Via Gellia, Matlock Bath, 1903
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
This is such a pretty view of the Via Gellia. Little wonder the visitors
flocked to see the scenery, whether on foot, by bicycle or by
cab. Perhaps the horse drawn vehicle was carrying some visitors
on one of the excursions available from Matlock Bath. The words
of Ebenezer Rhodes, written some eighty years before, really
sum up the scene: "A small clear brook babbled along by
the road side, and the scene was altogether eminently beautiful.
This little dell terminated at Grange Mill".
At this point there was more than a brook. William Adam, writing
a few years after Rhodes, was equally impressed by Via Gellia and
describes this view of the valley. "Up this bold part there
is just sufficient breadth in most places for the road and
narrow channel of the mountain-stream, which, throughout Bonsall-hollow
especially is artificially dammed up to make fine sheets of water,
as preserves for fish. The stream breaking over these has a beautiful
effect, and adorned and mantled on each side by wood and rock,
and the tangled copse and swelling mountain cannot fail
to interest the stranger".
The dams are now dried up and overgrown.
The picture was taken just below Slinter Cottage, which has a pond;
Slinter Rock is on the right and on the left, out of view, is Ball
The Arkwright Society has been actively involved in conservation
work at Slinter.
A local guide book from 1932 describes the Via Gellia:
"The Via Gellia
is the Latinized name of a drive made by the late Mr. Philip Gell,
of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth, along the beautiful ravine opening
out on to the west of the road between Cromford and Bonsall. The
highway passes through a picturesque valley with well-wooded and
steeply sloping sides. In it the lily of the valley used to grow
in profusion, and it is still to be found in fair abundance, in
spite of the ravages of unthinking visitors. Nowhere in England,
except the more secluded region of Woodhall Spa, in Lincolnshire,
is this graceful flower so common. The coppice on the north side
of the stream in the dell through which the Via Gellia runs is
known as Bonsall Wood ; that on the other side is Middleton Wood".
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
Read the transcript elsewhere
on this web site (look under Hopton)
There is more on site information about Bonsall on this website:
Andrews Pages : Picture Gallery, Derbyshire has several photographs
and old cards
Directory, 1891 - transcript of Bonsall entry
"In Via Gellia, Matlock Bath". Stengel & Co. Ltd.,
London E. C. 39 Redcross Street. No. 16033 Written 29 Nov 1903 to
Miss Jennie Griffiths, Upton Park, Chester Posted the same day.
The message read
are having a lovely day here, just going to have a - - [message unfinished]
In the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak
pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster
map from Rhodes' book, which is another part of this web site.
Via Gellia isn't shown on the map, but it was included in one of
 Adam, William (1840) "The
Gem of the Peak", London; Longman & Co., Paternoster
. Some of the Matlock and Matlock
Bath section has been transcribed.
 With very grateful thanks to Ronald Wood
for his help identifying the exact spot this picture was taken from.
 See the
Arkwright Society's web site »Other Arkwright Society activities
(it is an external link, so will open in a new window or tab)
 Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock,
Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide
Books of England and Wales, 11th edit. rev. (1932-3)