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Matlock Bath: High Tor by Thomas Allom, about 1836
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Also by Thomas Allom

Ferry Over the Derwent

Drawn by T. Allom
Engraved by J. W. Lowry

"The High Tor, (or rock,) near Matlock, rises perpendicularly from the Derwent to the height of four hundred and fifty feet, and forms a prominent feature in the scenery of Matlock Dale. This elevation is ascended by a path, whence, at different altitudes, the visitor discovers prospects the most beautiful on which the eye could linger. Having reached the summit, the spectator looks down upon the silver Derwent, winding its course through a mountain defile formed by the acclivity of Masson Hill. The highest point of the last named eminence is perforated by more than one excavation or cavern, curious on account of their romantic forms, and for the specimens of ore and the stalactited they contain."

"The views obtained from the High or are of the most diverse character. In one direction, the eye encounters a vast sweep of hills, embracing a picturesque assemblage of beautiful inclosures; on this side rises an almost inaccessible ridge, on the other a broken and varied precipice of rock and foliage. The Bath is hence seen, fronted with wood, and seated amidst fields varied with every tint of green, and reaching to the distant hills. From the most elevated point of the Tor the river is beheld, occasionally flashing and foaming over the rocky fragments which partially obstruct its course.[1]"

The engraving shows that there was little development along the Dale below High Tor at this time, and what had been built is dwarfed by the Tor. Allam drew just four properties here, three of which have smoke is curling out of the chimneys. Two of these buildings were Tor House (later Tor Hill) and the cottage with the stabling and coach house underneath, built at the bottom of the driveway to Tor House[2] (see link to image below).

Tor House was then the home of Thomas Robinson, a gentleman of independent means but who, like others in Matlock Bath, took in lodgers[3]. In the 1851 census he was described as a retired innkeeper as in the 1820s he had been associated with The Hotel, later Hodgkinson's Hotel (see link below). He owned various properties and parcels of land in Matlock Dale and in his Will, written on 31 May 1856, he mentioned "My messuage or dwellinghouse situate at Matlock aforesaid. He also referred to now in my own occupation with the garden outbuildings and appurtenances thereto belonging"[4]. Colonel Leacroft and Thomas Cave were his tenants[5]. Henry Sakeld James Collingwood[6] occupied, or had sub-let, another messuage and farm lands belonging to Thomas Robinson but it is slightly unclear where this was.

Another of the buildings in the valley was Strawberry Cottage, owned by Luke Neal and No.1444 on the 1848 Tithe Map[7]. It was mentioned as a lodging house by William Adam in "Gem of the Peak" alongside Tor House[8], but in both instances Adam did not provide the name of the property. This house eventually became Glena Cottage - the roadside home of Remo Tinti and where he ran his coal merchant's business in the 1950s and 60s (today, 2024, renamed as The Cables).

Derwent House, which later became the home of the Whittaker family, is not shown and does not appear on the 1848 tithe map[7]. If it had been built it would have been approximately where the main road disappears behind the trees.

We can just make our a small building tucked under the Tor. This would have been something to do with either the High Tor Grotto or Mr. Boothman's wheel and later became the colour works.
See: Matlock Bath: High Tor and the Colour Works

Related pages:

  Hodgkinson's Hotel was known as the Matlock Bath Hotel or Robinson's Hotel when Thomas Robinson was the proprietor in the 1820s.

  Matlock Bath: Dale Road, Stereoview. These properties were owned by Thomas Robinson.

  Matlock Bath: High Tor, Switzerland View. Four later views of the Dale below High Tor, dating from 1892 to about 1913.
  Matlock Bath: High Tor and the Colour Works

Tor Hill House, Dale Road, Matlock Bath, 1915, formerly Tor House. Thomas Robinson's home.

The High Tor, near Matlock, Derbyshire. Published by Fisher, Son & Co., London and Paris. No date, but 1836 is the most likely. Hand colouring of later date.
From the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
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] Both the engraving and this text were then published in London (1837) for "The Counties of Chester, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Rutland, & Lincoln Illustrated"

[2] Although it looks to be in a rather dilapidated state the coach house / stabling of this building still exists, partly hidden under trees as you drive through the Dale. The upper floors were affected by the 1966 landslip and were demolished.

[3] Thomas Robinson in shown in the 1841 census | the 1851 census | Matlock & Matlock Bath Public Notices & Announcements, 1822.
He also appears in the following trade Directories: Glover's 1827-8-9 (Matlock Bath section) | Pigot's 1828-9 | Pigot's 1831 | Pigot's 1842 | Bagshaw's 1846 | Kelly's 1848 (gentry) | White's 1852 | Kelly's 1855.

[4] Pre-1858 Wills, Surnames R.

[5] Colonel Richard Leacroft was at Tor House by 1851- see his census entry. Mr. Cave and Col. Leacroft can both be found in the 1861 census

[6] Henry Sakeld James Collingwood lived at Tor Cottage. See Matlock Dale : High Tor Guest House, 1945-50 and the 1841 census.

[7] Matlock Tithe Award, 1848/9, Derbyshire Record Office.

[8] Adam, W. (all editions, 1838-1857) "The Gem of the Peak; or Matlock Bath and Its Vicinity. ... . There is a transcript of "Gem of the Peak (1840)" elsewhere on the site (scroll down slightly).