Home

Fact file

Excerpts

Contents

Pictures

About the Author

Book Reviews

Website Links

Buy the Book

Contact us

 

© Peter Lomas 2007

 Excerpts from book

“On the night of March 1849 as the Reverend James Shore Minister of Bridgetown Chapel Totnes finished preaching his sermon for the evening service at the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel at Spa Fields London and descended the pulpit he was arrested by two officers of the Court of Arches in near riotous conditions. They pushed through the shocked and protesting onlookers to arrest and transport him to Exeter jail"

 “Into this world (of hydropathy) Shore found himself as a patient in 1862 where he received great benefit and relief from the treatment. So much so that he moved up to Matlock permanently with his wife, first assisting Smedley and then running his own Hydro at Matlock House until about 1865."

 “They rode along the pleasant breezy uplands of the London Road indulging in an occasional halt and arrived at the higher ground near the well-known Duke of York Inn shortly after 12. It was here, when that they were quietly walking their horses, which were not "blown" or tired when the party was separated in groups, and Mr Shore with his grandson was riding about 15 or 20 yards in front, that his horse was seen to trip or stumble, and Mr Shore thrown over its head, falling on his left temple on the hard road."

 “The best part of the Hydro "treatment" is, after all, the congenial society. So well known is the society of these establishments for its congeniality, that the congeniality actually forms a line "in the bills", and is especially advertised; and when you write for a prospectus you will be sure to find the "congenial society" well to the fore among the attractions. The society is very varied, but it is all congenial. There is the young lady from 30 to 40, who is a great feature at the Hydro. She may be skittish, or she may be demure; she may be sentimental to the verge of tears or smart to the borderline of agnosticism; but in all cases she is congenial."

 “27th February 1874. Asked Miss Tucker if she would like to go and see the Queen (Victoria). She said she would like to do so very much, so we both went off together. We got there about half-past 4 o'clock, got a very good front place. There were about 80 people to see her come in. She came in about half-past 5 o'clock, but she looked most extremely cross, of course she had John Brown there. Their railway carriage was a beauty. I saw J Llan there, shook hands with him, came home. Grandmama was a good deal better that day."

 "1st August 1876. We started to go to the farm at half-past 12 o'clock. The name of the farm is Wetstone. When we got there we had the horse taken out and started back at a quarter to 2 o'clock, getting to Fairfield at half-past 3 o'clock where I met Harry Hunter and walked down with him. Then I went to the court room to see some pictures there were to sell, but I did not care for them. After tea went to the rink where Lawson of the Old Hall Hotel fell down and sprained his ankle and broke a small bone in his leg. It was the first time he had been on and he had been on over an hour."

 " The Hydro is dead. Long live the Spa. Why a hotel changed its name. "Hydros are invalids' homes" said Mr HRP Lomas. "The number of invalids we get here is small in proportion to the number of healthy visitors. Women nowadays are out playing games and trying to imitate men; they have no time to be ill." Mr Lomas is the managing director of the biggest hotel in Buxton, which had its name changed from Buxton Hydro Hotel to Spa Hotel on New Year’s Day. He was replying to a high Peak News reporter who asked him the reason for the change."

 "Spicy gossip. In thinking of those odorous basements of the Buxton Hydro, I wonder where the army of scullions, many of them foreigners, are today? I particularly think of that little band who cleaned and polished the boots and shoes of the guests. Oh, their spicy gossip! Of the 400 or more guests they knew everyone. In the early hours 400 pairs of boots and shoes would come down to them in large hampers, upon the soles of every pair was chalked the number of the bedroom from which they had come, and during the process of cleaning and polishing the stories they tossed to and fro about many of the owners were remarkable. They were a veritable school for scandal."

 " The monarch who ruled over all this was a rather lonely and slender figure - the great HRP Lomas - keen and pedantic, but strictly just. He built the place up from a small boarding house, "The Malvern". Dear old hotels and Hydros of Buxton town; their story was both gay and tragic, and what a fine muster they made during the golden days of the Devonshire 's before the world began to wobble."

 " A bedroom  lampshade swings silently in the gentle breeze which floats in through a gaping, glassless window 50 ft above the ground, smoke blackened plaster glimpsed through the stone window frames testifies to recent fires; huge heaps of ripped out floorboards where elegant feet once trod now litter the ground, interspersed with fragments of wrought iron railing. Broken glass lies everywhere. The Spa Hotel, at one time a gracious, well up-holstered and tastefully appointed playground for the well-to-do meets a long and painful death, and somehow one wonders if Buxton will ever be the same again."