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Matlock Dale: High Tor Guest House, From High Tor Bridge
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A romantic picture of the High Tor Guest House, beautifully framed by the ironwork of the High Tor Suspension Bridge spanning the river Derwent. The bridge was built in 1903[1], and opened by the local M.P. Mr. Victor Cavendish on 23rd May the same year. A Guide book said that "a little to the north of the High Tor Weir a Footbridge gives direct access to the Dale by a zigzag walk to the High Tor grounds"[2].

However, the thought that you might be required to pay to enter and enjoy the grounds didn't please a rather critical J. B. Firth. He wrote that "suspension bridges span the river, but you must pay to pass through the turnstiles, and big boards descant on the beauties of the walks up to the Tor and the price of admission"[3]. If you look at the far end of the bridge you can see one of the signboards that Firth described and they are also shown on the previous image.

The swing bridge fell into disrepair and what was left of it was removed in the 1970s at the same time as the weir that served the Matlock Dale colour works.

On the back of the original photo is the name of George H Farnsworth, Redland Villa, Industrial Road who must have been a member of Matlock Photo Club. It was entitled 'White Gables' and from the notes on the back appears to have been exhibited somewhere; 'Class A No.42 Pictorial. Section 175 20/1' and 'United Photographic Folios of Great Britain - J H Hale Esq, --- Newbury, Berks'. It is also marked 'To be returned to Mr Grant etc' who had it printed as a postcard. The Goodwyn's also sold the postcard at the hotel[4].


Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Image scanned for this website and information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Year from Goodwyn, Colin (1998) "The History of Tor Cottage Matlock Dale", a privately published limited edition. The "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 10 Jan 1903 reported that plans for the steel suspension bridge had been passed at a meeting of the shareholders of Matlock and High Tor Recreation Ground Company Ltd. on the 6th January. The meeting was held at the office of Robert Hall, the Company Secretary, and the plans for the bridge had been prepared by W. Jaffrey with the total cost expected to be between £300 and £400.

[2] Ward Lock & Co's "Guide to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4).

[3] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.

[4] The original photograph is now owned by Colin Goodwyn, who has kindly supplied the information.