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Things to do in Matlock Bank, Derbyshire


Matlock Bank is the name given to the steep hillside to the east of the River Derwent, where Bank Road rises steeply from Crown Square in the centre of Matlock.

This was once the site of the steepest tramway in the world, where the 'tuppence up, penny down' tram ran from 1893 until 1927. The impressive building with a central tower was originally Smedley's Hydro, one of the 19th century hydropathic establishments for which Matlock was world famous. The guests who stayed here included Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Beecham, Ivor Novello - and even royalty.

The fashion for hydropathy lasted a century, but declined with the rise of modern medicine and the foundation of the National Health service. All the hydros were closed by the end of the 1950s, and Smedley's Hydro is now the headquarters of Derbyshire County Council.

Description by Jeffrey Darlington

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