The Matlock Bath Illuminations have a long established history dating back to 1897 – first held to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. 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. Initially the decorated boats were lit by candles, however they are now lit by electricity.
In 2011 the 114th Illuminations are centred on Derwent Gardens, the boats were displayed to those on both sides of the river, a fun fair was set up in the gardens and for four Saturdays during the season a firework display takes place from the cliff top in the east side of the river.
This year’s candlelit boat was a model of the Space Shuttle, commerating the last flight of the shuttle earlier in the year.
My favourite, and fourth prize winner, was L. Bound Funeral Services from the Matlock branch of the St John Ambulance.
Midway through the evening, the firework display took place.