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Matlock Bath : Victoria Tower, Heights of Abraham, 1907 -25
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Living at the Heights

Great Rutland Cavern

Heights of Abraham, Great Rutland Cavern, 1912

Upper Tower, Heights of Abraham

Matlock Bank from Masson, with Masson Farm

View from
The Heights of Abraham

Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

The top postcard shows the Tower viewed from slightly higher up the Masson hillside. In marked contrast to the stunning and very green view of the Tower and the distant hills, the message on the postcard, written in early December 1907, reads:

"arrived alright
its snowing beautifully just what we wanted to see

Just over fifty years earlier The Derby Mercury reported some exceptional Spring weather in the Peak District. "On Tuesday before noon a party of Americans were walking on the Heights of Abraham at Matlock, ankle deep in snow, but with the sun inconveniently hot on their backs. At this time the weather was perfectly clear and fine, and the snow rapidly disappearing. There was a similar storm in this district on the 10th May, 1817, but nothing of the kind is remembered since, until this week[1]".

In 1882 Samuel Sprinthall advertised the Heights of Abraham Pleasure Grounds, the Rutland Cavern and the Victoria Prospect Tower[2]. He had just become the lessee.

A Ward Lock Guide published in the early 1930s described the Heights and its grounds. "The lower slopes are very thickly wooded, but higher there are unobstructed views. At the highest point (about 800 feet) is the Prospect Tower, which does not form part of a factory, whatever the critical visitor might think. But the view afforded at the top of the tower will disarm criticism. Originally intended as the Victoria Tower in compliment to the late Queen, it soon took the commoner name of Prospect[3]". Mr. Sprinthall had passed away by this time; initially two of his daughters were in charge but a younger daughter took over from them and carried on the family business with her husband. She had married Theodore Aspey and the couple ran the Heights from 1929 until their elder son took over.

The man and woman in the second image seem to be standing outside the boundary wall. The ground is very steeply sloping, with the dry stone walls almost clinging to the hillside. They were not in a good state of repair. There is a sign at 45 degrees from the vertical to the right of them. Perhaps it was warning about old lead mining shafts.

The sepia version of the card (below) is, in many respects, a little clearer than the coloured image and provides a better view of the small single storey building in the bottom left hand corner.

A visitor to the Tower and
the Heights of Abraham in April 1925
also visited the Cumberland Cavern.
Although she also really enjoyed
her visit she thought the Cumberland was
"much finer than the Masson".

1. "Victoria Tower, Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath" - Pub C. Colledge, Stationer, Matlock. The card was sent to Miss Stansfield of Hull from A.E.H, and postmarked 27 Dec 1907.
2. "Heights of Abraham Tower, Matlock Bath". Valentine's Series, No.61566. First published in 1909. Posted in Matlock Bath on 15 Apr 1914. This card had quite a bit of damage around the edges; some has been repaired but some remains on the bottom edge.
3. Sepia version of 2. This card is part of Valentine's 'Selectype'' series.
4. "The Tower, The Heights of Abraham, Matlock [Bath]". Published by R. Sneath, Peak Photo Works, Paradise Street, Sheffield. Posted on 17 Apr 1925 in Matlock and sent to Higher Crumpsall, Manchester. Sneath published at least two versions of this card, one part of The Peak Series and no.3981.
Images 1, 2 and 4 © Ann Andrews collection.
Image 3 © Ray Ash collection.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, May 11, 1853. The weather in the Peak.

[2] "Derbyshire Courier", 15 July 1882 - one of several advertisements that year.

[3] Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1932-3).

You may like to view
Royal Visitors
Matlock Bath's Main Attractions
See Chapter 4 of Hall's "Days in Derbyshire" (1863)

Elsewhere on the Internet
Heights of Abraham