The top picture was taken from the top of High Tor on a fine summer's
day, looking down at the bottling plant in the Dale. It is an enlargement
of part of the second image lower down the page and the photo was
probably taken in the 1940s or 1950s. It shows the series of buildings
where the Whittaker family carried out their soft drinks business,
with the three-storey house at the end originally being the family
To the left of it is a small wooden building - the entrance to
the caves that Mrs. Whittaker used to show to the public - and
to the right of the house was a bottle store.
The long building with skylights in the roof was where first the
drays and later the lorries were loaded. There were two sets of
sliding doors so that vehicles could park on the roadside and be
loaded up with "Tordale" pop
or other soft drinks crates. Inside, at the
right hand end, was a wide loading area to cope with four vehicles
at a time. The two bays nearest the road were
in regular use whilst the ones at the rear were mostly used during
the tourist season. The smaller of these rear bays catered solely
for deliveries to the Heights of Abraham; it was impossible for
large vehicles to access the Heights. In line with this, and level
with the outside doors, was a concrete wall where full
crates of lemonade and other drinks were stored prior to loading.
The main bottling and mixing plan was at the far end of the main
building. It was here the ingredients for the lemonade were mixed
together. Washing the bottles, mixing the ingredients, filling
the bottles and injecting the gas was all done in one unit.
Next to the hoardings on the right is the building where the manager
had his office; in the 1950s that role was filled by Mr. Gregory.
The office was upstairs, but below was another, smaller, bottling
plant where both Guinness and Offiler's Ale were decanted from
barrels into bottles. In the gap between the office building and
the main building, under a steel plate, was the spring they used
for water. It was one to two feet below the surface
By the 1970s, when the the works were demolished, the Whittaker
family were no longer involved. Afterwards the area was grassed
over and the only
building to remain today is the house. In the early
1980s an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Tordale Soft Drinks
Company Ltd. was held in London and the Company was finally voluntarily
The whole picture shows us Long Tor, Brunswood Terrace, the Station
Bridge and the Brunswood Road area. Of particular note, though,
are the houses in the bottom right hand corner. These used to be
the first of two sets of Edwardian semi-detached houses next to
the bottling plant. In January 1966 the two houses next door to
the ones shown were buried in a landslip when part of the 80 foot
limestone cliff behind them started to collapse. Luckily the families
who lived there managed to escape with only minutes to spare. "The
Times" showed a picture of a 200 ton boulder that crashed
down the following day into the back garden of one of the houses
that was still standing. All four properties had to be demolished.
The third image was taken by the Doncaster photographer Charles Jamson
(Donlion) and is of somewhat earlier date, possibly from the 1920s
or 1930s. It shows minor differences to the pop works buildings,
which are clearer in the enlarged section of the photograph below.
Whittaker's shop, at the entrance to Long Tor Cavern, had not
been demolished. Secondly, the bottling plant itself was smaller
in size than in the later picture, so had been extended
in the intervening years. Thirdly, there had also been changes
to the roof as the three skylight windows shown in the Donlion
image had been replaced by a single, longer skylight by the time
the later picture was taken.
Enlargement of image 3
1 & 2. Images from "Matlock Bath from High Tor",
Ernest Joyce & Co.
Ltd., Derby, made in U.S.A. Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers,
Inc., Boston. Colour by W. Skipper. Not posted.
The top image replaces an earlier version.
3 & 4. Images from "Matlock, from High Tor, Peak District". Don
Lion Series, Empire View Productions No.25.18. Real Photo by Charles
M. Jamson (Copyright Empire View Productions, Doncaster). Not posted.
All images in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann
Andrews. Intended for personal use only
links are to more information elsewhere on this web site):
 See both the
1891 census and the 1901
 From conversations with Ken Smith.
 "Tordale" is
the brand name the Whittakers used. See Mrs.
Mary Whittaker, Aërated Water Manufacturer for more information.
by David Palmer Pearson that were published in "The High Peak News",
dating 5th and 10th October, 1918 also say that the spring was underneath
the bottling plant.
 See Matlock
Bath Today (4) - second image
 Three notices were posted in "The
London Gazette", the first two on 11 May 1981.
 "The Times", 10
and 11 Jan, 1966. The paper reported on the 11th that the cliff had
moved a further ten feet forward. Seven families had to be re housed.