|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
"The Via Gellia [runs] ... along the beautiful ravine
opening out on the west of the road between Bonsall and Cromford.
... The coppice on the north side of the stream through which
the Via Gellia runs is known as Bonsall Wood ; that
on the other side is Middleton Wood".
Here are five postcards of the Via Gellia. The top photograph
shows Bonsall Wood on the left and Middleton Wood on the
right, with the main road from Cromford in the valley bottom
and the road to the village of Middleton by Wirksworth climbing
up the hillside.
The photographs for the other cards were all taken from
the Middleton road, looking downhill towards the split, but
four way, road junction at Rider
Point. Five roads or tracks used to meet at this junction
and it is known as Five Lanes End. The main road from Cromford
to Grange Mill and Newhaven continues to follow the valley
bottom, disappearing off round the corner behind the hillside
of Hopton Wood. To the right of the curve in the road is
Ible Wood. The road to Hopton goes off to the left and the
one to Middleton comes towards the camera, passing Middleton
Wood. This junction and most of the roads were constructed
very early in the nineteenth century; only the section down
to Cromford existed before then. In 1803 "The
Derby Mercury" published
a notice of an application "to the next session of Parliament
to repair, widen, alter and amend the road leading from Cromford
to Hopton", to make a new road to Newhaven House and
another new road up to Wirksworth. The road was to pass through
several parishes i.e. Wirksworth, Matlock, Bonsall, Brassington,
Bradbourne and Hartington.
The sender of the second card had been on a works outing
to the Via Gellia from Sheffield and the group had been
driven there in large charabancs.
The sender had "paid
into" it, so it was presumably he belonged to a
scheme whereby the workers could pay for such trips by
instalments. What looks like a rocky outcrop on the left
seems, on closer inspection, to have been a tip or spoil
heap. On Middleton Moor, not far from Rider Point, are
hillocks from old lead mines.
Henry Moore described the Via Gellia in one of the excursions
he took from Matlock Bath in 1818. He mentioned the spoil
"The road [from Cromford] now follows the
winding of the dale, by the side of a rivulet, on which
are a succession of mills and small cascades. Rocks and
declivities with a fine mantle of foliage, and hills that
are sometimes streaked with the rubbish that is thrown
from the mines, which falls down their steep sides to the
road : these are the picturesque materials of Bonsall and
the Via Gellia".
The third and fourth pictures were taken some years
later, probably in the 1930s, following the demolition of
all the Rider Point buildings (Ryder Point today). The road
had been widened and the trees are a little fuller. It is
almost impossible to tell where the house and its outbuildings
Although it is difficult to read, the registration number
of the car in the penultimate image is believed to have been
The final postcard was probably taken in the late 1940s. There
is a larger version available in the
"Just" images section.
Davies, David Peter (1811) "History of Derbyshire" pub.
S. Mason, Belper which describes what was then the new
road through the Via Gellia and notes what was found
when it was built.
Read the transcript
elsewhere on this web site (look under Hopton)
1. Top postcard "Via Gellia, Derbyshire". No publisher
details provided. No.6320. Unposted. In the collection of provided
by and © Pauline
2. Second postcard "Rider Point, Via Gellia, Matlock
Series No. 21586 and first published in 1894. Posted 13 Aug
--- at Sheffield. Although this card has a George V stamp,
one with a very similar number was registered by Valentine & Sons
Ltd., Dundee in 1892 (this colour image replaces one from a
Ward Lock Guide, which was black and white).
3. Third postcard "Rider Point, Via Gellia, Nr. Matlock".
A. W. Gessey, Bank Road and Dale Road, Matlock, Sepia Gravure
Series, British Manufacture Throughout. Not posted. Another
card was posted in 1937.
4. Fourth postcard "Rider Point, Via Gellia, Nr. Matlock".
R. Sneath, Paradise St., Sheffield - The Peak Perfection Series
No.1510. 16 Mar 193-. Personal message, not relevant to image.
Images 2-4 in the collection of, provided by © Ann
5. Bottom postcard "Via Gellia", Photochrom No. 7925. © Emily Gaughan collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this
 Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock,
Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated
Guide Books of England and Wales (1926-7)
 "The Derby Mercury",
8 September, 1803 - notice of application.
 See: Visitors to Matlock Bath
- Travelling by Motor Charabanc
 Willis, Lynn and Parker, Harry (1999) "Images
Of England: Peak District Mining and Quarrying", pub.
Tempus Publishing Limited, Gloucester ISBN 0-7524-1710-X.
 "Picturesque Excursions From
Derby to Matlock Bath, and its Vicinity ; Being a Descriptive
Guide to the Most Interesting Scenery and Curiosities in that
Romantic District, With Observations Thereon", by Henry
Moore (1818), published by H. Moore, Drawing Master; Printed
by T. Wilkinson, Ridgefield, Manchester. This quote from Excursion
to Bonsal, Via Gellia, Middleton, Wirksworth and Cromford Moor
(from Matlock Bath) pp.102-103.