For my Big Birthday last year our friends Gaynor and Tim gave me a gift voucher for afternoon tea for two.
There were dozens of places to choose from to take the afternoon tea but one stood out from the crowd. It's local and I have known it all my life.
The New Bath Hotel at Matlock Bath.
It was built in the late eighteenth century and the exterior is little changed.
The hotel pool, known as the Matlock Bath Lido, is where I learned to swim. My school took coaches of children to the pool each week for swimming lessons in the unheated outdoor pool. Brrrr......!!
As soon as I was old enough to work I got a job at the New Bath Hotel, working weekends and school holidays. My very first job at the age of fifteen was to sell entrance tickets and ice creams from this kiosk to visitors who came to swim in the hotel's pool.
Many years later I became a regular user of the pool as a member of the local sub aqua club. Matlock is about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK but the depth of the pool and its cold water were ideal for training in diving skills wearing a wetsuit.
Overlooking the pool was a building called the "new wing". It was built in the 1960's to provide more bedrooms, each one with its own bathroom which, in those days, was a very new idea!
The back of the original part of the building shows how the earlier rooms were arranged. Bars, restaurant and lounges on the ground floor, bedrooms and separate bathrooms on the two upper floors.
The job I did most often at the hotel was as a chambermaid. I loved it.
One of my tasks was to serve "early morning tea" to the guests who wanted an early start. It was my job to get them all to the rooms on this floor, the first floor, between 6.30 and 8 am.
Early morning teas done, I would then begin the work of the chambermaid.
This corridor had more bedrooms in the 1960's and just two bathrooms!
The room at the end of the corridor was where I had an encounter with the hotel ghost. The corridor is much brighter and lighter now.
I wonder if the ghost is still there!
The hotel closed and remained empty and unloved for a few years but has been given a new lease of life by new owners. It's stylish and comfortable now.
The tea was lovely. No crusts!
A huge thank you to Gaynor and Tim for my birthday present and for the afternoon spent in a place where I have so many happy memories.
What a lovely post and lovely memories.Nick looks like he enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
We both enjoyed it, the food was lovely and the prosecco very nice too!Delete
Tea looked lovely and it sounds like you had a true nostalgia trip but when, I wonder, will you do a blog post about that encounter in the room at the end of the corridor? You have me intrigued.ReplyDelete
See my comment below! There isn't a huge story to it!Delete
How delightful. I do love those 3 tier stands with the different components of the tea arranged so prettilyReplyDelete
How [deleted expletive] wonderful.... I echo Susan's comment.... given all your unnecessary woes 'cause Brexschitt... a lovely break from it all [even if only for a few hours!]ReplyDelete
Looks a delightful treat. Do write about the ghost!ReplyDelete
OK! Although there isn't a lot to it!Delete
One glorious summer's day I had started work in room 22 and suddenly felt there was something very wrong, as if something awful was about to happen.
The room was flooded with sunshine, the window open, so not spooky at all, but I was cold and shaking.
I didn't hear or see anything, or even feel as if there was someone else in the room. I just felt I couldn't move and panicked.
I picked up the phone and called reception. The receptionist said "stay on the line" and moments later she and a porter were at the door and escorted me out.
I sat in the little pantry that the maids used to make the morning teas and one of the others said that this had happened before, to another chambermaid.
After that I worked only in the new rooms in the hotel. Nobody ever talked about it, before or afterwards, except that I once heard the tale of the hotel manager's dog, who was found barking furiously in the corridor one day and never entered it again, even though he was allowed to roam anywhere he liked (which may or may not be true!).
Tea! I miss gathering like this. Someday I hope to have a proper tea like this one.ReplyDelete
I was glad to hear you had a good one.
You would love it! Real tea, no rubbish!Delete