, , , , , , ,

Saturday 14th September 2013 20.00

Matlock Bath Parade of Illuminated and Decorated Boats

Entry £5

When I was asked to photograph Rowsley versus Newhall, it gave me a excuse to stay on and photograph a wonderful English tradition.

Matlock Bath lies just over a mile south of Matlock, in Derbyshire. It’s a spa town, sitting snugly in the Derwent valley, and Princess Victoria of Kent’s visit in 1832 made the village the place to visit for those attached to the social scene. The likes of Ruskin and Lord Byron took the waters and the latter nicknamed the place Little Switzerland, a name that has stuck!

The town didn’t forget that the their fame was down to Queen Victoria so they decided to hold a pageant of illuminated boats along the Derwent each year to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee. Initially the boats were lit by candlelight, but in the 50’s it was decided to allow electrically-lit craft, although even now one boat is always lit by candle, as a nod to the past.

This year is the 116th pageant and can be seen each Saturday and Sunday in September and October. It’s as good as it always was, and as I walked away, to a warm pub, I realised I’d rediscovered something that along with the village fete that’s quintessentially English. I wonder where I’ll find the next?