Bath: The Heights of Abraham, Great Rutland Cavern, 1912
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Three people are standing close to the entrance to the Great
Rutland Cavern on the Heights of Abraham; all are connected to
the business in some way. The male has been thought by some to
be Samuel Sprinthall, who leased the Heights from his sister's
family, but the gentleman is not Mr. Sprinthall.
This is a photograph
of Frank Taylor who lived at East Lodge
on Masson Road and was a cavern guide at this time. He would stand
outside the Rutland Cavern to count the number of candles
going in and re-count them on the way out. No candle, so no admission
to the cavern.
It was a very simple but effective way of ensuring everyone had
paid admission and that nobody was lost when their particular group
left the cavern. We have another clue to the man's identity in
the message on the back of the card which is written in pencil,
some of which is unfortunately covered by the postmark:
"I have wandered so far; that's the advantage of having relatives
scattered about. Left Leicester on Tuesday morning, stopped in
Notts to dinner and a bit of gossip then came on here motor powered
by a 3/n --- Triumph 26 miles in 1.20 on a 7 1 g--- and she did
hurt, my cousin wanted to put a side car on but I would not disgrace
myself. Shall see you 7.30 at Allbrama. No use sending one ---
as I haven't a permanent one.
[Written upside down:]
One of my uncles is standing by the cave."
The identity of the well dressed
young woman in white is not known but the slightly older woman
in the shop doorway on the right is believed by some to be one
of the family. Was she Annie Louisa Sprinthall, who was aged 45
in 1911 or Emily Jane Sprinthall who was 48? Both were approximately
the right age.
Ann if you know who the older woman was.
"Matlock Bath: Great Rutland Cavern, Heights of Abraham". Published
by the Photochrom Co. Ld., London and Detroit, U.S.A. Printed in
Sent to Mr P[hil]. H. Wright of Tunstal Road, Brixton. Written and
Posted at Matlock Bath 10 July 1912.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
Notes (coloured links
go to on site transcripts):
 One of Samuel Sprinthall's descendants,
Peter Aspey, told the web mistress some years ago that it was not
him and suggested he was more likely to have been one of the cavern
 The candles story is from the recollections
of the late Mr. Frank Clay, who helped out at the Rutland Cavern
as a small boy, selling the admission candles. It is from private
papers and notes owned by Mrs. Doreen Buxton, some of which were
written in 1992 and are still within copyright. Mr. Clay also identified
 References to the Taylors include: 1891
census | 1901
census. The card's message refers to stopping off in Nottinghamshire
and various census returns shows that Mrs Taylor, whose maiden name
was probably Wootton, was born in New Basford. There is an MI for
the Taylors and one of their sons at Holy Trinity Church - see
 References to the Sprinthalls
include: 1891 census | 1901
census | Kelly's 1891 Directory,
Matlock Bath | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's
1899 Directory | Kelly's
1908 Directory | Kelly's
1916 Directory. There are three MIs for the family at Matlock
Bath church | MI-1 | MI-2 | MI-3 |