Two early twentieth century cards of the cavern on the Heights
of Jacob, one of the exterior and the other of the cavern
itself. In 1903 Benjamin Bryan wrote:
"There are other caverns now exhibited which
have opened out much more recently. One of these is situate
by the side of the road from Matlock Bath Station to Upper
Wood, on a site known as the "Heights of Jacob".
From hence a wide spreading prospect is available over
the Pavilion grounds, which are immediately below the spectator's
feet, and extending to the rocks beyond the river and northwards
to the High Tor, with a large part of the Bath visible
as it lies in the hollow below. The features of the cavern
include spacious cavities or openings, grottoes, spar archways,
a "rising gallery", and veins of lead ore and
barytes. Mr. Jacob Raynes is the lessee".
Some of the familiar views of Matlock Bath featured on postcards
over the years were taken from the vantage point of the Heights
The name, Heights of Jacob, didn't appear
on maps until around 1900 when Jacob Raynes had been the
cavern proprietor in Matlock Bath for just over thirty years,
but the Heights of Jacob were undoubtedly named after him.
It cannot be co-incidental. Although he didn't advertise
until 1895, Mr. Raynes had been in Matlock Bath since before
the cavern was described in 1866 when Mr. Pearson was there.
The Heights of Jacob, as opposed to the cavern, were mentioned
in newspaper reports in the mid 1880s when several large
groups visited Matlock Bath.
Jacob Raynes died at the end of 1904 and was followed by
George Adam Craig.
photos date from the time Thomas Meredith Henshall, who also
a photographer, was running the cavern.
The signboard propped against the stone advertises the "FLUOR
SPAR CAVERN, HEIGHTS OF JACOB", and lower down it mentions
the Fluor Spar Grotto.
Behind where the lady is seated is a box with nine holes in it.
Any ideas about what the box was used for would be gratefully
received - please email
the web mistress. Thoughts have included a
box that people stuck their heads through for a novelty
photograph, but the holes don't look big enough.
Below is the interior, lit by candles. The fluor spar and
lead ore would have glittered in the candle light. The man
on the right could be Mr. Henshall.
When "Jacob's Cavern" was offered for sale by
Bagshaw's of Ashbourne and Derby in 1923, it was described
as a show place for trippers" and somewhere that "the
owner would simply have to sit listening to the clicking
of the turnstile to gain a good living". At the time
Thomas Henshall was paying a rent of £6 and the Royal
Hotel also paid a guinea a year for the privilege of using
a road over it. Despite £180 being offered, the property
was not sold.