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Matlock Dale from Long Tor
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Matlock Bath Today (4)

High Tor and the Colour Works

"The high-road along Matlock Dale, through which the Derwent ripples, with the towering heights of Masson on the one side, and on the other the precipitous cliff which form the river frontage of the High Tor, present a picture of rare charm, though in some places somewhat disfigured by quarry workings"[1].

This view of the Dale below High Tor is only a little different from that seen today[2] although trees along the main road rather obscure the view of the Matlocks most famous landmark. Amongst the houses on the left of the road are Tor Hill (later Tor House), Riversdale, Glenna Cottage (now renamed) and Heath Bank. Almost in the centre, in an elevated position round the next bend in the road, we can see The Rocks on St. John's Road.

Bottom centre are the buildings best known today as being the site of the former Colour Works below High Tor, although there were less buildings here when this picture was taken. William Adam always referred to the land as the Side Mine Hillock. In his final version of The Gem of the Peak (1857) he noted that "this mine is now out of use and dismantled, and a large building for the manufacture of barytes into a pigment, of "Dutch Lead", as it is called, is erected on the site of the old mine hillock, and the wheel [of eighty horsepower in the engine house] is used to work the machinery connected with it"[3]. In the 1851 edition Adam said the works had been recently erected"[4].

Enlargement, showing the buildings of the Messrs. Stevens'[5] barytes works and the footbridge over the Derwent.
The industrial site was largely obscured by the trees in the summer months.

Although this card was posted in 1911 the original photograph, taken by Valentine's of Dundee, dates from almost twenty years earlier. The publisher's number for this card follows on from a similar view, " Matlock. Switzerland View" (JV-17500) which was also registered by Valentine's in 1892.

"Matlock Dale from Long Tor". Postcard published by Valentine's Series, Souvenir Post Card No.17501. Printed in Great Britain. Posted 8 Aug 1911 in Derby.
This image replaces a slightly grainy black and white version that was published in Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", (Series, 1926-7).
From the collection of, written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Ward Lock & Co's Guide (Series, 1926-7). The nearest working quarries of that time can be seen on Dale Road from High Tor (Long Tor quarry) and Matlock Dale: Artists' Corner from High Tor, 1920s (Flax Quarry). Further afield were Matlock, The Quarries and Boat House Hotel & Quarry.

[2] See Matlock Bath Today (4) - the first image is very similar, though with more industrial buildings.

[3] Adam, W. (1857, 6th edtn.) "The Gem of the Peak; or Matlock Bath and Its Vicinity". ... John and Charles Mozley, Derby and 6, Paternoster Row, London; Bemrose .... (own copy).

[4] The Gem of the Peak; or Matlock Bath and Its Vicinity". ... Fifth Edition (1851).

[5] Thomas and Frederick Wm. Stevens were shown as barytes manufacturers in White's 1852 Directory. Frederick and some of his family had moved to Matlock before the 1851 census.