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The Colour Wworks below High Tor

1. Matlock Dale, the River Derwent and the Colour Works, September 2008.
The Butterley Company's footbridge to the former Colour Works spans the river[1].

2. The second photograph of the former colour works buildings has been included mostly because it shows the grassed area on the left hand side of the picture. This was where Tordale Soft Drinks Ltd, begun by the Whittaker family and owned by them for most of the company was trading, had their bottling plant. Where the trees are just beyond the grass is where there was a landslip in the 1960s that destroyed two houses and resulted in two further properties being demolished[2].

The tunnel entrance  
3. The entrance to the High Tor tunnel, taken from one of the gondolas going up to the Heights of Abraham, September 2008. The tunnel passed close to the High Tor Grotto and nineteenth century visitors to the attraction were able to hear the trains[3]. One of the major obstacles for the engineers when the railway was extended northwards from Ambergate was the section between Willersley and Matlock as the route only briefly emerges from tunnels. In 1847 George Stephenson announced that the main tunnel at Matlock was "the key to the district"[4]. There don't appear to have been any fatalities whilst the High Tor tunnel was being constructed but there were some extremely narrow escapes. In August 1847, for example, Barnard Barton and Luke Hall were both caught out when they thought a touch paper they had lit had failed to ignite. As they went to check, there was a large blast. Just two days later Peter Smedley had to jump over a burning fuse that he didn't know had been ignited[5].

View more about the station by clicking on the images below:


19C stereoview1

19C stereoview2


Tunnel, 19C
About 1906



Station House
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High Tor
and the Colour Works

The Dale from Long Tor

Whittaker's Bottling Plant, Dale Road

Mrs. Mary Whittaker, Aërated Water Manufacturer

Midland Railway Distances

Images supplied by and copyright © Andy Andrews.
Information written, researched, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Also see High Tor and the Colour Works for more on both the works and earlier bridges crossing the Derwent at this point. Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak", 1868 mentions the colour works - the "barytes mill".

[2] There is a photographic record of this in Julie Bunting's "Matlock and Matlock Bath", (2002) Tempus Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0-7524-2455-6

[3] Bemroses' Guide to Matlock, about 1869 mentions the tunnel passing close to the Grotto and there is a vingette engraving of the tunnel at that time. It is also mentioned in Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak" of 1868 and Bradbury's "All About Derbyshire".

[4] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, September 1, 1847. Geo Stephenson's report to the shareholders of the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway Company. He also said that "this part of the line expected to open in the spring of 1849".

[5] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, August 18, 1847.