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Matlock Dale: Views of High Tor, by Local Photographers
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Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

Whilst many photos and postcards have been published of High Tor, the vast majority were not taken by photographers who were born or lived in the Matlocks. Here are just three that were from the cameras of local men. This page contains two pre-1900 images and one post-1900. All three were taken in the summer months when the river waters were flowing gently southwards, the smooth water slightly disturbed when it encountered rocks on the river bed.

The top image is a Carte de Visite (CDV), an albumen print mounted on card, taken by John Latham and is almost certainly the earliest photographic image of High Tor taken by a Matlock resident. It dates from before 1870 and is presented here as a relatively large image to show the quality of the pictures that were being produced in the early days of photography.

The second image is another CDV. This picture was taken by the Matlock Bath photographer William Potter and probably dates from the 1890s, though it could have been earlier. A second view of High Tor by Potter, also in CDV format, can be seen on the Photographer's page.

The third photograph (below) was taken by Thomas Meredith Henshall, also of Matlock Bath. Both men photographed High Tor from the same position, or almost the same, and they have captured the wonderful reflections in and light on the water. Henshall's picture is an early twentieth century view, by which time the suspension bridge had been built over the Derwent. It is hard to see, but it is there.

William Bray had described High Tor in 1783:

"Between the Bath and the village of Matlock, the ride is equally romantic with the entrance of the dale ; but in one place the rock, from its superior height and boldness, has acquired the name of Matlock great or high Torr. It is said the perpendicular height is 140 yards. About half way up it is covered with underwood, without any great trees ; the upper part is perpendicular, and almost entirely bare, only here and there is a small tree hanging out of a crevice. The river runs close to the foot, and by the intervention of a ledge of stone, forms a considerable cascade. The strata of stone here, exactly correspond with those on the opposite side of the vale ; a proof that some violent convulsion has rent them assunder1.
1Whitehurst, p.153"[1].

Bray, who was hoping to convey some of the pleasure he had on his journey through Derbyshire and Yorkshire to his readers[2], wrote an almost timeless description. It could equally have been written when these photographs were taken.

Read poems about High Tor on Matlock and Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets
Henry Moore's engraving of High Tor from his drawing in "Picturesque Excursions From Derby to Matlock Bath, 1818".

More views of High Tor elsewhere on this web site taken by local people:

Switzerland View, Matlock Bath by Calitta M. Tinti (née Whittaker)

From the Vernon Lamb Archive: VLA 9861, High Tor

A photo of High Tor, by Frederick Barber, was published in Famous Derbyshire Health Resorts, part 2, about 1892

High Tor, by Frank Clay

1. Matlock Derbyshire. John Latham, photographer, Matlock.
2. [Matlock Dale. High Tor - Landscape]. Photograph W. Potter, Matlock. Copyright.
3. High Tor Matlock Bath. No publisher, but initialled TMH (Thomas Meredith Henshall). Postal rates Inland ½d Foreign 1d.
Postcard and CDVs in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Bray, William (1783) "Sketch of a Tour Into Derbyshire and Yorkshire" (Second Edition) London, Printed for B. White at Horace's Head, in Fleeet-Street. The first edition was published in 1778.

[2] Preface to the first edition of his book.