A Postcard, Scrap Metal, John Masefield and a Cap Badge

What do a postcard, scrap metal, John Masefield and a cap badge all have in common? The answer is

Picture from a postcard sent to a soldier at the front by his wife and son from Matlock Bath in 1915.
Picture from a postcard sent to a soldier at the front by his wife and son from Matlock Bath in 1915.

that they are all part of the diverse and extensive exhibition now open in The Pump Room of the Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath. The exhibition is part of the Heritage Lottery funded ‘The Great War – Life in The Bath’ project run jointly by Matlock Bath Parish Council, Peak District Lead Mining Museum and Matlock Bath Heritage and involving residents, businesses and visitors to the village. As well as exploring the lives of the fallen and the others who served in the forces, it also investigates life in the village and how the conflict affected those left at home. There are exhibits of memorabilia, artefacts that have been collected, and research into family history. Holy Trinity Primary School has also been involved in contributing work.

The postcard, after being the inspiration for the poster for this year’s exhibition, was the catalyst for the Hodgkinson family to collect together family photos and other artefacts and investigate further their family’s history around 1915 and before. The scrap metal is shell cases which when crafted became known as trench art and we have quite a diverse collection from various sources. The year 1915 saw the Gallipoli campaign and a resident has researched both the campaign and the part his ancestors played in it. John Masefield was at Gallipoli and his experiences inspired some of his writings. The cap badge was the inspiration for another piece of family research into what their ancestor did.

Life in the village includes a copy of the master’s log from the old school and school plans drawn up in 1908 for modernisation of the building and there is information about the railway and those who kept this important transport artery working. There is a wealth of information about who was living where in the village through the log book and maps of the 1910 Finance Act which have been copied from the originals in the Derbyshire Records Office. Then there are collections of newspaper articles from 1914 and 1915 all taken from the local publications of the period and reflecting ordinary life in Matlock Bath. Added into the mix is a miscellany of documents, artefacts and memorabilia relating to the year 1915 and thereabouts. The Pump Room is packed with unusual and interesting exhibits with something for all ages and interests and admission is free. It is open daily from 10.00 until 4.30. Entrance to the Pump Room is through the Mining Museum.

More details and information can be found on Facebook page The Great War – Life in The Bath or by phoning 01629 583834. If you are visiting Matlock Bath and the Peak District, please call in and share what we have created.