A Sentimental Journey
- No. 03
w/e 16 September 2007
this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Gonna take a Sentimental Journey, Gonna set my
heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey, to renew old memories.
This didn't start out as a sentimental journey - it just
turned out that way. It was one of those late summer days when
nothing else was pressing so we decided on a run out to Matlock.
After a brief stop for coffee at Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson
Mills and a look around the early 19th century building which
is now used by a number of companies as a retail outlet, we were
soon on our way again and driving into the centre of Matlock
Bath. You could easily spend a couple of hours or more at the
Mill which also houses an exhibition, conference centre, and
a working textile museum - but not today.
We managed to find a parking space right outside the original
Victorian Thermal Baths which now houses a number of attractions
including an aquarium and a hologram gallery in one of Derbyshire's
tourist hotspots. Matlock Bath is also a mecca for bikers especially
at weekends and Bank Holidays and even midweek, there were still
a number of motorbikes to be seen like this one above left also
parked near the aquarium.
On our way into Matlock Bath, we had passed the imposing Pavilion
on the right hand side of the road. The building is now home
to the Peak District Mining Museum and the Tourist Information
Centre but was built about 1906 as the social centre of the town.
I say "town" but there are several small locations
variously quoted as between five and eight that together now
form the area known collectively as Matlock. Matlock Bath however
has retained its own identity being described in one guidebook
as "the lively end of town, with lots happening in and around
the Pavilion by the Derwent." Across the road from the Pavilion
and possibly easily missed by visitors intent of visiting the
museum, is a small fountain with an adjacent plaque that details
its interesting history.
Next to the fountain is the Fishpond pub which unsurprisingly
overlooks the fishpond, resplendent with colourful fish, next
to the Pavilion. It was here that the nostalgia kicked in as
I recalled a visit here nearly half a century ago. It's strange
how memories fade with time - some parts of that trip are as
clear as day but others have been swallowed by the mists of time.
To cut a long story short, together with a number of school friends
- I think there were five of us - I cycled the eighteen miles
or so to Matlock Bath from Ilkeston. I vividly remember getting
a puncture on the way and buying a repair kit from the bike shop
in Codnor Market Place, about seven or eight miles from home.
Having effected the repair we continued to Matlock Bath but the
tyre was flat again when we arrived. It was here by the fishpond
that I again repaired the puncture.
While I recall a little more of the story, enjoy these views
of North Parade (bottom left) and South Parade (top left) as
seen from the Jubilee Bridge (right) over the River Derwent.
Matlock Bath boasts much Victorian architecture and the iron
bridge over the River Derwent was erected on 14 June, 1887 in
time for Queen Victoria's Jubilee eight days later. Returning
to my cycling story from the early 1960s, I should tell you that
two of my school friends had lightweight bikes with dropped handlebars,
another rode a heavy ladies model with no crossbar and yet another
had a sturdy gents bike with straight handlebars. My own bike
had been cobbled together from odds and ends by another friend.
It had a lightweight frame, straight handlebars but no gears.
In hindsight, it also had an inner tube on the verge of perishing!
I don't remember the War Memorial from my visit as a teenager
but it was unveiled on 21 May, 1921 and is situated in the Promenade
Gardens at the side of the River Derwent. I don't know the original
purpose of the impressive looking building in the background
but as well as providing shelter and sporting a clock, it is
now a rather grand public convenience. What I do remember is
my bike journey back home or at least part of it. Despite those
memory lapses, I recall pumping the tyre up, riding as far as
I could, pump in hand, and then jumping off again to reinflate
the tyre. Needless to say our group became rather strung out
and the return journey took much longer than planned. Expected
home about six o'clock, my parents were going frantic when I
turned up at nearly ten. Mobile phones then were still a thing
of the future and we didn't even have a land line either.
I have to admit to being a bit miffed when it was suggested I
had been to a fun fair at Stanley Common and that had been the
cause of my late return. Our return had in fact been via Belper,
the "mad mile" at Horsley and through Stanley Common
and it was there where my colleagues had stopped to look around
the fair that I had eventually caught up and passed them to arrive
back in Ilkeston first. For me the whole day had been a bit of
a disaster - we hadn't even had time to climb the hill near Hodgkinson's
Hotel and Restaurant to visit the high ground and the attractions
known as the Heights of Abraham. Hodgkinson's is grade II listed
and dates from about 1770/80. It was a coaching stage point and
was later bought in the 1830's by Job Hodgkinson, a wine merchant,
whence came the name by which it is known today.
Today visitors to the Heights of Abraham can let the cable cars
take the strain and we passed beneath them as we continued our
journey north along the A6 into Matlock Town through this area
of Derbyshire that has also been justifiably called "the
Switzerland of England". I have been to Matlock many times
both before and since that fateful day of the bike ride and in
"A Sentimental Journey No. 4", I'll reminisce about
Sunday School outings there but for now, cue song:-
Never thought my heart could be so yearny. Why did I decide
Gotta take that Sentimental Journey, Sentimental Journey home.
If you have a sentimental journey of your own that you would
like featured, email
a few details to me.