The Hydros of Matlock Bank

LocationName of HydroOpened/Closed
Other Names
Wartime FunctionOther UsesCurrent Use (2022)Significant Dates and Notes
Dimple Road
(No.57 etc)
Rose Cottage HydroAt least 1881-1925Small hydroPre 1869:
By 1881: The proprietor of Rose Cottage (possibly a former inn) was ex-Smedley & ex-Bridge House bathman, Richard Freckingham, who ‘claimed in 1881 that he had been in business for 12 years’.
Dates uncertain: Having sold Rose Cottage to Aaron Ridgard of Matlock Bath, Freckingham moved to Buxton’s Haddon House.
1902: Herbert Warner (ex-Smedley masseur) & wife purchased Rose Cottage from Charles Eyre.
Probably open
Post 1925: Private dwellings
1925: Property changed hands; divided into (presumably) private dwellings.
1930s-2010s: No.57, Rosegarth Bed & Breakfast 1930s: One unit became Rosegarth B&B.
Private houses (including no. 57, Rosegarth)
Bank Road
(formerly Dob Lane)
Bridge House Hydroc1861-1894Substantial property_ _ _ _Pre c1861: Probably a private residenceThe tithe map indicates that this property may have existed before 1848.
It probably became a hydro around 1861 when Richard Freckingham (ex-Smedley) was working as a bathman for Doctors Adams & Cash, from Coventry.
c1881: New owner: Reverend Richard Nicholson from London.
Post 1894:
Matlock Town Hall
1894: Nicholson declared bankrupt; Bridge House acquired by the newly constituted Matlock Urban District Council for use as the Town Hall.
1899: Italianate Renaissance-style wing with parapet added (adj. to Bank Road).
1974: West Derbyshire District Council superseded Matlock UDC.
1987/9: Extensions to accommodate offices of West Derbyshire District Council.
Note that the original three-storey Bridge House can still be identified as the central section of the Imperial Road elevation.
Matlock Town Hall
1988: West Derbyshire DC renamed Derbyshire Dales District Council.
Bank RoadSouth View Cottage HydroPre c1857_ _ _ _Pre c1857: Probably private dwellings
c1857-1860s: Perhaps also known as Ralph Davis’sc1857-1860s:
20 patients
Presumably demolishedc1857: Two (presumably existing) cottages opened as South View Cottage Hydro by Ralph Davis (assisted by his wife Ann), about four years after he left Smedley’s. The precise location is uncertain.
c1860s-1882: South View Hydro1860s:
30 patients
c1860s: Ralph & Ann Davis built South View Hydro ‘in the grounds’ of South View Cottage. The Davises also established Poplar Cottage (later Chatsworth) & Flates (Chesterfield House) Hydros; possibly running more than one simultaneously.
30 patients
24 bedrooms
1870s-1882: South View managed by James Hawley (ex-Smedley) & his wife.
Bank RoadSmedley Memorial Hydropathic Hospital1882-c1984:
Smedley Memorial Hydropathic Hospital; later Smedley Memorial Hospital
30 patients
1882: Smedley Memorial Hydropathic Hospital opened (in former South View Hydro) by Caroline Smedley, in memory of her husband. Note its distinctive dormer windows and carved barge boards.
30 patients + Hunter Wing
1897: Hunter Wing added (to commemorate Dr W.B. Hunter, the Medical Director at Smedley’s Hydro).
Probably open
Probably open

Matlock Youth Hostel
Bank Manor

Rutland Street
(formerly Carson Lane)
Matlock House Hydro1863-1866:
Manchester House Hydro
1863: The original four-storey Manchester House Hydro is attributed to Mr Lee, a Manchester wine merchant. It is designed in the style of an Italianate villa, and features bracketed eaves & dormer windows.
1865: New wing added; then various owners & managers.
1866: Hydro for sale as Matlock House; sold to London architect, Mr Nichols.
Matlock House Hydro
54 bedrooms
1868/9-late1870s: The Rowlands of Rockside were tenants.
54 bedrooms + 25 guests in Elm Tree Annexe
1911: Elm Tree (former hydro) annexed.
WW I pre-1917:
Probably open
Also known as Tilley’s
1915: New owner: William Tilley.
TB sanatorium for the military
1917-1925: Purchased and managed by Dr Frederick Kincaid (on behalf of the Government), for use as a sanatorium for military personnel suffering from TB.
Matlock Modern School
1926: Mrs Albert Law purchased the premises, in which she established Matlock Modern School.
1938: The school went into voluntary liquidation, and was subsequently sold to Mr Dakin of Matlock as an investment property.
Part used by Inland Revenue
Apartments, known today as Rutland Court
Rutland Street
(Nos. 68,70,72)
Elm Tree HydroAt least 1876-c1908_ _ _ _Early history unclear; does not appear to be shown on the tithe map of 1848. (See ‘Stevenson’s Hydro’)
By 1876:
25 guests
By 1876: Proprietor was Thomas Curzon from Crich. Curzon was a former bathman, but it’s not clear at which hydro. 1911: Purchased by Matlock House.
1882: Proprietor: William Bramald of Barnsley.
Early 1900s: Proprietor: John Wall, a grandson of Ralph Davis.
Boarding house
By c1908: Became boarding house; John Wall moved to Stanley House Hydro.
Annexe to Matlock House
1911: Purchased by Matlock House
Now apartments
Rutland Avenue
(No. 15)
Wellfield House Hydro1861-c1876Substantial property_ _ _ _1861: Wellfield House Hydro & Homeopathy Centre opened (& perhaps built) by Dr Spencer T Hall, from Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Also known as Joseph Crowder’s
1867: Managed by ex-Smedley bathman, Joseph Crowder.
Lodging house
1876: Lodging House, run by a Mrs Neary.
Today private residence
Pope Carr RoadWard’s Hydroc1868-c1871‘Several boarders’ _ _ _ _??c1868: Ward’s Hydro opened (& perhaps built) by ex-Smedley head bathman Henry Ward; exact location not known; possibly demolished & site built over.
Oak Road/
New Street
Church View Hydroc1871-1914See Bank House/
Wyvern House
See Bank House/
Wyvern House
See Bank House/
Wyvern House
c1871: Church View was opened (& perhaps built) by ex-Smedley employee Mr Mycock, but soon acquired by Henry Ward, of Pope Carr Road.
Part of Wyvern House Hydro
Probably open
New Street/
Oak Road
Bank House Hydro1872-19141872: Ward added Bank House to Church View, & ran them as one concern. It is uncertain whether this tall, square block featuring box bays windows, bracketed eaves and a hipped roof with dormers, was an existing property or purpose-built.
1894: Extension.
Part of Wyvern House Hydro
60 patients (including Church View) + extension
Probably open
1914: Joseph Hales, of Leicester’s Wyvern Hotel, bought Bank House & Church View, and renamed them ‘Wyvern House Hydro’.
Ernest Bailey Sch.
c1922: Local miller and philanthropist Ernest Bailey purchased Wyvern House, which he donated for use as a grammar school.
Community Centre & County Archives
c2000: Former hydro buildings enlarged to house Derbyshire Record Office
Post c2000:
Derbyshire Record Office
Steep TurnpikeBelle View Hydro1871-early 1900s:
Belle Vue Hydro
30/40 patients
_ _ _ _1871: Built by ex-Smedley bathman Matthew Stevenson & wife, this 3-storey property boasts attractive string courses and tall chimneys projecting through the hipped roof.
1902: Purchased by ex-Smedley masseur Herbert Warner & wife.
1922 OS Map:
Glove factory
Today - Apartments
Chesterfield RoadAlbion House Hydroc1876-c1881Small hydro_ _ _ _?Private housec1876-c1881: William Monk (who had worked at Smedley’s) offered ‘medical gymnastics with rational hydropathy’ at Albion House. Number 11, Chesterfield Road is named ‘Albion House’, and may be the former hydro.
Chesterfield RoadLilybank Hydroc1870s/1880s: Dalefield residence purchased by George Barton junior (of Jackson House), who demolished all/most of the premises to build his new hydro.
Dalefield Hydro
Also known as Barton’s
40 en-suite bedrooms
80+ patients
Dining for 100
1891: Dalefield Hydro opened; 5-storeys; impressive Gothic-style design featuring gables, dormers and intricate detailing.
1906: George Barton jnr retired; hydro managed by Mr & Mrs W Booth.
1910: Purchased by Mrs Hiles. c1914: Closed for a time.
Lilybank Hydro
Probably open
1914: New owner Mrs Cowood re-opened hydro as ‘Lilybank’.
1919: Managed (later owned) by Mr & Mrs John Kay (ex-Chesterfield House).
1921: The Gables (next-door) annexed by the Kays and subsequently linked to main building by a ballroom with a lantern roof. 1922: Electricity installed.
Open; accepted patients from Smedley’s and Rockside
Lilybank Hotel
Nagle Preparatory School; see Chesterfield House
1962: Purchased by the Presentation Sisters for use as the Nagle* Preparatory School.
*Nano Nagle (1718-84) founded the order of the Presentation Sisters.
1990: School closed; pupils transferred to the (then) new St Joseph’s Primary.
Post 1995:
Lilybank Hamlet Care Home
Chesterfield RoadChesterfield House Hydroc1861-at least c1886:
Flates Hydro
Evolved from a farm into one of the larger hydrosThe original farm may be identified within a complex of later additions, which include an elegant south-facing 4-storey front & veranda.
Early 1860s: Ralph & Ann Davis purchased Flates farm, which they enlarged to create Flates Hydro; date stone on east wing reads: RDAD 1861.
Chesterfield House Hydro
1895: West wing added by Davis’s daughter, Harriett Richards.
1898: Baths supervisors Mr & Mrs J. Kay (moved to Lilybank in 1919).
c1900: New owners; new ballroom, lounge, bedrooms.
Presumably open
Sanatorium for military officers suffering from tuberculosis
1920: Hydro advertised for sale; used by Dr Kincaid & Ministry of Pensions as a TB sanatorium (closed 1926) to treat military officers. See Matlock House.
Presentation Sisters Convent and School
1926/7: Property purchased by Presentation Sisters for convent and school.
1958: Chapel & extension added.
1962: Primary pupils transferred to Nagle Preparatory School, Lilybank.
Post 1990:
Presentation Sisters Convent & (since 1992) Care Home
1990: Convent school closed; replaced by St Joseph’s Primary School (latterly St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy); senior students transferred to St Mary’s R.C Secondary School, Chesterfield.
Chesterfield RoadFair View HydroPossibly within period
Small hydro_ _ _ _?Private houseProp: Mrs Holmes. No. 117 Chesterfield Road is approached via the motor access-cum-footpath to Wellfield, and may be the former hydro.
Chesterfield RoadChatsworth HydroChatsworth is a large and austere conglomeration of different building styles.
Late 1850s/60s-1900:
Poplar Cottage Hydro
Late 1850s/early 1860s: Original block (to far left as viewed from the front) built by Ralph Davis, also of South View.
1868: Sold to a Mr Knowles.
1874: Purchased by Ralph Davis’s brother, Thomas, of Prospect Place, who added a bath house (1880) & 4-storey wing (1885). Thomas Davis died in 1891.
250 patients
1895: Thomas Davis’s son, Jesse, added baths, but died following year.
Jeffs’ Poplar Hydro
1900: Jesse’s son, George, sold hydro to Charles Jeffs of Grimsby; hydro renamed Jeffs’ Poplar.
1906: New wing, bedrooms, ballroom., lift, electricity installed; builders, JW Wildgoose.
Chatsworth Hydro
Presumably open
1911: Renamed ‘Chatsworth Hydro’ by new owning company, including Alfred Knott & Frances Taylor.
90 bedrooms
1931: Purchased by a trio of locals including jeweller W Evans; refurbished; 90 bedrooms with H&C.
Presumably open
1946: Building purchased by Derbyshire Co. Council; became part of Matlock Teachers’ Training College.
Chatsworth Hall, (annexe to County Hall)
Post 1988:
Chatsworth Hall (annexe to County Hall)
Chesterfield Road (No. 90)Ebor Mount*
See note on right
Possibly within period late 1850s-1860s_ _ _ __ _ _ _?Today: Private house known as Rowan Cottage*Ebor Mount is not recorded as a hydro, but Ralph Davis treated patients here at one time. No further details available.
School RoadVine House HydroPossibly within period c1860s-1880sSmall hydro_ _ _ _?Today: Private houseSchool Road is accessed from Chesterfield Road. Number 6, School Road is named ‘Vine House’, and may be the former hydro.
Smedley St
(Nos. 193-199)
Sycamore House Hydroc1883-at least early 1900sSubstantial property_ _ _ _?c1883: Hydro established (perhaps built) by John Dawes from Mansfield.
1902: Dawes sold Sycamore House to Mary Williams, manager of Jeffs’ Poplar.
Today: Apartments
Smedley Street/Smith Road
(Section of Smedley Street to west was formerly part of Hackney Lane)
Malvern House HydroBuilt (possibly pre 1848) by Job Smith’s grandfather, who had installed hydro equipment by 1866. It consisted of a 3-storey gable-fronted block, attached to an older 2-storey building to west; later (presumably) extension runs parallel with Smith Rd. Of note is intricate concave shell carving over former corner doorway.
11 bedrooms
20 guests
c1868: Job Smith, ex-Smedley cook, returned from a long vacation in America to manage the hydro; became a prominent local figure, Chair of Local Board & County Councillor, and was the inspiration behind Matlock Cable Tramway.
1907: Smith died; hydro managed by his sister, Sarah, until her death in 1919.
Presumably open
23 bedrooms
Accommodation for staff at Smedley’s Hydro
1955–c2005: Furniture storage
Apartments, including new extension
Smedley Street
(Section of Smedley Street to east of junction with Wellington St formerly Broome Head Lane)
Smedley’s Hydro1851-1853:
Pre-Smedley era; perhaps known as Alexander's Cottage or Ralph Davis's (See notes (far right)
6 or so patients
None1851: Alexander’s Cottage rented by hydropathist Ralph Davis. Davis was a former framework knitter for John Smedley (the owner of Lea Mills), who had opened a small hydro at Lea Bridge.
Smedley’s Hydro
1853: John Smedley purchased Alexander’s Cottage along with two other properties; thus became Ralph Davis’s landlord. John Smedley was also Ralph Davis’s medical adviser. Smedley’s Hydro was born, and expanded rapidly.
76 bedrooms
1857: Ralph Davis moved to South View Cottage(s).
+West wing
1868: castellated 4-storey west wing (John Smedley’s only surviving section) completed.
1872: Dr W.B.Hunter apppinted Medical Director.
1874: John Smedley died.
1875: Limited company formed to run hydro.
1877: Laundry built, accessed by bridge across Broome Head Lane.
+50 bedrooms
+28 bedrooms
1880s: A major rebuild, designed by George Statham, replaced Smedley’s early work; contractor was JW Wildgoose. The projects included entrance hall, staircase & John Smedley Memorial Window by Shrigley & Hunt (1882); dining room, now council chamber (1886); electric lighting (1888); tower with mansard roof & crown (1888); boiler room (1892) & baths (1894).
+ 45 bedrooms
1901: Domed glass Winter Garden opened.
+39 bedrooms
1901-1909: 4-storey North Block, including second bridge, built in phases.
1930s: Replacement bridge to laundry.
270 bedrooms
400+ guests
School of Military Intelligence
1939: Requisitioned by the War Department for School of Military Intelligence.
1947: Smedley’s reopened after WWII, but struggled to attract clients.
1955: Hydro closed; premises purchased by Derbyshire County Council..
County Hall.
Opened as County Offices in 1956
Smedley Street
Woodbine Hydro1860s-1880s/90s:
Woodbine Villa
Small hydro_ _ _ _?1860s: Woodbine Villa, a plain three-storey, and possibly pre-1848 property was owned by Mr & Mrs Crowder, and managed by a Mrs Littlewood.
1880s: Woodbine Villa was run by a Mrs Knowles, exclusively for ladies.
Woodbine Hydro
1890s: Proprietor of Woodbine Hydro was ‘Professor’ Thomas Alexander, who offered ‘electric botany’, using herbs and batteries.
1897: Alexander bankrupt.
Apartments today
Smedley Street
(No.24, thought to be former Spring Villa)
Spring Villa Hydroc1890s-at least 1908:
Also known as Wheeldon’s
Small hydro_ _ _ _c1890: Hydro run (& perhaps built) by John & Louisa Wheeldon. Became a nursing home for a time after 1908. .
Within period 1908-c1922:
Nursing home
1916: Derwent Mills took over adjacent site (now Victoria Hall Gardens).
1931: Paton & Baldwin Ltd purchased the mills, and may have used the property (now Old Mill House) as a workshop to repair yarn.
1989: Paton & Baldwin closed; house derelict for a time, but sold and restored c1993
Post c1993: Private residence,
Old Mill House
Jackson Road
Jackson House Hydro1857: Mr & Mrs George Barton (both ex-Smedley) opened a small hydro (perhaps their home).
30-50 patients
1862: Jackson House built & established by the Bartons; featured prominent 4-storey tower-style block, with roof supported by large brackets.
c60 patients
1875: George Barton died. Son, also George, inherited hydro.
1875 etc: Various tenants/ managers.
1880s: George Barton junior moved to Dalefield (See Lilybank Hydro). (George Barton junior died 1908).
c60 guests
1913: Sold to manager Len Bramwell.
Presumably open
Accommodation for staff employed at Matlock House
c1946– c1988 Post WW I:
Guest house / Hotel
1920: Dr Frederick Kincaid bought Jackson House, which he used as a hostel for staff at his TB sanatorium for military personnel (See Matlock House Hydro).
1921: Jackson House re-opened as a hydro under new owner, Hallamshire Coffee House Co; then various managers until it closed in 1939.
Accommodation for military
Possibly c1960s:
Abbey Hotel
Jackson Tor House (private hotel)
Post c2003:
Private residential units, still known as Jackson Tor House
Jackson Road
(Next door to Jackson House)
Tor House Hydro1858: Advert indicates that ex-Smedley George Davis (brother of Ralph & Thomas) established a small hydro (perhaps his home?).
Also known as George Davis’s
1862: Tor House built by George Davis. Davis died in 1901; his wife in 1902.
17 bedrooms
1901: Davis family, including sons George junior and William, continued to run Tor House; George junior until 1928. After that, he worked for his cousin, Lubin Wildgoose, at Oldham House Hydro. George Davis junior died in 1932.
Presumably open
May have been used for a time to accommodate Smedley’s staff
Dates uncertain:
Demolished & site built over
Wellington St
(Opposite Jackson Road)
Old Bank House HydroProbably open
Small hydro_ _ _ _ c1870s/80s: Old Bank House was opened and run by ex-Smedley head steward (for 20 years), Jonas Brown, in this existing building with an 18th C facade.
Private residence,
Old Bank House
The Views adult care facility
Wellington Street
(Thought to be formerly part of Hackney Lane)
Rockside Hydro1862/3–1939:
Originally named 'Rock Side'

Also known as 'Charles Rowland’s'
100+ patients
1862/3: Original block (adjacent to Rockside Steps) built & then managed by former Smedley patient Charles Rowland & wife from Grafton House Hydro, Coton-in-the-Elms, near Burton-on-Trent.
1869-1880s: Hydro managed by Rowland’s niece & husband; whilst Rowlands took tenancy of Matlock House.
1880s-1892: Hydro managed by Rowland’s nephew William Atkins & wife.
1892: The Atkins left to manage Dale Hydro.
1894: Rockside purchased by local family of nearby Wolds Farm.
+37 bedrooms
Est. 170+ guests
1903/4: The Goodwins built iconic 6-storey tower block with octagonal corner turrets & conical roofs; 37 new bedrooms etc; designed by Buxton architects Parker & Unwin; built by local contractor JW Wildgoose).
RAF convalescent hospital
+30 bedrooms
Est. 200+ guests
Dining for 200
1923: The Goodwins added dining/concert room plus 30 more bedrooms.
RAF hospital
1939-1945: Hydro commandeered as an RAF hospital.
c1946– c1988: Hall of Residence, Matlock College of Education (formerly Matlock Teachers’ Training College)c1946: Purchased by County Council; became part of Matlock Training College
Derelict for some time
Post 2004/5:
Apartments - Rockside Hydro (original block), Rockside Hall (tower block) & Cavendish Apartments (new build)
Wellington Street
Prospect Place Hydro1857/9-1906:
Prospect Place Hydro
20 patients
1857/9: Prospect Place built by ex-Smedley bathman, Thomas Davis, the brother of Ralph. See South View Cottage, Poplar Cottage & Chesterfield House.
1857: An advertisement for Prospect Place includes the words: ‘Established 1857’, a date which is thought could refer to his home at 1, Prospect Terrace.
40 bedrooms
80 patients
1859: According to Buckley, Prospect Place was opened by Thomas & Hannah Davis, who started with 3 patients, but offered accommodation for up to 20 later that same year; and for over 80 by 1865. The former hydro survives as 61, Wellington Street, a substantial three-storey twin-gabled residence.
1891: Thomas Davis died; Prospect Place run by daughter, Rachel Wildgoose.
Part of Oldham & Prospect Hydros
Accommodation for male staff employed at Rockside RAF hospital
Part of Woodlands School
Late 1960s-1970s:
Part of evangelical conference centre; see Oldham House
Post 1970s:
Private residence
Wellington Street
Oldham House Hydro1890:
Arbutus Cottage
c1890: John Wildgoose, builder and town surveyor, incorporated his home, Arbutus Cottage, into Oldham House Hydro, which he ran with his wife, Rachel, the daughter of Thomas & Hannah Davis, of neighbouring Prospect Place.
Oldham House
Also known as Wildgoose’s
Part of Oldham & Prospect Hydros
100 visitors
(including Prospect Place)
1906: The Wildgooses amalgamated Oldham House with Prospect Place to form Oldham & Prospect Hydros.
1909: On Rachel’s death, son Lubin* became manager of combined enterprise.
1916: Hydro enlarged, including new entrance, dining room & lounge
120 guests
(including Prospect Place)
Accommodation for nurses employed at Rockside RAF hospital
1939: Premises commandeered by the military.
Part of Woodlands School
1946: Complex sold to the White sisters, who relocated their Woodlands School from The Woodlands, Bakewell Road, into the former Prospect/Oldham Hydros.
1965: School closed; buildings used as a conference centre until 1970s, when they were mostly demolished. Classical-style (thought to be) former dining hall survives as no. 59, complete with roof glazing & parapet. *Another son, John William (c1862-1923) founded JW Wildgoose, builders of many properties in Matlock..
c Late 1960s-1970s:
Part of evangelical conference centre
Mostly demolished for (then) new housing
Post 1970s:
Part of building (thought to be the former dining-hall & boiler room) survives as the private residence, Ruatha Hold
Wellington Street or Smedley StreetStanley House HydroOpen in early 1900sNot known _ _ _ _Presumably a private residence_ _ _ _By 1908: John Wall (son of Harriett Richards (nee Davis) by her first marriage; grandson of Ralph & Ann Davis) had moved to Stanley House from Elm Tree.
Uncertain1, Prospect Terrace (Hydro) Probably open late 1850sPresumably small_ _ _ _Presumably a private house_ _ _ _An undated advertisement indicates the existence of this hydro, run by Mr & Mrs Thomas Davis. One suggestion (unsubstantiated) is that it may have been the forerunner to Prospect Place, possibly in a different location.
Uncertain3, Prospect Terrace (Hydro)Probably open late 1850s Presumably small_ _ _ _Presumably a private house_ _ _ _An undated advertisement indicates the existence of this hydro, run by Mrs Sarah Martin for ladies and children.
UncertainStevenson’s Hydro1860-1871Not known, but see note (right)_ _ _ _See note (right)See note (right)1860: Established by Mr & Mrs Matthew Stevenson, later of Belle Vue. One suggestion (unsubstantiated) is that Elm Tree may have originated as Stevenson’s, located (according to Buckley) ‘a little below Rockside’.