A Sentimental Journey - No. 04

w/e 23 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.

After our walk around Matlock Bath and my reminiscences about a 1960s bike ride, we drove a little further north along the A6 into Matlock and also journeyed back a little further in time to the 1950s.

Colourful Flower Beds

Our trip to the Matlocks had been a spur of the moment decision and although we could have feasted on a diet of fish and chips from the plethora of outlets in Matlock Bath, we had barely given our lunch a second thought before driving into Matlock itself. So, armed with some sandwiches purchased in the town we joined numerous other people, including visitors, local residents and business people on their lunch breaks, to partake of our sustenance in the park in the centre of the town. And no, that's not us in the bottom left right corner picture above surrounded by the colourful flower beds - we sat near the tennis courts!
Overlooking The Park

Those said tennis courts can be seen here (again in the bottom right hand picture of this composite) and long after our visits in the 1950s a skateboard park has also been added in the same area. High on the hillside behind the tennis courts the park is overlooked by County Hall, headquarters of the Derbyshire County Council whilst from another hillside to the east, the ruins of Riber Castle are a prominent feature on the skyline.
Play Area

After our al fresco lunch, we decided to have a closer look at the park and see if it had changed much. Both my wife and I had memories of childhood visits here and although we vaguely remember the play area for children from then, it has obviously had a facelift with the addition of new equipment and a paddling pool complete with water jets and fountains.
Boating Lake

We also remembered the boating lake and this is just as we remembered it. Our childhood visits to Matlock were almost an annual thing as we both went to the same Sunday School. Three days from the Sunday School year remain fondly in our memories - Prize Day where books were given to children with good attendance records; Anniversary Day where we would parade around the streets of Ilkeston led by a Brass Band and then sing songs and give recitations from a platform in front of a Chapel packed with friends and proud parents and thirdly the annual outing on a double-decker bus.
Miniature Railway

Those annual outings took us to such places as Drayton Manor Park - that's before the white knuckle rides arrived - and Markeaton Park in Derby but more often than not, our destination turned out to be this park in Matlock. The nearest to a white knuckle ride at Drayton Manor was a race around an unmade track in a trailer towed by a Land Rover at breakneck speed. Here in Matlock however we got just as big a thrill riding the miniature railway along the bank of the River Derwent. The track still looks in good condition and although not operating when we were there, the signs are that it still runs occasionally today.

At the end of the railway track is a footbridge over the river. We only remember one trip to Derby's Markeaton Park and that day it poured with rain, so much so, in fact that we never got off the bus but returned directly to Chapel to enjoy and indoor "picnic" followed by games such as "Spin The Plate". If we had been going to Matlock a few years later in December 1960 or 1965, our trips there would have been abortive too. The white plaques on the bridge indicate the height of flood water in those years, 1965 being the higher marker.

It was here though near the footbridge that nostalgia really kicked in for us as this is where we ran races along the riverbank for the reward of a few sweets. I personally remember a race for young boys. There were about seven or eight of us and we were told to race to the "big tree". We all set off at a great pace but none of us knew where the finishing line was supposed to be as all the trees looked big to us. It was only when our parents started chasing after us yelling "Stop!" that we slowed down just before the road at the end of the park. It caused much amusement among the grownups and all of the participants of the race and not just the winner received their reward of sweets. To be honest, I don't think the adults knew who had won anyway!
Three Park Buildings

Having satisfied our curiosity about the park, we returned to the car passing the bowling green with its neat little pavilion, the bandstand and took another look at the clock set amid the flowers in the formal gardens but as we made our way home our thoughts were still on those halcyon days of childhood. We remembered those bus trips home from Matlock with most of the adults downstairs and the children on the upper deck singing songs such as "One Man Went To Mow" and "Ten Green Bottles" all the way back. We didn't sing this time on our way home but if we had it could well have been this one. 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.

For much more about the Matlocks including genealogy and local history visit The Andrews Pages.

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