John Smedley (1803-1874) may be said to be the man who put Matlock
on the map.
This cabinet photograph was probably taken about 1867.
Cabinet photographs became popular from 1866, so making
this an early card for that format.The photograph is of
John & Caroline SMEDLEY, (very few of John Smedley exist).
On the reverse of the card are the coat of Arms of the
Smedley generations dated 1867. They are:
SMEDLEY - Wirksworth AD 1507
MOORE - Staveley AD 1595
MOORE - Winster AD 1581
BRIGHT - Staveley AD 1595
WOOD - Wirksworth AD 1654
RIDGWAY - Wirksworth AD 1670
Also on the cards is written the motto:
"Truth is great and will prevail"
Across the bottom "John & Caroline Smedley,
Riber Castle, Matlock, Derbyshire".
An interesting story this one; John Smedley
born 12 Jun 1803 in Wirksworth,
married on 24 June 1847
a Vicar's daughter
Caroline HARWARD. Smedley was a textile
manufacturer at Lea Mills near Matlock. In 1847 they went to
Switzerland for their honeymoon, where John became ill, and had
to return to England.
He went to the then new Ben Rhydding Hydro Establishment
(opened 1844 in the East part of Ilkley, Yorkshire),
and later to Cheltenham to take the waters, where apparently he was
cured of his illness. Smedley returned to Matlock and went into
partnership with Ralph Davies at Matlock Bank (see Census
Eventually (about 1853) he set up his own Spa called "Smedley's Hydro"
at Matlock, Derbyshire.
This became a great success with hundreds of visitors a year, and was at its
peak about the time of this photograph. (In 1867 he treated 2000 patients).
John built Riber Castle in 1862 but did not live long to enjoy it,
he died in 1874.
His wife lived her life out there and died in 1892.
Riber Castle appears in the following Census:
In the 1891 Census there were over 26 Hydros
in Matlock, and the population of Matlock
had grown from 4,000 to over 7,000.
See also: Hydropathy, John Smedley and Matlock.
In 1828 A Pedigree of the Smedleys was drawn up
by Thomas Ince (a Wirksworth genealogist), when John Smedley was only 25,
unmarried, and still unconnected with Hydropath, (Ince updated this
Pedigree after 1847 when Smedley was better known). John Smedley is
number 49 on the tree, Caroline number 50. CD users can see an image of
the Manuscript on: Ince 029b
In 1882 the Smedley's Memorial Hydropathic Hospital was opened, built by
Caroline Smedley as a memorial to her husband who died in 1874. It was
run by Annie Jackson, but today (2005) is
a Youth Hostel, most convenient for the Derbyshire Record Office (which
used to be Bank House Hydro, see:
Photo taken: c1867
Click on photo for enlargement (on CD only)
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