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Via Gellia, Derbyshire
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Rider Point



Tufa cottage - read more about the road


Matlock extracts from Moore's Guide Book





"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"[1].

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[2].


Rider Point, Via Gellia


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[3]. 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[4].

Henry Moore described the Via Gellia in one of the excursions he took from Matlock Bath in 1818. He mentioned the spoil heaps:

"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[5]".

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 had been.



Although it is difficult to read, the registration number of the car in the penultimate image is believed to have been WA5038.



The final postcard was probably taken in the late 1940s. There is a larger version available in the "Just" images section.





Davies' book Also see:
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 Jordan.
2. Second postcard "Rider Point, Via Gellia, Matlock Bath". Valentine's 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 Andrews
5. Bottom postcard "Via Gellia", Photochrom No. 7925. © Emily Gaughan collection.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1926-7)

[2] "The Derby Mercury", 8 September, 1803 - notice of application.
[3] See: Visitors to Matlock Bath - Travelling by Motor Charabanc

[4] Willis, Lynn and Parker, Harry (1999) "Images Of England: Peak District Mining and Quarrying", pub. Tempus Publishing Limited, Gloucester ISBN 0-7524-1710-X.

[5] "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.