MATLOCK BATH ILLUMINATIONS 2011
DERWENT GARDENS MATLOCK BATH
Saturdays and Sundays from 3 September to Saturday 29 October (inclusive)
The parade of Illuminated and decorated boats takes place at 8.00pm every Saturday and Sunday during the season – with a programme of entertainment on or near the bandstand in Derwent Gardens each evening, commencing at 7.00pm.
The Matlock Bath Illuminations have a long established history dating back to 1897 – first held to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was the recollections of an earlier visit to Matlock Bath, by the then Princess Victoria that inspired the Illuminations. She recalled how, when staying in Matlock Bath, she looked out of her hotel window and saw the candle lights were reflected in the River Derwent that flows through the centre of the village. The twinkling lights made a lasting impression on the young Princess.
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the village was illuminated by fairy lamps and Chinese and Japanese lanterns with a torchlight procession through the village - followed by a procession of illuminated boats on the river and the limestone gorge rock face was decorated with coloured bonfires. It must have been a truly remarkable spectacle.
Today, the event still features the decorated and illuminated boats that are produced by the members of the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders Association and rowed by them each Saturday and Sunday evening during the Illuminations season. The Arkwright Cup, donated by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1903, is awarded to the winning design and the Boat Parade continues to feature one ‘candle-lit’ boat – in the traditional Victorian style.