Matlock is the county town of Derbyshire, England. It is situated at the south eastern edge of the Peak District, and is twinned with the French town Eaubonne.Matlock Bath lies immediately south of the town on the A6.
Matlock is nine miles south west of Chesterfield, surrounded by the cities of Derby (19 miles), Sheffield (20 miles) and Nottingham (29 Miles). The A6 road continues to the Metropolitan areas of Stockport (30 miles) and Manchester (45 miles away). Although officially occupying a central England position geographically, Matlock is in the west of Derbyshire in what is known as the Derbyshire Dales which includes the towns of Wirksworth, Bakewell and Ashbourne. Industry in the area is now relatively low since the decline of the mill industry and job opportunities are quite poor apart from tourism and administration jobs. Many now travel to Chesterfield and the South Yorkshire conurbation for work. In 2005, the Government paper The Northern Way suggested to include Matlock into a newly formed Sheffield City Region which ultimately mean the redesign of regional and county councils. However to date there is no set time agenda for this to happen.
HistoryA former spa town, Matlock lies on the River Derwent, and has prospered from both the hydrotherapy industry and the mills constructed on the river. It was an unimportant collection of small villages — Matlock Town, Matlock Green, Matlock Bridge, Matlock Bank — until thermal springs were discovered in 1698. The population increased rapidly in the 1800s, largely due to hugely popular hydros being built. At one stage there were around twenty hydros, most on Matlock Bank. The largest was built in 1853 by John Smedley. This closed in the 1950s, when it became home to Derbyshire County Council. Matlock is also home to the Derbyshire Dales District Council as well as Matlock Town Council.
The town centre developmentFor many years, the council had proposed to allow a Sainsbury's supermarket to be built in Cawdor Quarry, a disused quarry next to the railway station. In late spring 2007 building work started, and it was opened on Thursday 4th October 2007. The access road for the supermarket forms part of a new one way system, whereby the A6 bypasses the town centre. A footbridge from the railway station allows pedestrian access to the supermarket from the town centre. A newly built bus station next to the train station is intended to create an integrated transport terminal.. However, several bus routes will continue to serve only the old Bus Station on Bakewell Road, making Matlock one of the smallest towns in Britain to boast two bus stations.
Bank Road Tram
In 1893, Matlock Cable Tramway, a cable tramway was built up Bank Road from Crown Square at Matlock Bridge to Wellington Street (at the top of Bank Road) with a stop half way up at Smedley Street where Smedley's Hydro (built by John Smedley) was situated. Conceived by Job Smith, the tram was inspired by San Francisco's famous cable cars, and cost £20,000. When it was built it was the steepest tramway in the world at a gradient of 1 in 5½, and it rose 300 feet. The fare was tuppence up, penny down. It closed in 1927 after losing business to cars and buses.
RailwaysMatlock railway station was opened on the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway, later the Midland, line between London and Manchester, until the section between Matlock and Buxton was closed in 1968 during the Beeching Axe. Network Rail considered re-opening the line, with a study carried out by the county council. Although it proved to be unfeasible in the short term, the track bed will be kept free of development as the study showed that the line could be economically viable from around 2025. The section from Wye Dale (about 3 miles east of Buxton) to Coombs viaduct, a point about a mile south-east of Bakewell, has now become the Monsal Trail, an 8.5 mile walk and cycle trail. Trains still run between Matlock and Derby on the Derwent Valley Line. Peak Rail, a preserved railway, runs steam trains on a section of the closed line between Matlock, Darley Dale and Rowsley. It is hoped that in the future Peak Rail will be able to share the mainline station – it currently has its own station, Matlock Riverside, a short distance to the north.
Hall Leys ParkThe tram shelter from Crown Square is now in Hall Leys Park, a large Victorian park next to the River Derwent which opened in 1898. The park boasts a miniature railway, bandstand and a boating pond, with the oldest running powered boats in Britain, for many years, as well as tennis courts and a war memorial. There is an ongoing project to update and upgrade all the parks in the Matlock area - Hall Leys Park was the first to benefit from this and the children's play area has been greatly modernised. There has also been a skateboard park added replacing grass tennis courts. The park hosts an arts festival, Matlock Live, every June and the Matlock Victorian Christmas Weekend on the first weekend of December.
Bank RoadBank road runs from Crown Square up Matlock Bank, a steep hill which gives the road its name, to Wellington Street. Although many consider the whole incline to be Bank Road, just over half-way up beyond Smedley Street the road is called Rutland Street. Bank Road has many local landmark buildings along it - from the bottom of the hill (Crown Square) travelling north:
NB. Beyond Smedley Street Bank Road is actually Rutland Street.
Matlock is also home to Matlock Cricket Club who play their games next to the football ground, and Matlock and District Swimming Club (also known as MAD Swimming) who train and compete in the nearby Matlock Lido.
Matlock has a regular rugby team who play their home matches at nearby Cromford Meadows. They run 3 senior teams and the 1st XV compete at Level 6 in the RFU league structure. Matlock Rugby Club also has a thriving mini's and junior section with over 250 members all supported by fully qualified mini and junior coaches. In 2007 the club was awarded the Derbyshire Tigger Price Memorial trophy for the team of the year award
Before Highfields School was founded in 1982, when the tripartite education system ended, there were three schools in Matlock; Charles White's Secondary Modern, John Turner's Secondary Modern and Ernest Bailey's Grammar School. These schools were merged to create Highfields, a comprehensive. The site of Charles White's became lower site of Highfields, Ernest Bailey's was converted to the council record offices, John Turner's was demolished and the site is now the parkway housing estate and a new school was built to house the new Upper Lumsdale site.