This view of High Tor dates around 1904; the suspension bridge over
the River Derwent, shown with a female standing on it and facing
the camera, had only been opened in the late Spring of the
An account of High Tor, roughly contemporary with this
picture, talks of the "narrow defile, through which the road
passes to Matlock Bridge, and where the river, here foaming and
plunging, enters the dale [it] washes the base of the very rock itself".
The first 200 feet of the limestone Tor are described as being clothed
in brushwood, with the upper portion of the rock face totally bare. "The
effect upon the spectator, when viewed from the road at the bottom
of the dale, is to impress him with the grandeur and magnificence
of the sight, and to inspire him with awe at the stupendous majesty
of the cliff".
The cameraman was standing by the river's edge to take this picture,
with the roadway a few feet above, but the effect is the same. Yet
High Tor is "only" 600 feet high, whereas the Masson hillside
on the right rises to more than 1100 feet above sea level.
Nevertheless, this doesn't diminish the magnificent views of High
Tor from Matlock Dale (though today some of the views are hidden by
the tree cover).
If the 1903 spectator had ascended High Tor and looked down into
the valley, all the houses in the valley below would have seemed
to be tiny, just as they do today. Also commented on was the surging
sound that could be heard - "not unlike the surging of the sea
upon the beach - which is caused by the river as it rushes over its
The "rugged bed" refers to the remains of a weir and beside
where the suspension bridge was built there had been a water wheel
site. Colin Goodwyn says that this wheel drove telpher rods to work
a pump which was near Dale House and was used to unwater Seven Rakes.
The sump must have been on Dick Eye. It is said to have been capable
of being raised and lowered, and the masonry suggests as much, yet
it is not at all clear how it would be possible to drive the rodding
from it while making provision for lifting it. A curious aspect of
the wheel is that it was against a specially-built gritstone block
wall behind which is a neat square area cut out of the limestone.
It isn't paved and there seems to be nothing in the area except soil
"The High Tor, Matlock Dale". Published by JWS, No.2270. Trichromatic
P.C. by J. Welch & Sons, Portsmouth. Posted on 25 Apr 1905 at
Matlock Bridge. The sender was staying at Retiro House, Matlock Bank
and the card was sent to an address in Clapham.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Heywood, Abel (1903) "Abel
Heywood's Guide Books, With Cycling, Walking and Driving
Routes. Matlock Illustrated.
 Heights above sea level checked on The Ordnance Survey
Map published in 1951. The top of High Tor is circled by the
600 foot contour line whereas there are two high points on
Masson; above Masson Farm the highest point is 1068 whereas
a little further away the summit of Masson is shown as being
1111 feet above sea level.
 From research undertaken by Colin
Goodwyn, with grateful thanks.