Matlock Bath, viewed from the Heights of Abraham
Matlock Bath shown within Derbyshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Derbyshire Dales|
In 1698 warm springs were discovered and a Bath House was built. As the waters became better known, access was improved by the building of the bridge into Old Matlock and in 1783, the opening of a new entrance at the south of the valley. Princess Victoria of Kent's royal visit in 1832 confirmed Matlock as a society venue of the time. Victoria's party visited a pair of museums and a petrifying well. Ruskin loved it, and Lord Byron confirmed its romantic character, comparing it with alpine Switzerland, hence its nickname Little Switzerland. Erasmus Darwin had recommended the area to Josiah Wedgwood I for its beauty and soothing waters, and members of the families vacationed and settled there. Edward Levett Darwin, son of Francis Sacheverel Darwin, lived at Dale House in Matlock Bath, where he was a solicitor.
When the North Midland Railway opened in 1840, carriages plied for hire from Ambergate station. The Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway ran a number of excursions, taking the passengers onward from Ambergate by the Cromford Canal.
Matlock Bath is now a designated conservation area with an Article 4 Direction in relation to properties, predominantly along North and South Parade.
Matlock Bath is in the local government district of Derbyshire Dales, and is part of the parliamentary constituency of the same name. The Member of Parliament is Patrick McLoughlin of the Conservative Party.
Attractions in the village include the Heights of Abraham which is a self-contained park on top of a hill of the same name. The park contains a former mine which is open to the public and a cliffside cafe. On the opposite bank of the river Derwent stands High Tor, a sheer cliff which is very popular with climbers and walkers alike. High Tor features Giddy Edge, a narrow winding path along the cliff edge. The cable cars are close to the base of High Tor and serve the Heights of Abraham. Also in Matlock Bath are Gulliver's Kingdom theme park, the Peak District Mining Museum, the Life in a Lens Museum of Photography & Old Times and an aquarium. The notable presence of amusements and museums are a strong tourist draw, and they live quite happily side by side, because the conservation area guidelines keep control of any excessive promotional activity, while allowing it to prosper along with the historical and scenic side that has made Matlock Bath so worth visiting. In autumn of each year, the "Venetian Nights" are held with illuminations along the river and illuminated boats, attracting thousands of visitors
There is a fancy rafts event every year on boxing day on the river Derwent from Matlock through Matlock Bath to Cromford Meadows.
Since 2005, every March, participants in StreetSafari European banger rallies meet in the Midland Hotel, North Parade, Matlock Bath for their annual "north of England" meet-up. The "south of England" meet-up is held in Covent Garden, London. StreetSafari generally meets up on the last weekend of March.
Matlock Bath railway station was built in 1849 on the Midland Railway line between London and Manchester: the section from Matlock to Buxton was closed in 1968, following the Beeching cuts. Trains still run between Matlock Bath and Derby on the Derwent Valley Line.
The River Derwent in Matlock Bath is a very popular location for Canoeing events. It is used by Matlock Canoe Club to host competitive (National level) Wild Water Racing and Slalom events, and is an assessment location for the BCU 4 Star award. It is also a popular site for recreational canoeists.
- RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 23 October 1832 (Queen Victoria's handwriting). Retrieved 24 May 2013
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