The Apothecary Shop on North Parade in Matlock Bath was built in 1835, the first owner was Thomas Asbury, who lived above the shop and supplied medication to people from Nottingham to Manchester that came to “take the waters” to improve their health.
This shop would have been a thriving business in a prime position. What we know about Thomas Asbury was that he left the shop in the 1860s and went on to open one of the country’s first electric laundries.
The business was then purchased by Alfred Newton who had the window changed in 1902 to the shopfront that you now see. We know he manufactured his own cold cream as well as his own branded medicines made on the premises.
Alfred lived above the shop with his family for most of his life and was a reputable member of the community. He served on the local Parish Council and attended St John’s Church.
We also know that he supported the school at the rear of both the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the shop (in the 1850s; the school room was arrived at through a shared passage in between the Apothecary and the Church).
Matlock Bath first held illuminations in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Alfred Newton served on the committee that made this event possible. This first event was illuminated with Chinese Lanterns and a Torch Lit procession followed by a procession of illuminated boats on the river. Matlock Bath still repeat this annual event with illuminated boats – we are proud to own the building that was once the home of such a pioneer establishing customs that have lasted for over 100 years.
Today, the Apothecary is restored back to its original glory with many original fixture and fittings.
The shop is owned by Clive & Cath Swindells who have lovingly restored it and filled the shelves with beautiful nostalgic products.
We hope Alfred Newton would be proud of us!