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"The Gem of the Peak", 1840*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
Matlock Bath in 1840

Willersley, 1802
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The author of "The Gem of the Peak" was William Adam, a Mineralogist, who was the proprietor of Adam & Co., formerly Mawe's Royal Museum at Matlock Bath. His book was published in several editions and described as being a guide of 'a very superior order'
(Metropolitan, Oct 1840)
The extracts here are from the second edition of the guide

On this page are the following extracts:

Some sections have been transcribed in their entirety, whilst others are presented in note form.
Direct quotations in the note only sections are enclosed in single quotation marks ' '
There is some additional information plus quotations from other sources.
Where this information is within the main text it is enclosed in square brackets [ ]


[This section has been transcribed In full]



"To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold ;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean,
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unroll'd."

The primitive and modern state of the Dale contrasted ...

[This section has been transcribed in full]



IN commencing a work professing to be a description of Matlock Bath, it seems most consistent that we should begin by attempting to describe the primitive state of that lovely Dale in which it is situated, and to the romantic beauties of which it owes its fame.

About a century and a half ago, what is now termed Matlock Bath had no existence-not a human habitation was to be found in the whole extent of its rugged Dale; except, perhaps, a solitary miner's cot, or mining coe, scarcely attracting notice from its grey colour and rude construction, so naturally harmonizing and blending with the stupendous cliffs on the shelving sides of which they were placed. Then the lovely Derwent, like a silver thread, wound its solitary way amongst its lofty peaks; here lashing their base and rolling in foam over their broken fragments; and there, where the Dale expanded, hushed into a gentle murmur as it glided over lts smooth and pebbly bed, unknown and unheeded, save by the shepherd when in quest of his flock that browsed in its recesses, descending the Dale and mingling his shrill whistle with the roar of its waters, or by the untaught peasant from the neighbouring villages and hamlets, who, instead of being reminded by " the church going bell" ; of his duty to his Maker, strayed and whiled away many an idle hour on holy Sabbath-day to no good purpose; or by the hardy and fearless miner, who threaded his way over its solitary paths, to his accustomed labour in the dark recesses of the mines which abounded, and were worked from time immemorial, in its immediate neighbourhood.

A visit to Matlock Dale at this period, when its solitude was seldom broken in upon, or its silence disturbed, except by its native choristers, the hoarse roar of its waters, or the dashing of its insignificant but lovely waterfalls, as they leaped in succession over the rough and broken ledges of the tufa margin into its stream, must have been truly imposing amongst such sublime and beautiful scenery. Here on the one hand we have the stupendous mural precipices, with their castellated peaks, richly mantled with evergreens, giving grace and beauty to their bold forms, their sloping bases clothed with brushwood and stunted trees, and on the other, bold ridges with steep sides, which, in some places, exhibit immense ribs of rock descending rapidly from about midway from the top to the river's edge, ranged in succession like a series of mighty buttresses, as if to give support and stability to the whole mass, and confining the river to a narrow compass within " these marble jaws," over which it breaks in fury, but escaping these it assumes the glassy smoothness of a still lake, bordered here and there with flat patches of the richest verdure, affording a sweet resting point to the stranger, who, perchance, might venture amidst its wilds to contemplate its peerless beauties. It is precisely this state of things which now gives to Dovedale, with far less attractions, a decided superiority, and by which it produces a more profound sensation in the breast of the beholder-that is the absence of all human effort to change its native character, or generally to intrude his dwelling amongst its solitudes. It was this, doubtless, which induced that hapless but noble and gifted poet, Byron, to prefer it. He who loved solitude at times so much as to lead him to remark,

" I love not man the less hut nature more ;"

and which led to the following beautiful stanza in his " Childe Harold," which we quote at length, as being peculiarly appropriate to the primitive state of the Dale :-

" There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture in the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea and music in its roar ;
I love not man the less but nature more
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."

Present state of the Dale

[This section has been transcribed in full]

How altered now from its primitive state of rural grandeur and artless simplicity, A spirit of change has passed over the scene, The tide of civilization (as it is called) has broken in amongst its rocks and hills, and subjected this, like most other places, to great and sweeping alterations, which has not, however, altogether extinguished its match-less beauties, Its High Tor stands as bleak, as lofty, and as prominent as ever, with perhaps the additional grace of a more ample and woody mantle, and this last feature has attained, to a wild and magnificent profusion on the less bold but more extended series of rocks opposite to the Bath -only in this way, (except it may be a few lovely walks) has this spirit affected the bold and rugged aspect of the past on one side of the Dale: but on the other we have fine gardens, cultivated fields, spacious hotels, and baths, splendid shops, lodging houses, and cottages, scattered here and there, over almost all the lower and middle spaces-and studded one above another as if on a series of beautiful terraces, which, contrasted with the bold and mantled features of the opposite side, is most enchanting and overpowering to a stranger, when suddenly brought through its rugged portal at " Scarthin Nick," and threading his way on the top of one of our fast coaches through the narrow defile, new beauties and more magnificent scenery unfolding every moment to his view, until he emerges into the more elevated parts; and has a splendid view of the principal portion of Matlock Bath brought fully before him, deeply embosomed in the valley and situated at the base, and on the lower part of the steep and almost perpendicular acclivities of one of its boldest ridges. This ridge rises rapidly at an angle of from 35 to 45 degrees to the height of 800 feet, clothed to the top with the pine, fir, and glossy beech, and extending right across the Dale, blocking up apparently all further egress in this quarter except by scaling it, no very pleasant idea to the weary traveller. When dark clouds hang over its summit, or the weather is misty, and lowering; it assumes still more gigantic dimensions, its dark crown-pined top then, so blending with them, appears more like the dark impending masses which rollover it, and so great is the deception at times that many have been mistaken respecting it. This is seen to the greatest advantage on arriving opposite Walker's Hotel on the decline of the hill into the lower part of the Dale.* Added to all these striking changes which has altered its original condition, Matlock can now boast of one of the best roads in the kingdom, which renders it of easy access from all parts; and this is much facilitated by several coaches, besides the mail, passing through it daily. And owing to the great beauty of the country through which the entire line passes from Derby to Buxton, it promises to become the chief middle road to the North: for who would not prefer to ride through the lovely scenery of the Peak, when It can be done with equal facility and safety, as on passing over any of the other lines. The entrance from the North is magnificent, which will be noticed in another place. †

[Page Footnotes]
*Masson Cottage, built by the late Mr. Mawe, the upper and lower towers by Mr. Gilbert, and Guild-de-Roy, by Messrs. Pechell and Atkinson, are striking objects from this point; the upper tower is situated on an old mine hillock, near the top of the heights, and is very conspicuous.

†This road enters the Dale at Cromford, where it has been cut through the solid rock 20 feet in depth, it takes the direction of the Dale westward, close by the side of the river, then turns to the north by the chapel, runs in a winding course till it reaches the lower part of Matlock, then it turns due east for a quarter of a mile, resumes its direction north under the noble Tor; then inclining a little to the east emerges from its confined route into the open meadows near the village of Matlock, extending from its point of entrance to its outlet about two miles and a half, and follows the course of the stream throughout.

The south entrance to Matlock Dale

[This section has been transcribed in full]




THE first object, on entering the Dale from Cromford, which arrests the attention on passing the rocky barrier, is the pretty little gate of Willersley Castle, sadly out of place among such scenery, but the eye is instantly relieved from this incongruity by the splendid appearance of the Castle itself, built on a bold eminence at the foot of a rugged but well wooded cliff, with its lovely lawns, and groups of cattle and sheep grazing-the river rippling and swelling over its stony bed, laving their bases. Here the road has been made at great expense on the steep side of the narrow ridge which bounds the left and separates the Dale from Cromford. The view in front is remarkably bold and mountainous: the noble peak of Masson is seen raising its lofty head over the windings of the Dale, which is here narrow, finely curved, and profusely wooded. The road takes a westerly direction, then suddenly turns to the North, disclosing at once the splendid rocks which burst upon the view through an opening up the river, exhibiting a beautiful waterfall, foaming over the "weir" and rough bed below it, also the wild Cat Tor, and Masson Mill.*
Arkwright's cotton mill

At this point we arrive at the house of the Independent Minister, attached to, and connected with Lady Glenorky's Chapel; on passing which, on the rise of the hill to the left, we come upon Mr. Milnes's offices, a group of cottages and the Rutland Arms (lately built), and instantly the Mill comes into view to the right. The clatter of its thousand spindles and the tinkling of its bells, warning the attendant its hank,

[Page Footnotes]
*The View here at night is exceedingly imposing. The spacious mill, with its hundred lights reflecting on the river and thick foliage, mingling the din of its wheels with the noise of the waterfall.

or proper quantity is completed, instantly strike upon the ear. In alluding to this Mill, so magnificently situated, Dr. Darwin, with his usual power and facility, wrote the following lines, which shews what true genius can do.

Invest the most common objects, and some of the meanest occupations, with the mantle of poetry, giving them a beauty and sublimity they do not naturally possess; for instance, let anyone observe the 14th line-

" Combs the wide card, and FORMS THE ETERNAL LINE,"

Here finely contrasting the indefinite extent of the thread that might encircle a world with the mode of its production.

" So now where Derwent guides his dusky flood
Through Vaulted Mountains and a night of wood,
The nymph, Gossypia,* treads the velvet sod
And warms with rosy smiles the wat'ry god ;
His pondrous oars to slender spindles turns,
And pours o'er mossy wheels his foaming urns;
With playful charms her hoary lover wins ,
And wheels his trident-while the monarch spins.
First with nice eye emerging Naiads cul
From leathery pods† the vegetable wool;
With wiry teeth the revolving cards release
The tangled knots and smooth the ravell'd fleece ;
Next moves the iron hand with fingers fine,
Combs the wide card, and FORMS THE ETERNAL LINE ;
Slow with soft lips, the whirling can‡ acquires
The tender skeins, and wraps In rising spires;
With quickening pace successive rollers move,
And these retain, and those extend the rove,
Then fly the spoles the rapid axles glow
While slowly circumvalves the labouring wheel below."

Close by this, and on the same side, is an extensive paper mill belonging to Mr. Symonds, who carries on a considerable trade in that important article-paper of almost every quality being produced in the mill. To the left and immediately opposite to the mill is the residence of CHARLES CLARKE, esq, (a magistrate of the county) built on an elevated platform and commanding a sweet view of the South end of the Dale and Willersley grounds-this is strikingly conspicuous by the massive and lofty wall recently built up from the

[Page Footnotes]
*From the name of the cotton plant, Gossypium.
† Quantities of the pods or pericarps of the raw Cotton, very like leather, of a brown colour and shrivelled, occur in the bales.
‡ " Can."-Tin Cylinders which receive the Cotton from the card and rollers, and which by their circular motion gives it a slight twist as the Cotton falls and coils into them.

road to give greater space and security to the terrace in front of the house.* From this we immediately reach the narrow pass at the Toll-Bar, and the first object which strikes the attention is the Post Office, a large square brick building just in front. Upon the left is the King's Head, Skidmore's shop and some lodging houses, between these and the Post Office at the top of the old road is seen standing conspicuously the New Bath, which if the traveller means to reach he must take this road. It also leads on to the beauteous green as it is called in front of it, and to Walker's Hotel. But on proceeding to any other part of the Bath, the lower road must be taken-a little beyond this on passing The Spar shops and cottages to the right and left, and just opposite to Walker's Hotel, the finest view of the Bath and the Heights of Abraham is obtained, which cannot fail to surprise and delight a stranger, from its magnificence and beauty. The deep ravine, splendid rocks, and river to the right heighten the interest of this view considerably. As we proceed a little further the rough Tufa bank of the Old Bath Terrace, lately much dressed and smoothed off by the busy hand of the gardener, bounds the road on the left; above which the Old Bath Hotel stands, a long building of unequal proportions; from its having been added to successively as the number of visitors yearly increased.‡ The road leading to this, and also to the Temple, takes the higher ground to the left of the rude grit stone obelisk.§ But all the coaches proceed on through the stable yard down to the Museum parade, and stop at Hodgkinson's Hotel, where most of them change horses, and where we

[Page Footnotes]
*This was the residence of the ancient and respectable family of the Wolleys. The present inheritor married the youngest daughter of the late Adam Wolley, Esq. who was a celebrated antiquary, and an eminent Lawyer.-" He bequeathed his valuable manuscripts, chiefly relating to this county, to the British Museum," called the Wolley MSS. The ancient Manor of Riber, or Riber Hall, was originally the property of this family. It is situated on the top of Riber hill, and now converted into two dwellings, or farm houses.
†This point has already been noticed in our remarks on the " Modern State of the Dale," which see.
‡ Between this Hotel and Walker's the New Church is intended to be built.
§ On cutting the Tufa bank to make the present road, the workmen found the head and immense Antlers of a Moose Deer, which were sent to the British Museum; and in building the stables at the New Bath the entire Skeleton of this animal was found.

shall leave the traveller, for the present, to get himself quietly domiciled in some one of the many excellent Hotels or houses in Matlock, and shall proceed to give a sketch of the

The north entrance to Matlock Dale

[This section has been transcribed in full]


" Here Rocks on Rocks, on forests, forests rise,
Spurn the low earth and mingle with the Skies ;-
Great nature, slumbering by fair Derwent's stream,
Conceived these Giant Mountains in a dream."
Peak Mountains, by J. Montgomery.

" THE romantic and sublimely picturesque scenery of Matlock Dale," observes the writer of the Beauties of England and Wales, " is viewed to most advantage when approached from the bridge near its Northern extremity, as its beauties there succeed each other in a gradation which renders their grandeur and effect more impressive." This is certainly true, and we cannot suffer a Second Edition to go to press without attempting to point out some of the interesting objects which meet the eye of the stranger on entering Matlock from this point.

The stranger on leaving Darley Dale and making his way up the narrow dell, and even over Matlock bridge, can have no conception of the romantic and magnificent scenery about to burst upon his sight in a few more minutes. The bold knoll and precipitous rock, on the verge of which stands Matlock Church, may fail to rivet his attention till approaching the Boat House, when the Horse Tor, a lofty angular rock, is disclosed on the left of the road, and between which and the cliff on the right is seen, like " Ossa upon Pelion," the bold and wavy outline of Masson side, towering upwards to the top of the Heights of Abraham crowned with dark pines. From hence every view is of a bolder description till reaching the Toll-Bar, when the High Tor is seen in all his proud majesty. To describe this view would be as difficult as it has been found to sketch it, as every exhibition of the Artist's talent has failed in some one point or other to do it full justice.

The lofty Rock (about 400 feet in height) seems to start up from the bed of the river, here a turbulent stream, dashing over the rude blocks that impede its progress-giving an air of still greater interest to this Monarch of the Dale, which, with the exception of a small intermediate portion, exhibits one unbroken perpendicular face from the top to the bottom. - Here let the reader imagine this lofty Rock with its mighty adjuncts and river on one side of him, and the craggy and waved outline of Masson towering above him on the other, with abundance of wood giving richness to the scene, and he may form some idea of this part of the Dale. But as we have already spoken of this part in our geological remarks, and on the High Tor itself, we shall now simply point out the gentlemen's seats and other objects as they present themselves in succession.

High Tor
Includes a quote from Rhodes written in 1822
Hadfield Cubley's painting of Pic Tor, called Horse Tor by Adam
Toll Bar at Artists' Corner

We may as well observe that the first house we come to on passing the Boat House (a small Inn at the entrance) is Mrs. Brinsley's, the Matlock carrier alternately to Sheffield and Derby, and who has charge of the ferry leading to Matlock village close by. Just beyond this a road leads up the cliff to Rock Ville and Cliff House. The former has been built but a short time by Edward Payne, Esq. and is in the Swiss style, and in excellent keeping with the scenery.-The latter is an old house which may be seen at the top of the Cliff , above and belongs to Miss Leacroft, and is the residence of William Greaves, esq. This commands some magnificent views.† On proceeding into the Dale, we come to, in succession, Mr. Chinnery's Cottages, then Dale Cottage, beautifully situated, the residence of Mrs. Mitchell ; then Fox's Lodging Houses by the Toll-Bar, a good building, and beyond in a bold and singular position darkly shaded with trees is seen Tor Cottage, now the residence of H. Collingwood, esq. This, with Rock Ville, is the property of Edward Payne, esq. and was the first Cottage in this style built in the Dale. Immediately opposite the High Tor is Neal's and Robinson's Lodging Houses. The latter has excellent walks and a good garden connected with it. One more house for Lodgings (Mr. W. Smedley's) we have to name, opposite to which is the Side Mine Hillock, miners coes and engine house, which contains a wheel of 80 horse power. Nothing of the Bath is seen till proceeding further and turning a bold angle where the road runs to the westward, then it comes into view beautifully embosomed at the foot of the Heights amongst the richest foliage. The first Hotel reached coming from the North is Hodgkinson's on the Museum Parade, and beyond, in an elevated position, may be seen the Old Bath Hotel, &c.,

[Footnote at the bottom of Page 32]
*This is particularly the case by, or over, the Side Mine.
†A most interesting walk by this house leads to the wood on the Heights, and from thence into the zigzag and so down into Matlock Bath.

[Extracts from here onwards are in note form]

Where to stay in 1840


Old Bath Hotel - 'apart from the Villa, this is the oldest dwelling house'. On this site the first spring was discovered 'to which circumstance owes its existence. Lord George Byron, the Romantic poet, and Sir Walter Scott, the novelist, both stayed here. Room No. 5 has the name "Walter Scott" , dated 19th September, 1815, written on a pane of glass in the centre window. There were 'two good baths, one for the ladies and another for the gentlemen' and 'also hot and shower baths of any temperature required. Mrs. Cumming has kept and admirably managed this house for many years'.

The New Bath - 'on the extreme 'South end of the Tufa terrace'. Underneath the North wing is 'the hot and tepid Bath, very commodious and convenient for bathers. Mr. Saxton has possessed this house for upwards of fifty years, and from the way in which he has managed it for so long a period, and the character he sustains, together with the unremitting attentions of the younger branches of his family to the wants and comforts of the company, it has obtained a high reputation. … The garden is beautiful'.


The terms of bathing at The Old and New Bath hotels in 1840

Tepid, Swimming , or Plunging Bath, …..1s 0d

Hot ditto….. 2s 6d

Cold Shower ditto….. 1s 0d

Hot shower ditto….. 2s 6d

Hotel's providing good stabling, but not Posting Houses

Temple Hotel ('originally a lodging house or appendage to the Old Bath'): the property and under the management of Mrs. Evans. 'Beautifully situated, being raised on a series of terraces. The upper one is partly of made ground, being built up on one side, and at an elevation above the valley of nearly 100 feet. The view from this, though confined, is exceedingly beautiful. ... It passed out of the hands of the Old Bath proprietors above thirty years ago'.
Named as "The Temple" in Davies' book published in 1811 - scroll down to Matlock Bath.

Walker's Hotel: North end of Saxton's Green. 'Being on the same Green as the New Bath, this House possesses, from its position, views of equal grandeur and beauty ... It is a nice, clean-looking well built house'. Boats on the river also owned by Mr. Walker, so visitors at his hotel were able to use them without charge.

Hodgkinson's Hotel: Museum Parade. 'Here most of the coaches change horses. It originally formed part of the Great Hotel ... It has the advantage of one of the best cellars in the kingdom.'


Cumming's Old Bath Hotel
New Bath Hotel (1)
One of several pictures of the hotel
The Temple Hotel
South Parade & the Pitchings, a drawing, shows Hodgkinson's Hotel
River Derwent & the Devonshire Hotel, 1890 (Devonshire Arms)

'Good and respectable Public - houses'

Mr. J. Standall: the King's Head (nr. The Toll Bar)

Mrs. Smedley: Devonshire Arms, Museum Parade

Annis Hill: Rutland Arms (opposite Masson Mill)

Lodging Houses
(* indicates Boarding Houses)

Museum Parade:

*Mrs. Smith
Mr. Derbyshire**
Mr. William Derbyshire**
Mrs Bown
Mr. Newbold
Mr. J. Smith
Mr. Noel
Road to Heights of Abraham:

Mr. William Pearson
Mr. Britland
Mr. Broadfoot (Villa Field) - stabling and coach house
J. Rawlinson, esq. (Belle Vue)
Peter Smedley (group of cottages)
Mr. Walker (by lodge gates)

Above these:

The Tower (__ Pechell, esq.)
Masson Cottage (S. Mawe, London)
"Guild de Roy" (__ Pechell, esq.)
South End of the Bath:

(NR Saxton's Green)
*Miss Shore (the Post Office)
Mr. Boden
Mr. Skidmore
Mr. Beeston
Temple Walk:

Mr. Joseph Pearson
Mr Ogden
Mr Boden (in wood behind Old Bath)
Under High Tor:

Mr. William Smedley
Mr. Robinson
Mr. Neale
Mr. Fox' (Nr The Toll Bar)

* It is unclear if these two are the same person

What to see and do in 1840

Caverns and Mines in 1840

'The Cumberland Cavern, belonging to Messrs. Peter and John Smedley, is the oldest and most natural, the largest but one in Matlock… Viewed geologically, it is by far the most interesting . ... It has been shewn as a Cavern for about seventy years'
See advertisement for the Cumberland Cavern, about 1869

'Devonshire Cavern.- ... this Cavern, discovered in 1824 ... It is of easy access and dry. This cavern is not so large as the other two, is remarkably distinguished from them by a spacious opening ... when lit … by a Bengal light … it is truly magnificent. …
This Cavern is exhibited to perfection by B. Bryan, the guide, who is perfectly "au fait" in guiding.'

Fluor Cavern 'This is a pretty little Cavern, once shown in connection with the Romantic Rocks for 1s.' [One shilling]
The fine clear cubic fluor spar is worked up into the form of hearts, etc.'. The Mine [the Speedwell] 'is still in work. … Benjamin Froggatt, an intelligent and remarkably civil man, shews this and the Fluor rocks, and is also guide to the scenery.

'The Rutland,* (Mr. Pechell's) is decidedly the largest Cavern in Matlock, presenting the most magnificent openings, and what adds considerably to the interest is, that the whole of these mighty excavations have been effected throughout successive ages by the agency of man…. The natural arches, lofty openings, are not unlike those of cathedrals, when lit, are magnificent. … This cavern is so spacious that it is stated 10,000 men might be hidden away in it. … It is perfectly dry and easy of access. This is situated on the Heights of Abraham up the zigzag'.
*'The old Nestor mine'

The Side Mine, under 'the High Tor, is one of considerable interest. The High Tor grotto close by, exhibits some romantic openings, and the finest crystallizations of calcarious or dog tooth spar in these kingdoms.' This housed pumps and a gigantic wheel, but Adams records: 'This is now out of work and belongs to Mr. Boothman of Manchester. There is no climbing in it. The High Tor Grotto, close by, exhibits some romantic openings'.

'The charge for admittance to all these Caverns and Mines is one shilling each, exclusive of the guide and Blue or Bengal lights; the use of the latter is perfectly optional. Chief guides B. Froggat and B. Bryan; the former will be found on the Old Bath Terrace generally, and the latter on the Museum Parade'.

The following reference relating to the Devonshire Cavern appears in Benjamin Bryan's History of Matlock
"Up to the year 1860, when he died, it was the property of the late Mr. Benjamin Bryan, who exhibited it to visitors and from time to time obtained lead ore from it. At one period, too, he sought to relieve the dreary monotony of the Matlock Bath winter season by representations therein of the incantation scene from Shakespeare's tragedy of "Macbeth," an enterprise that was attended with success."
*Peter Aspey describes the Great Rutland Cavern (The Nestus Mine or Nestor Mine) and the Great Masson Cavern, from his own experience of living at the Heights of Abraham.

(Click image)
Peter lived at the Heights of Abraham as a boy and the Rutland Cavern is within the grounds.

(Click image)
Great Rutland Cavern, Old Oak Tree and Roman Staircase
The Cumberland, the oldest cavern
The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock a major collection of pre 1828 documents, mentions the caverns and mines

Museums and Museum Shops in 1840

'Mawe's Old Museum, now Adam & Co was housed in a room that had been the dining room of the Great Hotel 'and purchased for its present purpose about 29 years since by Mr. Brown and Son, of Derby, whose first establishment was the small shop on the Green, opened in 1810, (now the Bazaar)' ...
[Mawe and his father in law, Brown, were the proprietors of a shop in London]

The Centre Museum (Mr Vallance). Museum only 9 years old in 1840, but Mr. Vallance had been 'in the business for many years'; he had been Mawe's agent. His workshops were opposite his museum.

Mr. Buxton's Royal Museum - 'a spar shop for 11 or 12 years'


'...but it should be observed, that this museum contains the largest Blue John Vase in the world for which £100 has been offered and refused; a splendid pair of black marble handled Vases, engraved after the Borghesi and Medicean (2 ½ feet high, by 1 foot 8 over;)

'... The workshops were to 'the North of the Bath, up the hill by the Hotel, in the stable yard'. Mawe was entitled to use the term Royal as he had supplied the Royal family.

Other shops

Mr Joseph Pearson - two shops: one on the road side near the obelisk and the other on Temple Walk

Mr Peter Smedley - on Temple Walk -'the oldest worker and member in the spar-trade.'

Mr John Smedley - on the Green - 'manufactures his own goods, has been in the trade since childhood'.

Mr Boden's - 'by the Post office'

Mr Walker's -'over the ferry by the boats'.

The Bazaar. 'Up on the Green by Walker's Hotel, belongs to Mr. Hartle, manufacturer of combs'.

There was also a Royal Museum Library which contained about 1,000 books and 'took in' various papers and periodicals.

Petrifying Wells in 1840

'These are standing illustrations of the mode in which the vast Tufa Terrace, in which they are situated, has been formed in times past, when man disturbed not the natural operations of the hot Springs which were once free and unrestrained, spreading over the base of the mountain. In these are found articles of all kinds, sent even from a distance to be petrified, and old wigs among the rest. But the parties here chiefly put in birds' nests and eggs, as being of more ready sale, which are simply encrusted by the limestone precipitates from the water as it rapidly evaporates, and to see this in actual operation forms a strong inducement to parties to visit them.'

The Royal Well (Mr. Joseph Pearson) was visited by the then Princess (later Queen) Victoria on 22 Oct 1832. 'On the roadside, just under the way leading to the Old Bath'.

Mr Peter Smedley's - 'under his spar shops … a piece of cable of a man of war (the Victory) is now being petrified'.

Mr Boden's - 'by the Post office, near Saxton's Green, where the head and antlers still are on the deer killed at Chatsworth, on the arrival of princess Victoria.'


Articles are "petrified" when they are changed into a stone or stone substance. The original material is replaced by a calcareous or other mineral deposit. The first use of the word is given in the Oxford English Dictionary as 1646. The water that percolates through the tufa dissolves minerals from the rock which are re-deposited when the water drips onto whatever object is placed beneath it. This is a lengthy process, in some cases taking several years.

Adam noted that these articles 'must be shifted every now and then to prevent them sticking to each other, or to the bottom'. Moss, leaves and even branches of trees have all been 'petrified' over the years.

See The Great Petrifying Well
Petrifying Well, nineteenth century Stereoview
See FAQ for more about this


Fountain Gardens - property of Mrs. Gilbert (to the North of the Bath).

The zigzag route to the Heights of Abraham passed through the gardens.


Lover's Walk - across the River Derwent by boat (boats have been owned by Mr. Walker and his father for eighty years). Charge 6d [six pence] each for walk and sail.

Masson and the Heights of Abraham - often a charge of 6d [six pence] was asked for at the Lodge-gate to proceed to the Heights (1s [one shilling] for the whole year). The walk is free if one shilling has been paid to visit the Cavern. 'The summit of the Heights of Abraham (or Masson Low) commands most interesting views over a vast extent of country; the eye ranges over a great portion of five counties'.

High Tor - The Tor is 396 feet high. The top of the Cross on St. Paul's Cathedral, London in 360. 'The bare, perpendicular face is about 150 feet'.

The Romantic Rocks - "Ten minutes from the Old Bath Terrace"

General Notices

Post Office, below Saxton's hotel. Postmistress, Miss Brace.

Coaches. To the North, morning. To the South, afternoon.

Flies or Open Carriages, with

One horse per. Mile, 1s …. per Hour, 3s 6d

To Church, Cromford 3s 6d ___ Ditto Matlock 5s.

Parties keeping these are,
Mrs. Cumming, Old Bath __
Mr. Saxton, New Bath
(Posting houses) _ Mr. Wood, Mr. J. Smith, Mr. T. Alsop

Ponies and Donkies, 1s per. Hour

Mr. J. Pearson, J. Smedley, and Hollingsworth.

All these are in constant attention, and may be had at a minute's notice.

Hours of Divine Service Morning Afternoon
Matlock Church, Rev. Mr. Melville ½ past 10 3 o'clock
Cromford Church, Rev. Mr. Jones ¼ to 11 3 o'clock
Bonsall Church, Rev. Mr. Greville ½ past 10 3 o'clock
Independent Chapel, Rev. Mr. Perkins Ditto ½ past 6

Boarding Schools

Miss Saxton's, Matlock Bridge, delightfully situated, and an excellent school.

Miss Hall's, Lower Tower, Matlock Bath, is a commanding and healthful situation.

Miss Hawkridge, Masson Cottage.

Images and further extracts from "The Gem of the Peak"
elsewhere on this web site

Adam's Museum

Hartle's Bazaar

Buxton's Royal Museum

Central Museum, later Royal Museum

Matlock Bath

The Crescent

Haddon Hall

*Extracts from:
"The Gem of the Peak" by W. Adam pub. London; Longman & Co., Paternoster Row MDCCCXL [1840]. 2nd Edition.
Both OCRed and manually transcribed by Ann Andrews from her personal copy.
*Originally published on the internet as ../matlock/matbath_1840.htm with the title "Matlock Bath in 1840"

There may be more information elsewhere on this site:
1841 Census
Arkwright's Cotton Mill
Biography of Charles Clarke of Masson House
Cumberland Cavern
Lead Mining
Water Cures
Wolley Manuscripts
Pigot's Directory, 1842
Matlock Bath : Cat Tor, 1913 Lovely B&W postcard

These following may be of interest
Books and other publications
Images - more book scans

External Links
Tate Gallery London
Water colour painting of the 'Rocks at Matlock' by Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777 - 1842), part of the Tate's Opp Collection