A Sentimental Journey - No. 03
Matlock Bath

w/e 16 September 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey, Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey, to renew old memories.

This didn't start out as a sentimental journey - it just turned out that way. It was one of those late summer days when nothing else was pressing so we decided on a run out to Matlock.

Matlock Bath

After a brief stop for coffee at Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills and a look around the early 19th century building which is now used by a number of companies as a retail outlet, we were soon on our way again and driving into the centre of Matlock Bath. You could easily spend a couple of hours or more at the Mill which also houses an exhibition, conference centre, and a working textile museum - but not today.
The Aquarium

We managed to find a parking space right outside the original Victorian Thermal Baths which now houses a number of attractions including an aquarium and a hologram gallery in one of Derbyshire's tourist hotspots. Matlock Bath is also a mecca for bikers especially at weekends and Bank Holidays and even midweek, there were still a number of motorbikes to be seen like this one above left also parked near the aquarium.
The Pavilion

On our way into Matlock Bath, we had passed the imposing Pavilion on the right hand side of the road. The building is now home to the Peak District Mining Museum and the Tourist Information Centre but was built about 1906 as the social centre of the town. I say "town" but there are several small locations variously quoted as between five and eight that together now form the area known collectively as Matlock. Matlock Bath however has retained its own identity being described in one guidebook as "the lively end of town, with lots happening in and around the Pavilion by the Derwent." Across the road from the Pavilion and possibly easily missed by visitors intent of visiting the museum, is a small fountain with an adjacent plaque that details its interesting history.
The Fishpond

Next to the fountain is the Fishpond pub which unsurprisingly overlooks the fishpond, resplendent with colourful fish, next to the Pavilion. It was here that the nostalgia kicked in as I recalled a visit here nearly half a century ago. It's strange how memories fade with time - some parts of that trip are as clear as day but others have been swallowed by the mists of time. To cut a long story short, together with a number of school friends - I think there were five of us - I cycled the eighteen miles or so to Matlock Bath from Ilkeston. I vividly remember getting a puncture on the way and buying a repair kit from the bike shop in Codnor Market Place, about seven or eight miles from home. Having effected the repair we continued to Matlock Bath but the tyre was flat again when we arrived. It was here by the fishpond that I again repaired the puncture.

While I recall a little more of the story, enjoy these views of North Parade (bottom left) and South Parade (top left) as seen from the Jubilee Bridge (right) over the River Derwent. Matlock Bath boasts much Victorian architecture and the iron bridge over the River Derwent was erected on 14 June, 1887 in time for Queen Victoria's Jubilee eight days later. Returning to my cycling story from the early 1960s, I should tell you that two of my school friends had lightweight bikes with dropped handlebars, another rode a heavy ladies model with no crossbar and yet another had a sturdy gents bike with straight handlebars. My own bike had been cobbled together from odds and ends by another friend. It had a lightweight frame, straight handlebars but no gears. In hindsight, it also had an inner tube on the verge of perishing!
 War Memorial

I don't remember the War Memorial from my visit as a teenager but it was unveiled on 21 May, 1921 and is situated in the Promenade Gardens at the side of the River Derwent. I don't know the original purpose of the impressive looking building in the background but as well as providing shelter and sporting a clock, it is now a rather grand public convenience. What I do remember is my bike journey back home or at least part of it. Despite those memory lapses, I recall pumping the tyre up, riding as far as I could, pump in hand, and then jumping off again to reinflate the tyre. Needless to say our group became rather strung out and the return journey took much longer than planned. Expected home about six o'clock, my parents were going frantic when I turned up at nearly ten. Mobile phones then were still a thing of the future and we didn't even have a land line either.
 Hodgkinson's Hotel

I have to admit to being a bit miffed when it was suggested I had been to a fun fair at Stanley Common and that had been the cause of my late return. Our return had in fact been via Belper, the "mad mile" at Horsley and through Stanley Common and it was there where my colleagues had stopped to look around the fair that I had eventually caught up and passed them to arrive back in Ilkeston first. For me the whole day had been a bit of a disaster - we hadn't even had time to climb the hill near Hodgkinson's Hotel and Restaurant to visit the high ground and the attractions known as the Heights of Abraham. Hodgkinson's is grade II listed and dates from about 1770/80. It was a coaching stage point and was later bought in the 1830's by Job Hodgkinson, a wine merchant, whence came the name by which it is known today.

Today visitors to the Heights of Abraham can let the cable cars take the strain and we passed beneath them as we continued our journey north along the A6 into Matlock Town through this area of Derbyshire that has also been justifiably called "the Switzerland of England". I have been to Matlock many times both before and since that fateful day of the bike ride and in "A Sentimental Journey No. 4", I'll reminisce about Sunday School outings there but for now, cue song:-

Never thought my heart could be so yearny. Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that Sentimental Journey, Sentimental Journey home.

If you have a sentimental journey of your own that you would like featured, email a few details to me.

Back to Sentimental Journeys Index
Special Features Index

Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.