Sunday, 4 August 2013

A guide to the real England - Derbyshire part 2



Matlock was developed during the nineteenth century as a spar town and was extremely popular and fashionable due to the cleansing powers of its waters and the wonderful scenery which surround it. On the 22nd of October 1832 the  then princess Victoria ( later to be crowned queen Victoria) visited Matlock Bath and took the waters which further increased its appeal to the public. The first know records of a spring existing though at Matlock goes as far back as 1698.
Other famous people have written about Matlock Bath, including Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, who mentions Matlock (Bath) in her novel 'Frankenstein': "We proceeded to Matlock (Bath), which was our next place of rest. The country in the neighborhood of this village resembles Switzerland; but everything is on a lower scale". In those days, many people used the name 'Matlock' when they meant 'Matlock Bath'. John Wesley found it "pleasant beyond expression"; Ruskin expressed his delight as did Nathaniel Hawthorne. The extremely observant 'Poet Laureate', Sir John Betjeman, wrote a poem about the village, which is actually called 'Matlock bath'.
This village  is very close to my childhood home and so conjures up many memories. I worked one of my post university jobs here in the wonderful Hodgekinsons hotel and restaurant which by the way is still open and well worth a visit. Most weekends on a Sunday there is the perfect opportunity to see the many bikers who love to visit this spot. Its quite a sight with all their black leather and Harley-Davidsons parked in lines. On the more tranquil side there is a beautiful river which runs through the village  and also the heights of Abraham which is a rather nice place to visit. You can take a cable car up to the heights of Abraham and have a coffee whilst viewing the sights and the rolling English countryside.
Every year from Saturday 31st August to Saturday 26th October is an event called the Illuminations in which boats decorated with lights float down the river . Every year there is a different theme and its really worth a viewing. As is the choreographed firework display which follows. Its a fantastic family evening out and well worth wrapping up and going out for. As there is a such a lovely atmosphere in the air as well as a carnival feel . There are usually many stands where you can get a good meal to take with you as you have a walk about. .

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