Bath: Upper Tower, Heights of Abraham
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
This is an early twentieth century sepia postcard of the Upper
Tower in the grounds of the Heights of Abraham high up on the
hillside above Matlock Bath. The architecture is Late Georgian
Gothic and the house was built around 1830 by Mr. Gilbert
. When the Heights, along with the Upper and Lower Towers,
was auctioned in 1838 the house was described as being built in
the Castellated Style and as "suitable for a small family".
It was to be sold with the Rutland Cavern. The Upper Tower was
auctioned again in 1863, together with "Guilderoy",
by the Devisee in Trust under the Will of Thomas Wakley, Esq..
Only a few families have lived in the property, although this
is not easy to work out from either the census returns or from
various trade directories. The address "The Tower" was
often published but usually referred to The Lower Tower further
down the hillside and which was built before the Upper Tower. Helen
Florence Pechell was born at the "Tower House" in 1856.
One of the sons of William and Maria Aldham was born at the Upper
Tower in 1857;
the family later moved to Tor Cottage. Henrietta Bryan, widow of
Benjamin, lived at the Upper Tower and
later on the Sprinthalls and
their close relatives the Aspeys made
it their home for about 50 and 35 years respectively whilst they
ran the Heights of Abraham.
Describing what visitors would find after walking up to the Heights
from Matlock Bath in 1840, William Adam wrote "The third turn
[of the Zigzag path] leads directly onto the Cavern Terrace by
the Upper tower, where seats are provided for the party to rest
and enjoy a view which includes the whole of the noble
scenery of Matlock"
The message on the back of this postcard describes the building
as being "half way down the hill between Tower [Victoria
Prospect Tower] and Matlock Bath. Here are tea rooms & specimens
The image below is of the Upper Tower Tea Rooms and a group of
four are clearly enjoying refreshments outside after the long
walk up the hill whilst admiring the view across the valley. They
are clearly Edwardians, so the picture would have been taken about
1905-10. It might possibly have been taken a few years later, into
George V's reign but before the Great War, since fashions remained
fairly steady. The
sign says: TEAS AND REFRESHMENTS AT MODERATE PRICES, SPECIAL QUOTATIONS
FOR LARGE OR ... [PRIVATE PARTIES]. There is young, dark haired,
lady sitting on the terrace in front of what looks like a small
wooden green house; she would have been one of the Miss Sprinthalls.
1. Top postcard "Upper Tower. Heights of Abraham" published
by Photochrom Co. Ltd., Royal Tunbridge Wells. No.44537. All British
Production. Not posted. In the collection of, provided by and © Ann
2. Bottom postcard "Matlock Bath: Upper Tower Tea Gardens" also
published by Photochrom Co. Ltd., London and Detroit, USA and also
numbered 44537. Printed in England. Not posted. In the collection
of, provided by and © Ray Ash (Added Nov 2012)
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
|References (coloured links go to transcripts or information elsewhere
on this web site):
 Adam, William (1840) "The
Gem of the Peak", London; Longman & Co., Paternoster
Row - see onsite transcript
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday, June 13, 1838
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday, April 22, 1863
 Her father was Alfred Henry Pechell,
B.A., a Barrister at Law whose father owned Guilderoy and the Heights.
Her birth certificate states her birthplace was the Tower House.
Her father was listed at the Upper Tower in Kelly's
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday, May 20, 1857 and 1861 census
 Kelly, E.R. M.A. (ed.) (1864) "The
Post Office Directory of the Counties of Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire,
Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutlandshire", Kelly
and Co., London - see onsite transcript
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire"
pub. London, (1908) - see onsite
 Peter Aspey lived at the Heights of
Abraham as a boy and has written about his life there. See Living
at the Heights.
 From Ray Ash.
 The Sprinthalls were shown living
at the Upper Tower in the
1891 census | the
1901 census. They were first there in 1882 when Samuel
Sprinthall advertised "the Heights of Abraham Pleasure Grounds,
the Rutland Cavern and the Victoria Prospect Tower" ("Derbyshire
Courier", 15 July 1882 - one of several that year).