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View over High Tor, Matlock, to Black Rocks, Cromford
c 1910's-20's ?
Matlock Bridge - A6
About this image
Showing the section of road between Matlock and Matlock Bath. Matlock Bath lies in a steep sided valley. It is bounded by the River Derwent to the east, with the limestone crags of High Tor and Wild Cat Tor, later just known as Cat Tor, rising almost vertically from the river's edge in places. Matlock Bath has been described as 'the Switzerland of England'. Matlock Bath was originally part of the parish of Matlock until 1843 and the history of the two places is intertwined. In early times there were few inhabitants in what we now know as Matlock Bath because it was almost inaccessible. The village did not develop much until a road was cut through the rocks at Scarthin Nick at the south end of Matlock Bath and the bridle path from Matlock Bridge was widened. The first development of any major importance followed the discovery of the medicinal springs. Lysons stated that the spring waters were first used for medicinal purposes at the end of the 17th century, and the bath (wooden lined with lead) was made in 1698. The village was an extremely fashionable and prosperous spa in the nineteenth century, and was visited by the then Princess (later Queen) Victoria on 22 Oct 1832, when she was a guest of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House. The Heights of Abraham is the name given to the east shoulder of Masson Hill over the gorge as it is supposed to resemble heights scaled by General Wolfe and his men in capture of Quebec. The Heights of Abraham are now a tourist centre strategically placed at the top of a spur on one of the bends in the River Derwent, high above Matlock Bath and opposite High Tor. The hilltop is crowned by the Victoria Tower which offers excellent views of the River Derwent below and the countryside around. There is a cable car up to the Heights, starting from just upstream of the railway station. The Heights feature two caverns which are open to the public-Rutland Cavern and Great Masson Cavern. (Information from Cressbrook Peak District Information Web Site and the Matlock and Matlock Bath Genealogy and Local History Web Site)