Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Matlock is the county town of Derbyshire, England. A former spa town, it lies on the River Derwent, and has prospered from both the hydropathy industry and the mills constructed on the river. It was an unimportant collection of small villages - Matlock Town, Matlock Green, Matlock Bridge, Matlock Bank - until thermal springs were discovered in 1698. The population increased rapidly in the 1800s, largely due to hugely popular hydros being built. At one stage there were around twenty hydros, most on Matlock Bank. The largest was built in 1853 by John Smedley . This closed in the 1950s, when it became home to Derbyshire County Council. Matlock is also home to the Derbyshire Dales District Council headquarters.
In 1893 a cable tramway was built along Bank Road, from Crown Square at Matlock Bridge to Smedley Street, where Smedley's Hydro was situated. Conceived by Job Smith, the tram was inspired by San Francisco's famous cable cars, and cost £20,000. When it was built it was the steepest tramway in the world at a gradient of 1 in 5½, and it rose 300 feet. The fare was tuppence up, penny down. It closed in 1927 after losing business to cars and buses.
The tram shelter from Crown Square is now in Hall Leys Park, a large Victorian park next to the river which opened in 1898. The park now boasts a miniature railway, bandstand and a boating pond with the oldest running powered boats in Britain.
Matlock railway station was on the Midland Railway line between London and Manchester, until the section between Matlock and Buxton was closed in 1968 during the Beeching Axe. Trains still run between Matlock and Derby on the Derwent Valley Line, and Peak Rail is a preserved railway which runs trains on a section of the closed line between Matlock, Darley Dale and Rowsley .
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