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Matlock Bath: The Royal Museum Petrifying Well
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The Royal Museum

Venetian Nights,
the decorated boats

Nineteenth century stereo
(Great Petrifying Well)

View from Cat Tor 1892

A few yards further down the road from the Great Petrifying Well was another petrifaction premises. The Royal Museum Petrifying Well was and run by the Smith family of Matlock Bath[1]. They also had a Spar and Marble Works and a shop opposite the well, which sold items made from Blue John and other local stone. The admission charge to their Petrifying Well was, for quite a while, 'One Penny'. A 1941 trade directory advertisement read: SMITH WILLIAM, specialist worker in Blue John & spar ; sole proprietor of the famous petrifying wells, Royal Museum, South parade[2]. Below is a 1930s advertisement for Smith's Royal Museum and the Petrifying Well.

The petrifying wells were swept away when the road was widened, something that had been discussed as early as 1931 but didn't actually happen until the 1960s[3].

Advert for Smith
1930's advertisement

1968 advertisement. The Petrifying Wells were now run by Arthur Smith.
This was to be one of the last advertisements.

You may like to view more onsite information:
Gem of the Peak (1840) - read the section on "What to do in 1840" as there is more information about petrifying wells (scroll down).
Bemroses' Guide to Matlock ... , about 1869, p.16
Also see the transcript of Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak". Chapter 14 provides an interesting description of the petrification process (paras 5, 6 and 7)
Matlock Bath's Main Attractions
Royal Visitors

1. "The Royal Museum Petrifying Well, Matlock Bath". H. Coates, Wisbech, Nene Series, Not posted but brief description written in pencil on back, dated August 6th 1951.
2. Advertisement for Smith's Royal Museum from "The Matlocks, Derbyshire. Official Guide" Issued by the Come to Derbyshire Association, published 1930s.
3. 1968 advertisement from the Illuminations & Venetian Nights programme for that year.
All images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Research provided by and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] The first Trades Directory entry found for a member of the Smith family advertising as a spar and marble worker is in Kelly's Directory of 1864 (Smith Samuel, spar and marble worker).

[2] Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1941.

[3] Derby Daily Telegraph, 8 December 1931: "the scheme, which includes the demolition of the famous petrifying wells, for which new sites are to be arranged".