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Matlock Bath: The Ferry and Lovers' Walks
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Stereoview of Lovers' Walk, 1859-62

Stereoview of the Ferry and Ferry House

There are three boats moored up at the ferry point on the Lovers' Walk bank of the river Derwent. The man on the left has one foot in the ferry, a deep and well made boat with seating all around the edge for passengers and a central foot-well. The man in the centre is standing on the ferry's forecastle. This was where the passengers would step onto the ferry before taking their seats. To return to the man on the left who is about to step into the ferry. His weight is on his other leg as his left foot is in a sailing boat with a rather primitive mast, possibly added after it was originally constructed. A rowing skiff is behind the older, bearded gentleman in the middle. The older man has secured the ferry by a single turn around one of the support ropes on the riverbank.

The middle boat has a rowlock visible on one side to hold an oar - the nearer one is hidden from view. There are two shrouds (or hounds) that would normally support the mast but tied in so that they are out of the way. There is a halliard over a pulley at the top of the mast and, possibly, sails are lying on the boom of the boat.

Unfortunately, it is hard to know both who these men were and whether the workman on the footpath was just an observer or if he was also involved with the ferry.

Behind them, several smaller rowing boats are moored across the width of the river. As the river water wasn't high at this time one just wonders if this was a deliberate ploy to prevent others using the river. A little further away, on the left hand bank, are the steps behind Herbert Buxton's Museum. He also had boats for hire and there was a dispute between the boat hires at one stage.

A meeting of the UDC's Pleasure Gardens and Boating Committee in 1898 learned that 3900 people had used the ferry in the previous year, paying 1d. each. Whilst the Council's Surveyor could not explain why there had been a downturn in the ferry's use, Mr. Cubley suggested that poor weather might have played its part[1].

Enlargement of the right hand side of the stereoview

This stereoview was taken by Alfred Seaman. John Bradley, who is an expert on stereoviews, included another version of this scene in an article he wrote for Stereo World. The stereoview image he presented in that article, given the title of "The Ferry, Matlock Bath", was taken by Seaman and had been published by The Fine Art Photographer's Publishing Company of London[2]. It is identical to this image.

There is more about the Ferry and Ferry House:

[Stereo view of the] Ferry, Matlock Bath. No publisher given, but No.67.
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] Derbyshire Times, 18 June 1898. Boating returns.

[2] "Before the trail goes cold ... Stereographers in Victorian Matlock", published in Stereo World Volume 30 Number 3. No date. With thanks to Susan Tomlinson for the use of her copy.