Bath: Mr. Buxton's Royal Museum & the Great Petrifying
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Shown here is Matlock Bath's South Parade at the very beginning
of the Edwardian era. The buildings on the left are little
changed and the large oval sign for Hodgkinson's Hotel is
almost right in the middle!
On the far right are buildings that disappeared when the road
was widened - the shop called Royal Museum and the Great Petrifying
Well. When describing the Buxton family of Matlock Bath my
late father wrote that "the first recollection I had of
them was when they were living at what they styled as "The
Royal Museum". It was a novelty jewellery and ornament
vending shop with the emphasis on Blue John, petrified objects
and the like. ... The original "Royal Museum was, of course,
on the other side of the road. ... When the Buxton family vacated
the Spa shop they went to live in a house they had built above
The Great Petrifying Well was one of several Petrifying Wells
that had existed in Matlock Bath over the years. Shelves displaying
petrified objects are clearly visible on the external wall. "Few
visitors care to journey homewards without a nest, and egg,
a stick, or some other object coated in stone, to remind them
when the holiday is over of the dales and heights of lovely
The larger of the two signs by the doorway tells us that this
was "The Largest & Principal Petrifying Well in Matlock".
Whilst the G. W. Wilson & Co. photograph from Ward Lock's
1903 guide, below, is less clear, it shows slightly more of
the front of the Well building.
A coloured version of the black and white
Ward Lock picture, published by a local trader,
John Moseley White, who had a fancy repository for a time on
1. Top postcard, "Matlock Bath, South Promenade and Heights of
Abraham". Publisher not known, but no.20803. Another card was
posted in 1905. In the collection of and provided by and © Ken
Smith. Image scanned for this website by and © Ann Andrews.
Added February 2010.
2. Middle photograph, by G. W. Wilson & Co. Ltd., Aberdeen,
Lock & Co's "Guide to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.",
Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4).
In the collection of, provided by and scan © Ann Andrews.
3. Bottom postcard "At Matlock Bath". The Derwent Series,
Published by J M White, Derwent Arcade, Matlock Bath. Posted
1909. © Susan
Information researched and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
|References - coloured
links go to on-site transcripts or information:
 Herbert Buxton appears in all the
Matlock Bath census returns between 1841 and 1901.
 Reminiscences of the late Mr. Frank
Clay, from his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress.
 There is more about Petrifying
Wells, Petrification and Petrifactioners elsewhere on this
web site. See:
 Ward Lock Guide.
 See Kelly's