A fine mansion overlooking Masson Mills. It was built by John Edward
Lawton, an experienced spinner from Dukinfield, Cheshire
(see 1891 and
1901 Census). Named "Woodbank" when first built, it was later
known as "Cromford Court". In 1883 Lawton was hired by
Frederick Charles Arkwright (grandson of
Sir Richard) to manage Masson Mill, which made sewing thread for
the new market created by the use of sewing machines.
Julie Bunting writes in "Matlock and Matlock Bath":
The imposing Woodbank was built by George Lawton, manager of Masson
Mill, apparantly to flaunt his wealth after being refused permission
to build at Cromford. The property subsequently belonged to the
Holiday Guild and was known as Cromford Court, then later became
headquarters of the New Tribes Mission. Woodbank has recently been
converted into flats.
Woodbank gave Lawton a bird's-eye view of the mills where he reigned
supreme. At the week-long celebrations of his daughter, May, - the
last big event at the Palais Royal - Masson millworkers were ordered
to change into suits before going up to toast the newly-weds, there
to be monitored by three foremen counting the minutes they were away
from their labours.
Unposted. Taken late 1930's, judging by car style and croquet lawn.
Woodbank looks down on Masson Mills, and
Neil Francis looked down on Woodbanks when he
took this photo from his flying machine...
Click on photo for enlargement (on CD only)
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