On the main road running through Matlock
Bath were two toll bars, one
at the southern end of the village and
this one at the northern end below High Tor at Artists' Corner.
You can see the open gate which, when closed, would prevent
vehicles or people from passing through without paying a
fee to reach their destination. Several nineteenth century
guide books describe the scene at the time.
"Gem of the Peak", for example, talks of "Fox's
lodging house beside the toll bar".
The toll house in the Dale replaced the toll house at Holt
The task of toll keeper or collector wasn't always undertaken
by men. In 1841 Elizabeth Knowles was the
toll bar keeper here and thirty years later the job was being
carried out by another woman, Mary Greatorex of Common Wood.
In between then Mr. and Mrs. Phillips collected the fee at
"Matlock Bridge Gate".
They were followed by the Dunns.
The open space on the opposite side of the road is a car
park these days, but in the mid twentieth century it was
more of a park. Visitors would buy trays of tea from Wilson's
shop and carry them across to the park where they would sit
and enjoy the view. Life was full of simple pleasures!
In some respects the scene has changed very little over
the last one hundred plus years. Incidentally, the shadow
cast by the coach house belonging to Tor
Cottage is visible on the house on the far left.