Matlock

& Matlock Bath

 

 

 

 

 

Matlock now the County Town of Derbyshire, was once an unimportant village on the outskirts of the Peak District, lying on the River Derwent at the western edge of Derbyshire.

 

In a glacier cut gorge to the south of Matlock village, a warm spring was discovered in 1698 which was to be the start of the development of a spa which came to be called Matlock Bath.

 

A Bath House was soon built and, as the waters became more famous, more than twenty hydros were opened.

 

Access was improved by the building of the bridge into Old Matlock, the opening of the road to the south, and the subsequent building of a railway in 1840 which gave access from major towns. Trains do still run between Matlock and Derby, and steam trains run on a preserved section between Matlock and Rowsley.

 

Recommended for its natural beauty and soothing waters, many people visited or settled in the area, and it was given royal seal of approval by the future queen Victoria's visit in 1831.

 

In 1893 a cable tramway which ran until 1927, inspired by San Francisco's,  and the steepest in the world at that time, was built up Bank Road from the main square.

 

The original tram shelter from Crown Square now stands in Hall Leys Park next to the River Derwent. Opened in 1898 it is still a very impressive family park, maintaining much of its Victorian heritage but with a host of modern inclusions: a miniature railway, bandstand, boating pond, tennis courts, and skateboard park. The park now plays host to an arts festival and Victorian Christmas Weekend.

 

Matlock Bath, often referred to as "a seaside town without the sea" has a petrifying well, and hosts the "Venetian Nights" with illuminations along the river and illuminated boats. Now a designated conservation area, it lies very much at the bottom of a gorge. The Heights of Abraham to the west contains a tourist park and a former mine which is open to the public. This is accessible by cable cars which run across the gorge and river from the base of High Tor.

 

Cut into High Tor, a sheer cliff face which is very popular with climbers and walkers, are many lead mines. The Shiploades mine 1767, is named after the sheep crossing place used before a bridge was built, and first recorded in 1417 as a river crossing. The Ladygate Mine 1780 was the only Derbyshire lead mine using a steam driven pump to prevent flooding, known as a fire engine, hence the name of the first steam driven fire fighting appliances.

 

As the mines went deeper and flooding became a problem soughs had to be dug to release the water, until the advent of water wheel powered pumps prior to the advent of steam engines. Mining finally came to an end in the 1950s.

 

Mining has been predominant in the area since Roman times, and two mines are recorded in the domesday book, but mining and smelting was at its height in the area between the 17th and 18th centuries.

 

During the industrial revolution the River Derwent attracted many cotton and paper mills, as can be seen from the weirs and water wheel stations in the area.

 

Britain Tour

 

 

Matlock Bath

 

Hall Leys Park

 

The Entrance to Ladygate Mine

 

The Cable Car to the Heights of Abraham

 

The River Derwent

 

The Petrifying Well

 

The Victorian Bath

 

The Tavern at Tansley

Basic accommodation, but good grub!