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Matlock Bath: The Heights of Abraham, Great Rutland Cavern, 1912
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Outside Matlock Bath's Great Rutland Cavern
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Great Rutland Cavern

Living at the Heights

Upper Tower, Heights of Abraham

Victoria Prospect Tower, 1913

Victoria Tower, Heights of Abraham, 1907-25

Vista Views of the Heights

Three people are standing close to the entrance to the Great Rutland Cavern on the Heights of Abraham; all are connected to the business in some way. The male has been thought by some to be Samuel Sprinthall, who leased the Heights from his sister's family, but the gentleman is not Mr. Sprinthall[1]. This is a photograph of Frank Taylor who lived at East Lodge on Masson Road and was a cavern guide at this time. He would stand outside the Rutland Cavern to count the number of candles going in and re-count them on the way out. No candle, so no admission to the cavern[2]. It was a very simple but effective way of ensuring everyone had paid admission and that nobody was lost when their particular group left the cavern. We have another clue to the man's identity in the message on the back of the card which is written in pencil, some of which is unfortunately covered by the postmark:

"I have wandered so far; that's the advantage of having relatives scattered about. Left Leicester on Tuesday morning, stopped in Notts to dinner and a bit of gossip then came on here motor powered by a 3/n --- Triumph 26 miles in 1.20 on a 7 1 g--- and she did hurt, my cousin wanted to put a side car on but I would not disgrace myself. Shall see you 7.30 at Allbrama. No use sending one --- as I haven't a permanent one.
[Written upside down:]
One of my uncles is standing by the cave."[3]

The identity of the well dressed young woman in white is not known but the slightly older woman in the shop doorway on the right is believed by some to be one of the family. Was she Annie Louisa Sprinthall, who was aged 45 in 1911 or Emily Jane Sprinthall who was 48? Both were approximately the right age[4].

Please contact Ann if you know who the older woman was.

"Matlock Bath: Great Rutland Cavern, Heights of Abraham". Published by the Photochrom Co. Ld., London and Detroit, U.S.A. Printed in England.
Sent to Mr P[hil]. H. Wright of Tunstal Road, Brixton. Written and Posted at Matlock Bath 10 July 1912.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

Notes (coloured links go to on site transcripts):

[1] One of Samuel Sprinthall's descendants, Peter Aspey, told the web mistress some years ago that it was not him and suggested he was more likely to have been one of the cavern guides.

[2] The candles story is from the recollections of the late Mr. Frank Clay, who helped out at the Rutland Cavern as a small boy, selling the admission candles. It is from private papers and notes owned by Mrs. Doreen Buxton, some of which were written in 1992 and are still within copyright. Mr. Clay also identified Mr. Taylor.

[3] References to the Taylors include: 1891 census | 1901 census. The card's message refers to stopping off in Nottinghamshire and various census returns shows that Mrs Taylor, whose maiden name was probably Wootton, was born in New Basford. There is an MI for the Taylors and one of their sons at Holy Trinity Church - see MI

[4] References to the Sprinthalls include: 1891 census | 1901 census | Kelly's 1891 Directory, Matlock Bath | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's 1899 Directory | Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory. There are three MIs for the family at Matlock Bath church | MI-1 | MI-2 | MI-3 |