A Sentimental Journey
- No. 04
w/e 23 September 2007
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.