Treasure 37: Poster for the Annual Athletic Festival, 1894

This treasure is a poster, advertising a sporting bonanza that took place on Matlock Cricket Ground on 15 September 1894. For sixpence you could have seen the ‘amateur gentlemen’ taking part in flat races, safety bicycle races and pony races. There was even an egg and spoon race – although that does seem to have been for school children rather than ‘gentlemen’.

aph-athletic-festival-poster-01

If you would like to support our work by adopting this document, for yourself or as a gift, have a look at the Adopt A Piece Of History page.aph-athletic-festival-poster-02

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Talks about the history of Derby and of Hardwick Hall… and some AGMs

This is just a reminder that the Derbyshire Record Society and the Derbyshire Victoria County History Trust are holding their Annual General Meetings at the Imperial Rooms in Matlock this coming Saturday. The Record Society’s AGM will be at 10.30am (tea and coffee available from 9.30) and the VCH Trust’s AGM will be in the afternoon. After the first meeting there will be a talk by the historian Richard Clark, to accompany the launch of his new monograph on the government of Derby in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Then lunch (bring a fiver if you aren’t a member of either organisation – you can use it either to pay for your lunch or to join the DRS for a year and get lunch for nothing). Straight after the second meeting, two senior curatorial staff from the National Trust will be talking about their new book on Hardwick Hall. You can also expect to see displays of material from some local history societies.

The Imperial Rooms are on Imperial Road, Matlock DE4 3NL. It’s just off Bank Road at the foot of the hill, near Wilkinson’s. There is parking nearby and it’s a short walk from the railway and bus stations.

Smedley’s hydro, by Alex

In addition to researching my house, I also looked at documents relating to Smedley’s Hydro. What is now the County Hall in Matlock was once the hydro of John Smedley were people can come and relax with the water treatments, known as Smedley’s Hydropathic Establishment. Here are a few photographs from an old brochure for the hydro, showing it was surprisingly lavish and elaborately decorated.

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Alex Jackson

Finding my house on a Matlock tithe map

Tithe map of Matlock, showing my house

Tithe map of Matlock, showing my house

As a student on work experience at the county record office I always wanted to find my house on a map to see if it was there or not. Therefore I decided to look for it on an 1848 tithe map. After a short while I concluded that this was my house (see map on left). The reason why I knew that my house would be on a map like this was because the previous home owners told us that the house dated back as early as the seventeenth century.

Tithe map2

The map was really exciting because it was evidence that the house was there at that time and it backed up what the previous home owners said. After that I found my house on the tithe award showing the plot number (394) and the home owners who owned it. In 1848 George Keeling was the occupant of the house with a court, privy, road and garden! 167 years from then the house is still occupied (and standing!).

Alex Jackson

Lost, found, returned: the wedding ring of Flt Sgt John Thompson of Matlock

We don’t usually share links to news stories unless they have a direct connection to our archives and local studies holdings – but this is an exception, because of the obvious local and historical interest.  John Thompson was a pilot, from Matlock, who lost his life on a secret mission to Albania during World War II.  After seventy years, his wedding ring has been returned to his surviving family.  Read all about this engaging story on the BBC news website.

Matlock Almanacks

almanack

The Local Studies Library at Derbyshire Record Office has recently acquired 17 old Hodgkinson’s Almanacks for Matlock, dating from between 1893 and 1944. Full of fascinating old advertisements and local information, and including some examples from both world wars.

Sue Peach, Local Studies Librarian

Work experience at the Record office

This week I went to the record office for my year 10 work experience. I had an excellent time as it was extremely interesting and informative, and I learnt a lot. During my placement I took part in a range of activities such as , working in the search room , finding documents in the stores , using the microfilms , spending time in picture the past , cataloguing documents , working in the computer room and local studies library and my favourite activity of the week , working in conservation for a morning. Also I got to experience reception as well, although it wasn’t exactly planned….

Amongst all of these activities I also studied some maps of Matlock, some were recent and some were from over one hundred years ago. From these maps I wrote down about what things are still here now and what things have gone and changed and also what new things have been built and on a whole how Matlock has changed. I studied ordnance survey maps from 1880 , 1899 , 1922 , 1967 , 1981 , 1986 and 2006 and found that my house was built somewhere between 1880 and 1899 as it was not on the 1880 map but it was on the 1899 map so must have been built during those 19 years. I also found out that Matlock has changed a lot over the years and especially between the maps 1899 and 1922, although that is 21 years but in that time there was a lot of progress as a lido was built and there was a town hall and post office and more houses so we can see that after the first world war Matlock started to develop more and began to become more populated. One of the main things I noticed when I was looking at the maps was that although some of the buildings were there and they were used they had their name changed overtime for example, Castle view primary school was once known as Matlock County Junior mixed and infant school in in 1967 but of course now is now as Castle view primary.

I really had a great time and feel as if I have gained some useful skills or enhanced the skills I already had. I also feel like I got a real insight into the type of work as I was dealing with real documents and was sorting them out, not only physically but also electronically on the computer.

It was a fantastic week, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

Written by Charlotte Davies, work experience student

Queen Elizabeth II visits Matlock

On 10th July 2014, Matlock was greeted with an old face which was a surprise to many as she hasn’t visited for around 2o years. So who could this old face be? Well only the Queen herself. Her Majesty arrived in Matlock on Thursday 10th July by train and is visiting Lea Mills and Chatsworth which reminds us very much of her visit back in 1968. On 10th May 1968 the Queen arrived by train into Matlock and was greeted by a huge crowd. She did a number of things on her visit such as, visiting World War one veterans, travelling over to Lea green centre and Lea Mills. Here at the record office we have a souvenir brochure from that day including a selection of photographs taken by the Matlock Mercury and many captions under the photographs which although not very exciting were certainly ironic as the last caption in the brochure which was under a picture of the Queen waving good bye was “Time to say farewell …. And will ye not come back again?” Well in answer to that question, yes she has and I’m sure Matlock will greet her with as much joy as they did back in 1968.

Posted by Charlotte Davies , work experience student

Extract from Souvenir brochure from 1968

Extract from Souvenir brochure from 1968

On This Day: ‘Man Killed In A Lead Mine’; ‘A Candidate For Transportation’

From the Derby Mercury, 16th December 1857:

Man Killed In A Lead Mine

On Friday last, a poor man named Thos. Thorpe, went from his cottage at Bonsall, to Mr. Greaves’, Cliff-house, Matlock, to beg a handful of mint, and not returning on that night or the next, his wife and family became seriously alarmed for his safety.  On Sunday morning some neighbours went in search, and ascertained that Thorpe had left Cliff-house with a quantity of mint, about six in the evening of Friday.  They then tracked his course homewards by leaves and sprigs of mint, to a mine shaft on Masson, then recently run in, but there the traces of the mint ceased.  On removing the rubbish in the hole the poor fellow was discovered about six feet from the surface, of course quite dead, and the body was removed to a farmhouse near to await a coroner’s inquest.

A Candidate For Transportation

Police Office, Derby  George Marshall, a youth of 14, was charged as follows:- Police-constable Davis stated: Prisoner came to me this morning and said, “Mr. Davis, I shall find you a job to-day.”  I replied, “What shall you do?”  He said, “I shall commit a robbery.”  I endeavoured to persuade him to go home, but he would not, and said, “I shall go to the first watchmaker’s shop I can, break a window, steal a watch and run my chance, as I mean to have seven years.”  I knew that prisoner had been twice convicted at the sessions, and also that he had been twice summarily committed, and therefore I thought it best to lock him up.  Prisoner, in reply to questions from the Mayor, said that he would rather be transported than live in Derby; that he had a comfortable home and neither his father nor his mother-in-law behaved ill to him, but he did not like to stay at home.  The Mayor doubted whether sending prisoner to gaol again would be productive of any good, as it was evident he had a propensity for stealing and leading an idle life; but on the mother-in-law saying they had done all they could for him, and that if he did not return home (and he said he would not) something worse was sure to happen to him, the Bench committed him, as a rogue and vagabond, for three months with hard labour.

We hold the Derby Mercury on microfilm  – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

What links Derbyshire and Australia?

…a bath!

Smedley's Hydro, Smedley Street, Matlock, c 1920s

Smedley’s Hydro in the 1920s, courtesy of www.picturethepast.org.uk.

There’s an unusual connection between Matlock and a town in New South Wales, Australia, as this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Dec 1903 shows:

“Visitors to the Blue Mountains have probably noticed that the station so long known as Medlow has had an addition made to its name and will henceforth be known as Medlow Bath. Not alone in name, however, has a change taken place at this picturesque pleasure resort… As the result of a beneficial visit to the famous Matlock Baths in Derbyshire, England, Mr. Mark Foy conceived the idea of building and equipping a hydropathic establishment and   sanatorium on the mountains.”  (see the whole article at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/14588315).

It sounds like Mark Foy was very like our own John Smedley, who built Smedley’s Hydro in Matlock as a result of a life-changing visit to a hydrotherapy establishment on the continent.

If you look at pictures of the Hydro Majestic Hotel, which Mark Foy built in Medlow Bath (http://bit.ly/1fwxz3A) you’ll see that it’s a strangely familiar hybrid of the Pavilion in Matlock Bath, and Smedley’s Hydro (now County Hall) – with a few additional architectural styles thrown in for good measure!  Like our Matlock Bath Pavilion, it is also currently undergoing a major redevelopment – though on a somewhat larger scale.

Who know Matlock’s influence could reach so far?