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Croston : On Foot Through the Peak, 1868*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
by James Croston

High Tor, one of the book's illustrations
On Foot Through the Peak
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About the author:
James Croston F.S.A., 1830-1 Sept 1893

James was the son of Samuel and Martha Croston and was born at Hulme in Manchester where he was baptised on 7 Nov 1830. In 1841 James and his widowed mother were living in Paradise, Salford. He seems to have done well for himself. He was a Commercial Clerk And Author in 1861 but ten years later, living at Cheetham, he was employed as a Ship & Insurance Broker. By 1874 he and his family were living at Upton Hall, Prestbury, near Macclesfield and he became a Magistrate, whilst continuing his work as an Insurance Broker and a patentee of the Fire Annihilator Company. He later became a political agent (1891).

He wrote and edited several books, mostly about Lancashire and Cheshire history and individual buildings. His interest in Derbyshire included "A Pilgrimage to the Home of Florence Nightingale" (1862). He also wrote historical and topographical descriptions for "Chantrey's Peak Scenery or Views in Derbyshire" (1889). Chantrey's engravings had been first been published as part of Ebenezer Rhodes "Peak Scenery" (pub 1817, 1819, 1822, 1823).

The transcripts on these pages, which cover the sections of the book about the Matlocks, include an interesting perambulation around Matlock Bath which refers to the people seen on the street as well as the usual buildings and scenery.

He acknowledged the help of Llewellynn Jewitt, Esq., F.S.A., of Winster Hall for loaning several engravings of Derbyshire scenes.

Chapters about the Matlocks
green button Chapter XIII (part) pp.215 - 222, with engraving
- May Dale Mine - Matlock Bridge - Matlock Church - Curious strata - Hydropathic Establishment - Matlock Dale - The High Tor - A subject for Geologists - Barytes Mill - Crystallized Cavern - Variegated Barytes - Matlock Bath
green button Chapter XIV, pp.223 - 232
Matlock Bath ; its early history - The first Bath - Spar Manufacture - Museums - Petrifaction working - Thermal Springs - Natural attractions - Byron and Mary Chaworth - An evening stroll - The new Church - The Stables - A Rendezvous for Idlers - A motley Company - The Museum Parade - View from the Terrace - Sunset - Moonlight Scene - A Thunderstorm - Late Excursionists
[the last two items added Mar 2020]
green button Chapter XV (part) pp.233 - 240
- Matlock Bath - A Morning Walk - Glenorchy Chapel - Willersley Castle - Cromford Church - The Bridge - A Dangerous Leap -
- Lea Hurst, the home of Florence Nightingale - Anthony Babington -
green button Chapter XV (part) pp.240 - 248
- Cromford Mills - Scarthin Nick - Caverns: their formation - A Money-getting Race - Heights of Abraham - Sylvan Shade - The Cavern Terrace - Repose - Montgomery; his Impromptu on Matlock scenery - Victoria Tower - A Beauteous Scene - Reminiscences - A Magnificent Landscape -
green button Chapter XVI (part), pp.249 - 255
- A Winding Descent - The Rutland Cavern - Ancient Workings - Minerals and Crystallisations - The Roman Gallery - An Embowered Path - Volcanic Agency - Romantic Rocks - Silent Solitude -
green button Chapter XVI (part), pp.255 - 260
- The Cumberland Cavern - Underground Scenery - The Harpsichord - A Rugged Road - Snow Fossil - The Roman Hall - Chaos - The Queen's Palace - Organic Remains - A Mischievous Propensity - The Sailor's Hall - Stalactite Encrustations - Return to Daylight - A Charming View - The Devonshire Cavern -
Additional Images
green button The Great Rutland Cavern, Matlock Bath
green button Advertisement for Thomas Cardin's High Tor Grotto, Matlock Dale
green button Five Smaller Advertisements
In Matlock : Lime Tree View Hydro (William Cartledge), Rockside Hydro (Charles Rowland) and William Crowder
In Matlock Bath - The Prince of Wales Hotel (Henry Gordon)
green button Advertisement for Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment, Matlock Bank

Title page of Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak", 1868
The first edition was published in 1862.

*Transcribed by Ann Andrews in November 2008 from:
Croston, James (1868) (2nd Ed) "On Foot Through the Peak; or a Summer Saunter Through the Hills and Dales of Derbyshire", Manchester: John Heywood, 141 & 143, Deansgate. London, Simpkin, Marshall & Co.
With my grateful thanks to Ray Ash who provided copies for me to OCR.
Image scans Copyright © Ray Ash and intended for personal use only.
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