in the Matlock Bath Music Festival". Keith Beardow was a pupil at Baileys from 1942 to 1948 and says that in his time at the school the teachers were:

Head : Mr B C Orme
Headmistress : Miss Eastwood
Senior Masters : Mr E Wagstaffe, Mr Ridge, Mr Ewart W Dredge, Mr van Raalte
Senior Mistresses : Miss Brennan, Miss Bailey, Miss (Ann[e]) Crossley

The New Street site was limited for space and pupils were transported to the sports grounds in Cromford Meadows for rugby, hockey etc. The old boys rugby club was known as the Old Baileans (now Matlock) and was very successful over the years.

The school was to eventually merge with Charles White's (see below) in 1982 to cater for all pupils over 11 years of age and the older pupils moved to new premises on Chesterfield Road. Ernest Bailey's name is no longer linked to Matlock's present secondary school as it is now called Highfields School, but his name is still associated with the building the school was originally in. Derbyshire's County Record Office is now located in the Ernest Bailey building - which is the old school building. On a relatively recent visit to the County Record Office one correspondent learned that the old gymnasium had been converted for storage and that they can accommodate several miles of shelved records.

The following quotation gives an insight into the kind of man Ernest Bailey was.

"Ernest Bailey, benefactor, had many mills. One day he moved out of his home and 34 boys moved in. Over almost 40 years, 450 of 'Bailey's Boys', waifs and strays, were fed, clothed and educated, many eventually finding work in his mills. The house carried on as a children's home; nursery nurses came to train there and were a familiar sight with their huge prams and tiny charges[15]."

EGBS staff listed in 1945
Ernest Bailey's Grammar School, July 1947. Pupils and Staff
Also see the panorama of April 1950
Ernest Bailey's Grammar School, Vth Form Visit to British Industries Fair, Castle Bromwich, 1949 Moved from this page Feb 2011

There are more images. See Schools, including sports teams

At least three pupils from the 1930s joined the RAF in WW2. Geoffrey Wragg of Darley attended Bailey's between 1931 and 1933, Cyril Rowland Edmunds was there between 1933 and 1937 and Edward John Loverock was there at the same time as Cyril. Cyril (Rowland) and Eddie were commemorated locally but Geoffrey had moved to Yardley in 1933.

See Matlock's WW2 memorial and Matlock Bath's Memorial
Please Contact Ann, the web mistress, if you have more information about Geoffrey Wragg.

  Bailey's house was Cliffe House on Matlock Green and it became St. Andrew's Home, run by the Church of England Waifs' & Strays' Society. There are various directory entries for this.
Kelly's Directory, 1908 is one example.

There are some photographs of the children from the home, dated 1914, in the Vernon Lamb Archive:


includes Mr.



Charles White's Secondary Modern

Charles White's School
Copyright © 2007 Paul Kettle

Although Charles White's was not opened as long ago as all the other schools mentioned on this page (see above), a large number of local children were educated there from the middle of the 1950s onwards until the school's amalgamation with Bailey's - when the name changed to Highfields School and the older pupils moved to a different part of the town. Tim Lomas, formerly a Matlock resident, estimates that the total of the children attending Charles White's in any one year outnumbered those who went to Bailey's by around 3 : 1.

To fulfil the educational needs for the children over 11 who were not catered for by Bailey's Grammar, Charles White's school was purpose built and erected by Derbyshire County Council on Starkholmes Road. The building sits on the hillside below Riber and can be seen quite clearly from almost anywhere on Matlock Bank. The architecture is typical of the 1950's. Several other schools were built in the county around the same time and in early 1955 the floors of Charles White's were being laid, the roof steel work was ready to receive the joists and both decking and steelwork for the gymnasium had been finished[16].

The photograph above shows what was the Secondary Modern, but is now Highfields Lower School. The new St. Giles' Primary is next door but is out of shot.

Pupils were able to leave school at the Easter in the year they were 15 until the school leaving age was raised (1971/2?). Those who who stayed on until they were 16 were able to sit for CSE examinations (Certificate of Secondary Education). These examinations no longer exist - they have been replaced by GCSEs.

The school's headmaster for many years was Mr. Charles Watcham.

Charles Frederick White Junior (1891-1956), after whom the school was named, was the only son and namesake of a former Liberal Member of Parliament for West Derbyshire (now Derbyshire Dales). He became M.P. himself for the constituency in 1944, first as an Independent Labour and then as Labour, and served until 1950. He had been a member of Derbyshire County Council for many years and was its Chairman in 1946. His sisters were also involved in education, but in the private sector.
See Private schools (below)

Charles White, junior, with his paents and sisters

Presentation Convent, Matlock

In 1926 or so Mother Xavier Murphy visited Matlock. By then the once busy hydropathic establishment founded by Ralph Davis in 1861 and with extensive grounds on Chesterfield Road was closed and the building was unoccupied. The Presentation Sisters, who were based in India, decided to buy Chesterfield House, opening their Convent in 1927 and the school was opened shortly afterwards.

By 1932 Kelly's Directory was advertising the school as the Presentation Convent & Boarding School for Girls[1932]. The pupils were taught "foreign languages, painting, shorthand, typing, dressmaking, all games & riding & dancing taught; pupils prepared for University examinations". In 1941 there was a separate listing for Matlock Convent High School, but both establishments were located at Chesterfield House, Chesterfield Road. However, it was not until after the Second World war that new buildings were able to be added to accommodate the growing demand for pupil places.

The school expanded still further in 1962 when Lilybank Hydro, further down the hill, finally closed its doors. As well as giving some additional boarding facilities for the first year Convent pupils, Lilybank became the Nagle Preparatory School with both boarding and day pupils. The Convent girls sometimes found the walk up the hill every morning from Lilybank to their classes hard going, especially when wet!

Chesterfield House
A larger version of this photograph of Chesterfield House
is elsewhere on this website. Click the coloured link and go to section "What happened to the Hydros" (the photo is at the bottom of the "Water Cures" page)

"Taken Back In Time - Lilybank" by Sally Mosley is an article about her schooldays as a pupil in the 1960s

Matlock : Chesterfield House Hydro
This was the first of the former hydro buildings that the Presentation Sisters bought. Read about Ralph Davis, who built it
Lilybank Hydro (Dalefield) and the Barton family who built it (the first of several pages)

Caroline Cantor was a pupil at the Convent on Chesterfield Road from 1974 to 1981, and has organised a few reunions for former pupils and staff over the past few years. If you are either a past pupil or member of staff of the Presentation Convent or Nagle Preparatory School, Matlock and are interested in news of other past pupils, staff and reunions, please email Caroline, including your name whilst at school and the dates you were there. She would welcome hearing from you. I am very grateful to Caroline for providing photographs and some additional information from articles published in Derbyshire Life & Countryside (Jan and Feb 1976) by Derek Crust in a series on Derbyshire Schools.

The Presentation Sisters have set up an Archive and Heritage Centre.
Contact details are available elsewhere on our website.
Also see their school reunion in 2015, by Victoria Cambridge.

Recent Photograph of the former Presentation Convent School, Matlock, Derbyshire.
Photograph Copyright © Caroline Cantor
Scan © Ann Andrews 2000

Former Private Schools in Matlock and Matlock Bath (i.e. fee paying)

Hunt Bridge House School, Matlock
In 1873 the following advertisement was placed in "The Derby Mercury":
"THE DUTIES of this ESTABLISHMENT, which has been improved and enlarged by the addition of an adjoining house, will be resumed, July 30th
W. C. CLARKE, Principal[17].

Before that time it was known as the Matlock Green Academy, and was kept by William Corden Clarke and his brother Edward. One of their pupils was Benjamin Bryan, the historian[3].

Hunt Bridge House School (Green Academy) appears in the on site census transcripts:
See the 1861 | 1871 | 1881 | 1891 on site census transcripts
Mr. Clark(e)'s name also appears in many 19th century directories.

Cavendish School, Smedley Street
In 1881[1881] Joshua Allen from Chudleigh in Devon was in partnership with his brother, Caleb, and they advertised as running a "young gentlemen's day & boarding school". The census of that year describes their school as Lime Tree Lane "College". The brothers had previously run Myrtle Spring College in Sheffield but opened Matlock Bank College in the former Lime Tree View in 1877 where they remained until the 25th March 1889[18]. They subsequently moved to premises on Smedley Street and later census returns show the establishment as the Cavendish School.

Maurice Sidney Nesbitt B.A. had taken over by 1908[1908], Archibald Forrest was there in 1911 and in 1916 the school was run by Edward V W Bynnes-Kingsley[1916]. A 1914 advertisement claimed it was one of the oldest schools in Derbyshire. It had been reorganised three years earlier and there were then two separate departments: a boarding and day school for boys and a day school for girls, plus a preparatory form for children aged 5 to 8. The school was then in the large building on Smedley Street East, opposite where the old Paton & Baldwin's factory used to be.

The school received some less than favourable press when, in 1918, The Daily News reported a "Disgraceful Escapade of Gang of Matlock High School Boys" as some pupils had apparently broken into the school overnight[19]. Somewhat earlier than that the grandfather of the web mistress had been a pupil at the Cavendish School.

See the site of their first school: Matlock: Derby & Derbyshire Convalescent Home (NALGO House).
The Cavendish School in the on site census transcripts: see the 1881 | 1891 | 1901 census returns when Joshua Allen was the Schoolmaster.
The school also advertised in trade directories: Kelly's 1891 | Kelly's 1895 | Kelly's 1899 | Kelly's 1908 | Kelly's 1912 | Kelly's 1916 |
See an advertisement in Newspaper Cuttings, WW1, 1916.

Matlock Garden School
The progressive school, a boarding school for girls and junior boys, was opened by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Law at Tor Cottage in Matlock Dale in the early 1920s[20]. Mrs. Albert Law (Bertha Alice Law) was the principal[1925].

The school moved to Rutland Street in 1926, to the building known as originally Matlock House Hydro (later Tilley's Hydro), and was renamed Matlock Modern School[1932]. It was run as a private company by Mr. and Mrs. Law[20]. Initially the pupils continued to use Tor Cottage for some activities[20]. In November 1936 it was announced that the Matlock Modern School Limited was to be wound up, seemingly at short notice, under a Members' voluntary winding-up, by the company's Chairman (Mr. Law)[21].


Tor Cottage, at one time the home of Matlock Garden School, later became the High Tor Guest House / Hotel
Matlock House Hydro in 1888. It became Matlock Modern School
Matlock Modern School prospectus, 1932
Matlock Modern School: Monthly Letter, March, 1935
Newsletter for the parents, pupils and staff of a progressive school in the inter war years. Plus 1934 advertisement.

Blazer badge
Blazer badge, provided by Colin Goodwyn (there is bigger version with the newsletter).

Riber School
Rev John William Chippett, formerly a master at Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire, bought Riber Castle from the Smedley family in 1892 as he wanted to open a boarding preparatory school. In 1922 Captain Lionel Gathorne Wilson, M.A., took over the "preparatory school for boys for public schools, Riber Castle"[1925] although Rev Chippett continued as a teacher. The school closed in 1930.

Also see:
About Riber
Riber Castle School "A Lesson in Matlock's History"
Riber School in the 1901 census

Mr. Chippett's School at Riber Castle
Matlock Bath: Fountain Baths, Swimmers From Riber School
Riber Castle, Matlock : A Classroom
A Peep at Riber Castle
Woodlands Preparatory School, or "Miss White's".
Miss White's school began as a very small venture in the family home on Bakewell Road, which was called "The Woodlands", and the school remained there for slightly over 20 years. Kelly's Directory (1941) records Miss Winifred Alice White, principal on Bakewell Road, although she was by then Mrs. Dimmock. At the end of the Second World War two of the White sisters, Mrs. Dimmock and Mrs. Hyde, bought the former Oldham House and Prospect Place Hydro on Wellington Street. Oldham House and Prospect Place had been run for many years as a hydro by the Davis family, until the outbreak of the War when the building was requisitioned one weekend.
The school, which provided boarding faclities for girls and was also a boy's preparatory school, was often called simply "Miss White's". It eventually closed in 1965.

Oldham House Hydro, Prospect Place & Woodlands School (Miss White's)
Family photo of the White family, when they were Scarthin residents

Blazer badge
Blazer badge, provided by former pupil Rosemary Lockie

The Misses Peall ran a "Ladies' School" in Matlock Bath
Their first advertisement, saying they had recently removed to Matlock Bath, appeared in April 1867[22]. The sisters offered a thorough grounding English, French and German, with the usual accomplishments. The address they provided was Armitage House and shortly afterwards they were at Temple Terrace. For several years their school was at Brunswood House and they then moved to one of the houses in Fountain Villas. At first they advertised for parents seeking a Preparatory School for their sons, where healthy discipline and home comforts were combined; in 1873 Miss Helen Peall was also educating gentleman's sons at Violet Cottage, Matlock. The sisters were in Matlock Bath for a little over 20 years before moving to St. Leonards-on-Sea shortly before the Spring Term of 1889.
See the 1871 census | 1881 census
North Parade, Matlock Bath, 1908

Clifton College, Matlock Bath
The Misses Picken, of Brunswood Terrace, also educated girls.
See the 1881 census | 1891 census | 1901 census
Also see trade directories - Kelly's 1895 | Kelly's 1899 | Kelly's 1908

Surviving School Records

Census returns
On site census returns list staff and pupils at some of the private boarding schools in Matlock and Matlock Bath
Transcripts of census returns may be viewed in the Historical Records
See Matlock Green Academy in the 1861 census

Admission Books and Log Books
Many are held by the Derbyshire Record Office, although more recent records are usually closed. There is no set time period for closure; it is often for at least thirty years and may be for considerably longer. If you are interested in finding out more about someone who went to one of the local schools you will need to contact the DRO.
Go to Contacting the Derbyshire Record Office (onsite link)

Since the above was written, some records for All Saints' and the Council School are now availbale on Find My Past (see"Links")

Known Records:

  1. Matlock Junior - Log Book 1875-1916; Admission Book 1895-1993
  2. Matlock All Saints - Log Book 1899-1901
  3. Matlock Bank - Log Book 1896-1956; Admission Book 1911-1956
  4. Matlock Town - 1870-1991 either Log or Admission Book (Please contact the web mistress if you have more information)
  5. Matlock Chesterfield Road - Log Book 1896-1913; Admission Book 1914-1951
  6. Matlock Bath - Log Book 1863-1985; Admission Book 1923-1970

Teacher Training in Matlock

One correspondent, whose wife trained there, writes that "Matlock Teacher Training College had quite a long history and many teachers emerged from the portals of the old Rockside and Chatsworth House Hydros. Firstly it was for ladies only but later became a mixed college". Many locals took advantage of the opportunity to train as teachers. The college has not been based in Matlock for some considerable time and is now part of the University of Derby. It left behind a large gap in the town and, for a while, many large empty buildings that had formerly been hydropathic establishments.  
Matlock: Rockside - Teacher Training College, 1945-88
Matlock: Rockside, the former hydro
What has happened to the building since Matlock TTC / College of Education left Matlock
Matlock Teachers Association Summer School, 1952. Their Summer School, held at Rockside
Rockside Students, 1954-6
Matlock Training College staff and students 1955. On the lawn of Rockside Hall of Residence
Matlock: Rockside Hall - Commemoration Weekends, 1955 & 1956

What happened to the Hydros

Photographs kindly provided by and © Kirsten Burrell, Caroline Cantor, Paul Kettle, Bernard Gale and the web mistress.
Woodlands School Blazer badge Rosemary Lockie.
Information researched over a number of years by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Trevelyan, G. M. (1944), "English Social History", Longmans

[2] Lester Smith , W. O. (1957) "Education" , Penguin

[3] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited. Also see Biographies

[4] "Victorian County History, Vol.2" and "Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society", Vol. 41.

[5] Fitton, R. S. (1989) "The Arkwrights, Spinners of Fortune" Manchester University Press ISBN 0/7190/2646/6

[6] Lysons, Rev Daniel and Samuel Lysons Esq. (1817) "Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire" London: Printed for T. Cadell, Strand; and G. and A. Greenland, Poultry

[7] White, Francis (1857) "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby", Francis White & Co

[8] "General Commercial Directory and Topography of the Borough of Sheffield with all the Towns, Parishes, Villages and Hamlets Within a Circuit of Twenty Miles", pub. Francis White & Co. Sheffield, 1862. Ann Cumming advertised in 1860. See Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements.

[9] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, January 25, 1871 - Matlock Church School.

[10] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 11 February, 1863.

[11] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, August 18, 1875. Matlock Bank. New School and Mission Room

[12] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, September 29, 1897

[13] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, December 24, 1879

[14] George James Rowland had lived at Dovedale House ("Kelly's Directory", 1899), William Henry Lees lived at Rose Bank and John Joseph Stirland lived at Springfield ("Kelly's Directory, 1941"), all on Clifton Road

[15] "The Derbyshire Village Book" published by the Derbyshire Federation of Women's Institutes & Countryside Books, 1991. ISBN 1 85306 133 6. The book itself is now out of print, but the quotation is published here with the kind permission of the Derbyshire Federation of Women's Institutes.

[16] "Belper News", 14 January 1955.

[17] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, July 16, 1873; Hunt Bridge House School, Matlock.

[18] "Derbyshire Times, 25 August 1877. The school had "so long been successfully conducted at Myrtle Spring near Sheffield. "The Derby Mercury" of Wednesday, February 20, 1889. reported that when Lime Tree View was purchased to become the Derby and Derbyshire Convalescent Home there was still a sitting tenant, i.e. the school.

[19] The "Disgraceful Escapade" story was extracted from The British National Library on Line Catalogue, The Daily News, 10 Nov 1918.

[20] Goodwyn, Colin (1998) "The History of Tor Cottage Matlock Dale", a privately published limited edition.

[21] "The London Gazette", 20 November 1936

[22] "The Derby Mercury", various editions, but they first advertised on Wednesday, April 24, 1867 and lastly on January 2, 1889

[1876] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1876 } There are online transcripts: 19th century directories
"Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1887 } -
"Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1887 } -
[1891] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1891 } "
[1895] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1895 } " (Matlock Bath only)
[1908] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1908 } There are online transcripts: 20th century directories
[1916] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1916 } "
[1925] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1925 } -
[1932] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1932 } -