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Matlock Dale: Looking towards Matlock from High Tor, 1920s
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Matlock, The Quarries

Cottages, Matlock Dale

The long building above the main road and bottom left is Primrose Cottage, one of the cottages built by the nineteenth century surgeon William Chinnery, who built several properties in the Dale including Dale Cottage[1]. The boundary between Matlock Bath and Matlock is just a bit further along, before the second kink in the road, and before the road straightens to run almost parallel with the river and goes past the two large quarries. The Harvey Dale Quarry and the Holt Quarry were almost one quarry by the 1920s.

On the right of the picture is the railway line. The line has just emerged from the High Tor Tunnel and crosses the Derwent at the Boat House bridge.

Just beyond the bottom of St. John's Road is a three storey property, Havey Dale House) that is partly built into the hillside (see enlarged detail on the right). This was where Mrs. Betty Brinsley ran a carrier's business until the 1850s and on the ground floor were the two huge wooden doors of her coach house. John Smith, who had worked for her, took over[2].


Adjoining the building is a wall with a road above it and in this wall were some more arched doorways. They are blocked up today but the pavement used to slope down towards them. The road level used to be higher that the pavement at several points along the Dale and further along it still is. The pavement here was raised some years ago and it is now difficult to tell what it must have originally looked like. However, behind one of the sets of doors was the stable of Dolly, the horse kept by Postman Joseph Jesse Rosling around 1900[3]. Mr. Rosling had been appointed postman at Matlock Bath on 20 December 1895[4] and he drove the horse mail[5], so used Dolly on his rounds. He had spent some time in India with the army before settling in Matlock[6]. Mr. Rosling retired from the Post Office in 1932 after 37 years of service[5], having been awarded the Imperial Service Medal in 1930[7].

The web mistress believes another archway may have been used as a bakers, but this can't be corroborated at present.

Below is another view of this section of the Dale, taken from Pic Tor and looking towards High Tor and the Heights of Abraham; it is a black and white Valentine's image that was reproduced in the Ward Lock Guide of 1932[8]. In the bottom right corner is Greatorex's "coffee pot" (see Matlock, The Quarries). Again, we need to look closely at the image to see the series of arched doors.

The second enlargement (on the right) provides us with a slightly better view and we can see just how tall all the doorways were, as we can see both the arches in the wall and the very large double doors in the former Brinsley house.


Three more recent photographs, taken in 2004, are below. In the first picture you can see what remained of these huge coach house doors in 2004, painted green and shorter in height than they had been in the 1920s. Additionally, the wall with the archways was no longer as high as it was in the 1920s photos. The height difference between the 1920s and today is especially noticeable in this first photograph but in all three modern photos, with the pavement level considerably higher than it had been in the 1920s, the arches are not very high and certainly not high enough to have housed either a stable or a bakers. A good proportion of what used to be there is now below ground level.

There were at least three arches in the wall in the 1920s.
The green doors have now been replaced.
Since this photo was taken the left hand cottage has been repainted and the gable end is white once again.

The wall adjoining the old Brinsley house.
Compare this photograph with the black and white image above.
You can just about pick out the line of stones of the first arch, which has been filled in with dressed stone.

One of the former arches is easier to see than the others.
In comparison with the wall's original carefully selected and dressed stones, the modern infill is rather haphazard, although it does the job.

1. Postcard "Matlock from High Tor. Peak District". "Donlion Series", No.2.5.32. Donlion Productions, Doncaster. Not posted.
1a. Detail from same postcard.
2. Valentine's & Sons photograph, Matlock Dale, Ward Lock,1932[8]. 2a. Additional enlarged detail from same postcard.
All the above images in the collection of, provided by, and © Ann Andrews.
3 and 4. Photographs © unnamed contributor.
Researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] References to Mr. Chin[n]ery include the 1841 census | the 1851 census | the 1861 census | Pigot's Directory, 1827-9 | Kelly's Directory, 1848 | White's Directory, 1862 | Contributions to the Patriotic Fund, 1854 | Matlock Names in the London Gazette, 1877.

[2] John Smith can be found at Harvey Dale House in the the 1861 census. His brother in law, Fredrick Greatorex, had taken over the business by 1971 (the 1871 census).

[3] Postman Rosling and his family are shown living on Holt Lane in the 1901 census. The name of the horse has been provided by one of his descendants.

[4] See Mr. Rosling in Matlock Names in The London Gazette, 1895.

[5] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 15 January 1948. Obituary notice for J. J. Rosling who had died the previous day. Joseph Jesse Rosling (1869-1948) and his wife Annie Rosling nee Haselby are both buried at St. Giles. See MI Surname Index, R.

[6] Joseph Rosling had joined the Lincolnshire Regiment - 10th Foot (No.1510) on 16 Aug 1887 following medicals. His army record can be found on FindMyPast.

[7] "The London Gazette", 18 Feb 1930. His Majesty The KING has been pleased to award the Imperial Service Medal to the following officers:- HOME CIVIL SERVICE. Rosling, Joseph Jesse, Postman, Matlock.

[8] Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1932-3). Photographs in these guides were not necessarily taken in the year the guide was published and may have been taken a good few years before.