New Book: Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath a perfectly romantic place, tells the story of a small Derbyshire village that briefly walked upon the national stage. For about fifty years, from the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Matlock Bath enjoyed the patronage of fashionable society. Visitors included Lord North, the British Prime Minister 1770 – 1792, numerous artists and men of letters and it was a favourite playground for the members of the Lunar Society including Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, John Whitehurst and their friend Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the American State.
Life as a fashionable spa was short lived and the resort’s decline was brought to an end in the 1840s only by the arrival of the railways. The new visitors it brought, the day trippers, enabled the village to reinvent itself as a popular day out destination, the role it continues to perform today.
Cllr Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council who has contributed a Foreword to this book, writes, “The evolution of Matlock Bath is traced through this academically robust and compelling work. It is a book that has been needed for a long time and is a huge contribution to the corpus of material, not just to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, but to Derbyshire.”
The authors, Dr Christopher Charlton and Doreen Buxton, have made extensive use of written and photographic archives, art collections and newspaper records and the book is lavishly illustrated. The book was launched at the New Bath Hotel in Matlock Bath. It is published by the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Educational Trust and can be obtained from the publishers directly by emailing DVMWHS.EducationTrust@gmail.com phoning 07784 875333, or from local shops in Matlock Bath, Matlock, Cromford and Wirksworth.