Bath: Lovers Walks, about 1901
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
James Pilkington's "A View of the Present State of
Derbyshire" was published in 1789.
He made frequent excursions to the places he described in the
book and consulted the likes of Peter Nightingale of Lea and
Dr. Darwin of Derby for expert advice on mineralogy and information
about the Matlock and Buxton waters. When he visited Matlock
Bath Pilkington wrote of crossing the River Derwent by boat,
which would have been approximately where the boat can be seen
in the middle of the river in the above photograph.
"Matlock dale will be seen with still additional
advantage by crossing the river in a boat above the old
Bath. It is observable here, that art has contributed to
improve the natural beauty of the place. On landing three
walks are seen pointing thro' the wood in so many different
directions. Two of them, by various and frequent windings
along the side of the dale, at last brings you to its summit
; and from the edge of a very high and steep precipice
you have a new and different view of all the beautiful
scenes, thro' which you have passed. The other path which
I have mentioned, is called the Lover's Walk, and runs
along the side of the river. It has been cut thro' the
wood, and is beautifully arched by the branches of the
trees, with which it is enclosed".
This late autumn or perhaps early spring view shows the
addition of the church, the ferry and the Derwent Gardens
to the river's west bank since Pilkington's day. The ferry
was the south ferry (sometimes called the central ferry), which
the Local Council confirmed would be opened on Sundays, commencing
at Easter 1901. They also recommended the main path on the
Lovers' Walk and Jubilee Grounds should be repaired at cost
estimated at £35.
Almost in line with the ferry, on the river bank path, are
a group of men and women walking southwards towards Willersley
Castle. Willersley was, of course, not built at the time
Pilkington was writing. Amongst the branches we can see the
limestone escarpment of Cat Tor. Pilkington must have been
describing Cat Tor when he wrote that "On
the left [sic] hand high and prodigious ledges of bare and
large rocks appear" as
he wrote of entering Matlock Bath from Cromford.
Enlargement showing the ferry boat and rope, plus the boat
house behind it.
1 and 2. Postcard of "Lovers' Walks, Matlock Bath". No publisher.
Posted 29 Apr 1902 at Wirksworth. The card has an undivided
Both images © Ann Andrews collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Pilkington, James (1789) "A
View of the Present State of Derbyshire; with an Account of
its most Remarkable Antiquities ... in two volumes. Volume
I". Derby : Printed and sold by J. Drewry; Sold also
by J. Johnson, No.72, St. Paul's Churchyard ; And J. Deighton,
 "Derbyshire Times",
16 March 1901. Matlock Bath and the Coming Season.