Smedley Street

  • County Hall – (Smedley Street West) formerly Smedley’s Hydro, is a grade II listed building which dominates Matlock Bank. The earliest (western) section seen today was built in c. 1867 by Smedley. Much of today’s building was added after Smedley’s death in 1874. The first phase, in 1881, included the entrance hall and staircase, now in the middle section. In 1886, the eastern section was added by architect George Statham of Nottingham. Later extensions include the tall chimney, impressive for its height on the already prominent site, along with boiler house and bath in 1894. The domed glass Winter Gardens, which housed a ballroom, and the northern block on the other side of Smedley Street were added in 1901. The northern block was linked by the unusual two storey bridge over Smedley Street. 
    The hydro closed in 1955 and re-opened in 1956 as “County Offices”, when Derbyshire County Council moved its headquarters from St Mary’s Gate in Derby. Its name was changed to “County Hall”, during the 1990s. Part of the County Hall complex is seen in Women in Love, Ken Russell‘s Oscar-winning 1969 film. As the Brangwen sisters walk out of their house (in reality No. 80, New Street) near the beginning of the film they are seen walking towards Bank Road.
  • Burton House (135 Smedley Street West) was Ground Station Zero during WW2, the undercover headquarters of Matlock’s secret army (see link for more details)
The two-storey bridge across Smedley Street
  • The Gate public house (Smedley Street East) – There were known to have been numerous public houses on Matlock Bank, thought to have been the result of the ban on alcohol consumption within the hydros themselves, especially at Smedley’s. The whereabouts of many is no longer known. The Gate (dated 1869) was one of these, and still stands on the corner of Smedley Street and Bank Road, opposite Smedley’s. It now functions as an arts venue known as Designate at the Gate.
The Gate and, across Bank Road, County Hall