Baslow Hydro (Grand Hotel) was built in 1881 had 120 bedrooms, a ballroom and massage rooms. It was eventually demolished in 1939.
Baslow Hydro was set of meticulously landscaped grounds in twelve acres on a raised plateau at the foot of Yeld Wood, where it dominated the right side of Tithebarn Lane, later renamed Eaton Hill. Present day Hydro Close was in the grounds. Unlike the mineral rich waters at Matlock and Buxton, the Baslow springs were peaty and organic.
Mr. Henry Pawson, a prominent Sheffield businessman founded the Eagle Tor Hydropathic Establishment with the assistance of the Duke of Rutland and Architect S. L. Swann. A sum of £20,000 was raised by selling 2000 shares in the new venture at £10 each.
On July 21, 1880, the foundation stone was laid by Edward Tozer, Chief Magistrate and Mayor of Sheffield in an elaborate ceremony attended by the Master Cutler, Alderman D. Ward, Chairman of the Directors, Mr. R.WM. Nesfield, the Duke’s agent, and a crowd of locals. It took approximately one year to construct.
On the ground floor were verandas on both sides of an impressive porch, privileged guests would find a large dining room at one end of the long corridor and a drawing room of similar dimensions at the other. Behind private sitting-rooms to the rear were two matching glass-roofed wings, each 58 feet long by thirty feet wide: one a ballroom, the other dedicated to billiards.
Higher floors contained accommodation for 150 people, separate stairways leading to Ladies’ and Gentlemens’ washrooms : the latter furnished with a large plunge-bath.
A basement contained the manager’s room, a kitchen, scullery, and servant quarters.
Outside, there was a fountain, waterfall, croquet lawn, bowling-green, small pond, boating-lake around an island, orchard – and a one and a half acre vegetable garden. Alternatively, guests had use of a nine-hole golf course, summerhouses and two double tennis-courts: tennis then being at the height of its popularity. The golf course was a 9 hole course laid out in the hotel’s grounds, Club membership was 35. Visitors to the hotel paid 1/-a day and 5/- a week, others paid 1/6 a day, 7/6 a week
The Hydro owed its fame and fortune to an Edwardian-Victorian preoccupation with “healing” waters, spas and hydropathic treatments. Indeed, Smedley’s Hydro in nearby Matlock was one of the largest and best appointed in the whole of England – and the town of Matlock, at one time, hosted more than twenty other hydros.
Baslow’s Hydro remained profitable right up until the outbreak of World War 1, although it was not able to offer the fullest range of cures for gout, colic, apoplexy, dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion and melancholia, because it lacked all the German, Russian or Turkish baths. A further twenty bedrooms were added, in a long wooden annexe, during the 1890s.
In 1899, Baslow Grand Hotel and Hydro’s application for a full drinks’ licence was rejected on the grounds that the village already had six licensed beerhouses. Thus residents could only drink wine and beer in the hotel or visit one of the local pubs if spirits were required.
After many profitable years the business went into decline. As travel became easier and more civilised the way was open to visit many other Hydros at home and abroad.
Added to that the Depression reduced the number of potential customers.
Baslow Hydro closed in 1930 leaving just Miss Gill the spindly caretaker.
Despite many rumours about a potential London buyer it was eventually sold for demolition with fixtures and fitting being auctioned off.
Contents of rooms were sold off with bedroom suites being sold for a pound, richly-upholstered armchairs for fifteen shillings; along with carpets, brass fireplaces and marble wash-stands.
Mr. White of Darley Dale paid £3000 for demolition rights. Demolition was completed in 1936.
A few remnants of Baslow Hydro still exist. There is a pair of gate-posts at the end of a bungalow drive on the crest of Eaton Hill. The fountain of Fountain House is also a relic of the Hotel and Moor Edge Bed and Breakfast Guest House is built from recovered stone. both are located in the former Hydro grounds at Hydro Close.
Old postcards show its grandeur.