A public park laid out in 1890 as part of the Whitworth Institute.
The Whitworth Institute, which was surrounded by a new public park, was built in memory of the engineer and industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth, who lived at Stancliffe Hall c 1km to the north of the site. The building and its park were opened in 1890 to provide facilities for the local community. While the park has been retained in the ownership of the Trustees of the Whitworth Institute and remains a public open space, part of the Institute is now (2000) a hotel.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
The Whitworth Institute lies c 3km north-west of the centre of Matlock, at Two Dales where the B5057 crosses the main A6. The park, which occupies an area of c 5.5ha, is bounded by Station Road (B5057) to the south-east, the railway to the south-west, fields to the north-west, and Dale Road North (the A6) to the north-east. The Institute building stands at the eastern corner of the site, with a stone terrace and balustrade along the southern edge overlooking the park which falls gently away to the south-west.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance to the Institute building is from the easternmost corner of the site, where Dale Road North meets Station Road. This entrance leads directly onto the Institute forecourt. There are two further entrances off Station Road which lead into the park. That at the northern end passes a lodge and runs north-west along the base of the Institute terrace, aligned on the avenue with continues to the edge of the park. At the southern end of Station Road an entrance gives access to the lowest section of the park.
The Whitworth Institute (listed grade II) is a two-storey, late C19, local gritstone building, constructed in two large blocks, with mullioned windows, green slate roofs and tall clustered chimneys. It includes an Assembly Hall as part of the facilities offered to the local community.
From the Institute terrace on the south-west front two flights of steps lead down to the level of the park. The cross-walk below the terrace wall extends as a tree-lined avenue c 120m north-westward from the main part of the site. Immediately to the north-west of the building, occupying the northern corner of the site, is a set of tennis courts. Cross paths lined with further avenues of trees provide numerous views and vistas and also serve to divide the park into a series of three main compartments, roughly equal in size. That nearest the Institute building is laid to grass, with a bowling green towards the north-west side and a monument along the south-west path. South-west of this, and beyond the monument is a second open turfed area used as a cricket pitch. The third section was originally devoted to a boating lake, now drained and grassed over but clear in outline and with its central island still in evidence. Off its northern shore is an area of rockwork. The boathouse which stood at roughly the centre of its southern shore has gone. There is also a pond to the west of the lake area; the water originally flowed into the small pond from the boating lake. Beyond the pond in the westernmost corner of the park is an area of open grass used as a football pitch.
A path leads around the perimeter of the main body of the park, being screened from the land beyond by plantings of trees and shrubs. Across the whole park a large number of the original plantings from the carefully devised botanical scheme survive.