‘Derelict and forgotten’ corner of Matlock brought back to life

The unveiling of the plaque at Victoria Hall Gardens, Matlock.
The unveiling of the plaque at Victoria Hall Gardens, Matlock.

A garden has been reinstated on the site of an historic landmark in Matlock.

Victoria Hall Gardens, above Smedley Street East, was where the Victoria Hall Leisure Complex stood from 1896 to 1912 at a time when the town was famed as a “metropolis of hydropathy”, attracting tourists on a massive scale.

Victoria Hall Gardens, Matlock.

Victoria Hall Gardens, Matlock.

From 1914 to 1989 the building became Derwent Woollen Mills before its demolition to make way for the Victoria Hall Gardens housing development.

Ward councillor Martin Burfoot was approached by residents three years ago because the garden had become overgrown.

As the site is owned by Derbyshire Dales District Council, officers were asked to help with tree works and wall repairs.

Meanwhile, Matlock in Bloom obtained funding from the district council’s Local Projects Fund, while a group of nearby residents began work to clear and reinstate the garden.

Now shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs have been planted to fill the gaps created by the clearance of weeds and scrub growth from the historic site.

Matlock Civic Association worked with Matlock In Bloom to provide two blue plaques which were unveiled by Councillor Steve Flitter, Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales, at the entrance to the garden, which include benches and a vista of the town and the Riber hillside.

Coun Flitter said: “This a prime example of a community working together, with Matlock Civic Association, Matlock in Bloom, local residents and the district council joining forces to achieve a very worthwhile outcome.”

One of the resident volunteers, Neil Wainwright, said: “The residents of Victoria Hall Gardens are extremely grateful to the district council and Matlock in Bloom for the help and assistance provided to the volunteers, who have brought back to life a derelict and forgotten corner of Matlock.

“The historic garden has been restored to its former glory for the benefit of all.”