Wednesday, November 26, 2014

John Smedley's Hydropathic Institution - Matlock. Link to Umbrella Article
This is a link to an article from the 1st issue of  UMBRELLA on the Matlock site - 

In searching for something else, I came across a wonderful article from the first ever issue of  Umbrella -the literary magazine produced by the Umbrella Club and first published in October 1958. The article, which deals with John Smedley's Hydropathic Institution in Matlock was written by Geoffrey Saunders (a resident of Coventry) under the pen name of  Geoffrey Demdike and contributed to the Andrews Pages - Matlock and Matlock Bath website by one of the former editors of Umbrella  - Jim Runnalls.

Industrial background of John Smedley
It's an interesting article and worth visiting the site for. Smedley's was a family business in Matlock, and founded in 1784 by Peter Nightingale ( a relation of Florence Nightingale). The mill specialised in the production of muslin and spinning cotton to send out to local cottages with hand frame looms. Towards the end of the 18th century the company had extended its activities to include knitting and hosiery manufacture - said to be the origin of  Long Johns. . By this time, John Smedley was running the business alone, although the Nightingale family retained an interest in the property. As Lea Mills remains open and an operational building to this day, manufacturing the company's range of designer knitwear, John Smedley claims to be world's longest running factory manufacturer over four generations."

"John Smedley's success and growing wealth enabled other grand projects. He developed an interest in hydrotherapy, and built Smedley's Hydro in Matlock, a spa resort that attracted patrons from around the world. As a family home he also built the massive and ostentatious Riber Castle on a hilltop overlooking Matlock. This is now one of  Derbyshire's most famous landmarks. It was built on Matlock Bank in 1853 when it was the largest hydro in the town. Matlock had developed as a spa town after thermal springs were discovered. John Smedley was not the first to recognise and exploit the effects of water treatment on various illnesses."

And it is here that Geoffrey Demdike's article begins, entitled Smedleys Hydro and you can read it on this site, where you will find lots of other fascinating material on the Matlock area.

Screen shot of the Matlock website.
View the Umbrella article in full on the Andrews Pages - Matlock and Matlock and Bath site Here

And for more information on the Hydro - see here on the same site.