Victoria Hall Gardens

Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Local Projects Fund has enabled a group of local residents, supported by Matlock in Bloom and the town’s Civic Association, to reinstate a garden on the site of a historic landmark.

Victoria Hall Gardens, above Smedley Street East, Matlock, 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.

From 1914-89 the building became Derwent Woollen Mills before its demolition to make way for the Victoria Hall Gardens housing development.

Local ward member Councillor Martin Burfoot was approached by residents three years ago because the garden had become overgrown. As the site is owned by the District Council, officers were asked to help with tree works and wall repairs.

Meanwhile Matlock in Bloom sought further funding from the District Council’s Local Projects Fund, which assists community projects, 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, which has provided many blue plaques to commemorate historic sites and buildings, worked with Matlock In Bloom to provide the two plaques, which were unveiled this week 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.

Councillor 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.”

Two of the resident volunteers were Neil and Pauline Wainwright, and Neil 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.”