AMUSING myself in front of the Old Bath, (the hotel which I had chosen
for my residence), and occasionally contemplating the beautiful scenery
within view; I was particularly struck with a pile of building below.
On descending to satisfy my curiosity, I passed the Saloon, or Circulating
Library, which was then crowded with elegant company, and arrived
at the object that had engaged my attention; which proved to be the
MUSEUM, a place of attraction, forming the general rendezvous of Matlock
: here I was agreeably surprised to meet with many of my acquaintance,
of whose arrival I was not as yet aware, and who expressed the same
feeling toward me on our mutual recognition. Perhaps one of the greatest
charms attending an excursion to these frequented places of resort,
is the fortuitous reunion, the accidental meeting of friends, who
had supposed each other at a great distance, and separated for a considerable
length of time*.
THE MUSEUM is under the patronage of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire,
and enjoys also that of the
[footnote on page 12]
*I suggested to the Proprietor of the Museum to keep a Book of Arrivals.
Duke of Rutland and was honoured by visits from the Duke of York when
that lamented prince was in Derbyshire.
IT was here that I found the most curious and interesting productions
of the country, in specimens of the spar* manufactured into vases
of exquisite form and design copied from the Antique; also models
of Egyptian obelisks and columns engraved in a superior manner,
with great accuracy, from the originals on black marble of the
THE Proprietor imports a great variety of fine alabaster, in vases,,
&c, from Florence; also marble statues from various parts
of Italy, which greatly contribute to enhance the attractions of
this establishment. The Vases
[footnote on page 13]
*I feel gratified in being able to add to this brief description,
the following notice from a little work written by Mr. Moore: "
" occupies the centre of tile Parade; the room is spacious, and
" mission is free. The amethystine fluor spar, and tile marble
" ments are very beautiful; minerals, shells, and other articles
" tural history, are also kept here, which render it an agreeable
" very interesting lounge."
The Italian alabaster is beautifully white, and does not change
of black marble, the Obelisks, Sarcophagi, Cenotaphs, &c. are
closely copied from the originals, and are far superior in workmanship
to any now made in Italy.
IN the heat of the day; or in rainy weather, I found the Museum
to be the centre of general resort. It was here; while on a visit
to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, that I was introduced to the
illustrious personage who is now Emperor of Russia, also to the
Archdukes John and Louis of Austria, who were delighted with this
well stored and interesting depository. While noticing this place,
I consider it a duty to say more of it than, as a mere lounger
I otherwise should, in consideration of the great civility and
general information I received from the attendants.
THE Mineralogical Establishment consists of a fine collection
of minerals, particularly those of the county; also a complete
series of geological specimens; both of which classes of substances
are in such request, that few .persons visit Matlock who do not
avail themselves of the opportunity of taking from this place a
portion of its varied stores.
I HAVE often thought that Matlock would be a most
convenient and eligible resort for the study of mineralogy and
practical mining; I was also much gratified to find that during
a short visit here, the Proprietor devoted one hour every morning
in making experiments on the minerals, exhibiting the forms of
their crystallization, and giving information on the geology of
To enjoy the walks about Matlock, requires some vigorous exertion,
there being so many hills to climb, mines to visit, and caverns
to explore. The country is viewed to the greatest advantage from
the heights, whence the extent of prospect may be truly called
sublime, the valley forming a panoramic scene at once enchanting
'THE visitors of Matlock, who make any considerable stay, usually
form parties and visit the undermentioned places:
The Devonshire Cavern, and Botanic Garden.
The Fluor Cavern; and Dungeon Rocks.
The Cumberland Cavern.
The Rutland Cavern.
The Petrifying Wells.
THE Mine belonging to the Proprietor of the Museum is not more
than two hundred yards distant, and is entered from the turnpike
road: being particularly easy of access, no hill to mount, it is
much visited. It exhibits a vein of lead ore, the manner of working
which is pointed out by the guide, if the miners should happen
to be absent.
THE Grotto across the river, which is a mine at the foot of the
High Tor, is the most interesting of all the caverns, the roof
and sides being lined with spar.
THERE are two Petrifying Wells, in which, if birds' nests, twigs,
baskets, or bones, be placed for the space of two years, they will
become encrusted with a calcareous deposit, or, according to the
term used at Matlock, petrified.
Rationale.-The water filtering through a stratum of tuffa,
drops from the roof and sides, and, losing a part of its carbonic
air, precipitates earthy particles upon the substance on which it
OF the wonders here enumerated, we shall first notice the Devonshire
Cavern, which was discovered about four years ago, and so named in
honour of the Duke. It is visited by every curious resident; and
on comparison with the others, is greatly preferred, being a natural
cavern, and of very great extent, and presenting an infinite
number of "water-icicles, " (a most appropriate
local term), some of which line the sides, and others are pendant
from the roof.
ANOTHER reason for this preference is, that when visitors have
reached the farther end, and begin to think on the unwelcome task
of retracing their steps, they are surprised and gratified to perceive
that daylight waits their farther advance; and, on attaining a
considerable elevation, they find themselves in the open atmosphere,
near the airy summit of one of the highest mountains in the vicinity
of Matlock*. The delight inspired by this
[footnote on page 17]
* A nobleman visited this cavern, attended by his physician, who pro-
[see bottom of page 18]
sudden transition from subterranean darkness to the light of the mountain's
brow, might have called forth from such a bard as Lord Byron one of
those impassioned bursts of poetry with which his Childe Harold hails
the dawn of morning on the Alps.
FROM this eminence are various footpaths leading to picturesque
and romantic views. The guide will conduct you to the mining village
of Bonsall or to Cromford; or, descending by the contrary road,
and passing by the old Nestor mine, now called the Rutland Cavern,
will lead you through a succession of beautiful scenery, to the
margin of the Derwent, at the base of the High Tor.
THE mountains of this interesting range are limestone, and considered
to be of the first floetz formation. They arc full of marine exuviæ,
and exhibit every appearance of marine deposit. The limestone stratum
alternates with a substance here called Toad-stone. The neighbouring
scenery, for a mile each way, may be called
[footnote on page 18 - continued from previous
nounced it to be the most healthful, from its free circulation of
air; those caverns which have only one opening being subject to noxious
unique, and affords one of the finest walks that can be imagined after
the heat of the day.
THE rapid stream of the Derwent is here diverted from its channel
to turn a wheel, which, in connexion with other machinery, is employed
to pump the water from a mine four hundred yards distant, to which
there is a subterraneous passage, gallery, sough, or level.
CONTINUING along the riverside, fresh scenery occurs; and, after
proceeding a short distance, the spectator discerns the humble
cottage of PHBE;
a little farther from which is seen a beautiful modern villa, adorned
with great taste, and appearing more remarkable by the force of
RETURNING to Matlock Bath, we find, near the Museum, a good inn
called the HOTEL, at which a coach from Manchester stops every
morning at ten; and another from Manchester to Derby and Nottingham
calls at noon, daily. Various vehicles go and return from Matlock
to Derby three or four times a-week, and at some seasons more frequently.
Letters from London to Matlock arrive on the day after being
sent, at three in the
afternoon; but letters to London from Matlock, do not arrive
at the Metropolis until the second day after being expedited.
WE shall now proceed to enumerate the