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Matlock Dale: High Tor Grounds Entrance, about 1903
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In 1903 the local M.P., Mr Victor C. W. Cavendish, agreed to open the newly constructed suspension bridge over the Derwent in Matlock Dale and the walk up to the High Tor grounds. The bridge had been designed by Mr. W. Jaffrey and the building work had cost £315 in total[1].

On 23rd May Mr. Cavendish arrived at Matlock Bath station from London and was met by Mr. Henry Cavendish and Colonel Brooke Taylor. The three men drove through Matlock Dale in a carriage to the bridge entrance, where they were greeted by a large crowd which included the Arkwrights, the Marsden-Smedleys, several local vicars, businessmen and councillors. In his introduction Mr. Frederick Charles Arkwright explained that the bridge had been built because the directors of the High Tor Company had been concerned that their grounds were less accessible to the public than they would like because they were not on the main road. Whilst they wanted a new entrance to be as close to their grounds as possible, they also wanted their bridge to fit into the surroundings and had tried hard not to mar the view of Artists' Corner[1].

Mr. Cavendish was then presented with a handsome solid silver key on which was inscribed: "Presented to Victor C. W. Cavendish, Esq., M.P., by the directors of the Matlock and High Tor Recreation Grounds Company, on the occasion of his opening the High Tor Suspension Bridge, 23rd May, 1903." After officially opening the gate Mr. Cavendish then crossed over the bridge, followed by the assembled crowd. They ascended the zigzag walk to the summit where, having been welcomed by Job Smith, the chairman of the directors, and admired the view down into Matlock Bath and the Dale, Mr. Cavendish declared the walk open as the High Tor Serpentine Walk[1].

This event was followed by lunch at the New Bath Hotel before everyone walked up to the new Matlock Bath Golf Club for the second opening ceremony of the day[1] and Mr. Cavendish declared the links open[2].

This postcard shows the bridge not long after it was opened, and before the pavement was built. It was opposite Tor Cottage (later the High Tor Guest House), though was taken down in the 1970s.

The large sign reads:
TO THE
HIGH TOR GROUNDS
FERN & ROMAN CAVES
A BEAUTIFUL WALK OVER THE SUMMIT TO MATLOCK BATH
MILES OF MOORLAND. OPEN WALKS
TEAS REFRESHMENTS
Parties Catered for
ADMISSION 3D EACH

The sign on the gate is harder to read:
HIGH TOR
ADMISSION
---- [Arrow] YES
3D EACH


Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith. The "National" Series, M & L Ltd. (Printed in Britain) G & L.
Researched and written by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 30 May 1903.
[2] The links had been unofficially opened just over a week before ("Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 14 May 1903).