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Bemroses' Guide to Matlock ... , about 1869*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
Matlock's Scenery, pp.8-11

The Bridge at Matlock, Bemrose
Bemroses' Guide
Matlock's Scenery
Caverns, Rocks, Museums, Church
Bath to Dale
Black Rocks
to Parish Church
High Tor & Antiquities
Matlock Bank & Riber
Walks & Places of Interest
Mr. Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment
Walker's Museum
Matlock House & Rockside
Royal Cumberland Cavern
Clark Greaves
Radfirth & Stevenson
Midland Railway 01
Midland Railway 02
Further Information
About Matlock
About Matlock Bath
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Engraving of illuminated letter I.
Image rescanned 2008 Ann Andrews  

In Gough's edition of old Camden's "Britannia," we have the following quaint mulutm in parvo kind of description which so peculiarly characterizes that work - "On the banks of the Darwent is Matlock, where is a weak medicinal water, efficacious in colick, consumptive and cutaneous cases, and much frequented by the neighbouring gentry as an agreeable retreat during the summer months for health and amusement, without the infection of southern manners. Here are two baths; the old bath, as it is called, though there had been a bath at the place long before, was built in 1734 ; the house belonging to which is the largest and most frequented, though the new one has a handsomer house in a pleasanter situation. The baths are temperate, and the water lighter than common water. It possesses the virtues of Bristol and Bath waters. It was first known about 1698. There is a hot spring in a hill beyond the old bath, but notwithstanding all attempts to prevent it, it mixes with a cold one in its way to the river. Here is a water of a strong petrifying quality, a large stratum formed by which is used for building, and is very serviceable. Matlock great Torr is 420 feet perpendi


cular. Near Matlock-Bridge are two chalybeat springs. Sir Richard Arkwright erected cotton mills here also."

The situation of Matlock-Bath (as it is called, to distinguish it from the old village), is in the bosom of a deep valley, by the side of the Derwent. This river is formed by the confluence of several small streams, which, rising in that wild, unfrequented part of Derbyshire called the Woodlands, are united near Hathersage. It afterwards visits Chatsworth, and three miles further southward is augmented by the river Wye, which rises near Buxton, and having passed by Ashford and Bakewell, falls into the Derwent at Rowsley ; then, pursuing its course through the middle of the county, the Derwent passes by Darley, Matlock, Belper, and Duffield, and falls into the Trent a few miles below Derby. Among the valleys of extraordinary beauty through which these rivers stray, none is so much celebrated as that in which Matlock-Bath is situated; but though nature has lavished numberless charms on this delightful dale, yet little more than a century has elapsed since it first began to emerge from obscurity; and that, in consequence of a spring of warm water being discovered in it. This happened about the year 1698, and the spring having, soon after, acquired some reputation on account of its medicinal qualities, a house or two were erected near it, for the accommodation of visitors. As the number of these increased, the houses were gradually enlarged and rendered commodious; and Matlock, in a few years, became the general rendezvous of the neighbouring gentry, who passed much time together there, composing as it were but one family, and uniting to form a most agreeable society. The reputation of the place was at length more generally diffused, and it has now become the favourite resort of the gay and the valetudinarian, of whom there is frequently a greater in-


flux than it can supply with suitable accommodation; though in consequence of two other warm springs having been discovered at different periods, the buildings have been multiplied to such an extent, that they are now computed to be capable of receiving many hundred persons in addition to the regular inhabitants. Before the discovery of the springs, no trace of a wheel had been seen in the dale, which was covered with wood; but after that event, a road was formed along the western bank of the river. The valley itself is above two miles in length, and it runs, not without several considerable deviations, in a northern and southerly direction.

Matlock-Bath, whether seen from the hills or the valley, presents a singularly picturesque and beautiful appearance.

The gentle Cowper, in one of his contemplative poems, says :-

"The love of nature's works
Is an ingredient in the compound man,
Infused at the creation of the kind ;
And though the Almighty Maker has throughout
Discriminated each from each by strokes
And touches of His hand, with so much art
Diversified, that two were never found
Twins at all points; yet this obtains in all,
That all discern a beauty in His works :
And all can taste them."

Here then is a scene to illustrate the philosophy of the author of "The Task ;" to pour upon the heart the inspirations of poetry ; and to realize the feelings with which the " Minstrel Girl " of Whittier's imagination, gazed on such a soul-soothing prospect.

"For early she had learned to love
Each holy charm to nature given-
The changing earth, the skies above,
Were prompters to her dreams of heaven.


She loved the earth, the streams that wind
Like music, from the hills of green !
The stirring boughs above them twined,
The shining light and shade between ;
The fall of waves, the fountain-gush,
The sigh of winds, the music heard
At eventide from air and bush-
The minstrelsy of leaf and bird.
But chief she loved the sunset sky,
Its golden clouds like curtains drawn,
To form the gorgeous canopy
Of monarchs, to their slumbers gone."


Engraving of The High Tor, Matlock, about 1869. The building on the right is Tor Cottage.
Image scan 2004 Ann Andrews
The High Tor Matlock

*Transcribed from
'Bemroses' Guide to Matlock, Bakewell, Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, &c' by John Hicklin, Third Edition, pub Bemrose and Sons, London (no date, but about 1869).
Reproduced here with the very kind permission and help of Sonia Addis Smith, whose book this is from.
OCRed and images scanned by Ann Andrews, 2001 - 2004.
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