The town is set west of Derbyshire Dales even though it is considered a central England town according to geography. The Northern Ways, the Government paper, suggested in 2005 that the Sheffield City Region that was just formed be included in Matlock which would cause the regional and county councils to be redesigned but so far this has not happened.
Until the mill and hydrotherapy industries were set up on Bentley Brook and the river was just an unimportant collection of towns. Then in 1698 there were thermal springs located there. The population had a major increase in the 1800s because of the large hydros were built. In 1853 John Smedley built the largest one and it closed in the 1950s when it was turned into the home of the Derbyshire County Council. The Derbyshire Dales District Council and Matlock Town council are also located in Matlock.
Matlock Cable Tramway was built in 1893 by Bank Road. It went form Crown Square up to Matlock Bridge and then to Wellington Street. It stopped halfway at Smedly Street where John Smedely's hydro, Smedely hydro, was located. The tram got its inspiration form San Francisco's cable cars with the £20,000 design being done by Job Smith. At the time of its construction it had the world's steepest gradient of 1 in 5½ and it climbed 300 feet. It cost a tuppence to go up and a penny to go down. In 1927 the tram was shut down because it could not compete with buses and cars.
In Crown Square tram shelter has been moved to Hall Leys Park which is a big Victorian park set on the River Dewent that was opened in 1898. There is a miniature railway, boating pond, bandstand and the oldest operations powered boats in Britain located in the park. There are also tennis courts and a war memorial.
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