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Matlock Bath: Mr. Buxton's Royal Museum & the Great Petrifying Well
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The Royal Museum and the Great Petrifying Well
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Before 1840

The Great Petrifying Well, 1932

South Parade, 1909

South Parade, 1910 - the Roads & Boden's Restaurant

Mr. Buxton's Royal Museum

The river behind South Parade's shops and businesses

Ward Lock Guide

More images from the Ward Lock Guide, 1903

The Royal Pavilion - the Palais Royal

Lover's Walk and the Ferry House, 1903

The Promenade, 1902

Shown here is Matlock Bath's South Parade at the very beginning of the Edwardian era. The buildings on the left are little changed and the large oval sign for Hodgkinson's Hotel is almost right in the middle!

On the far right are buildings that disappeared when the road was widened - the shop called Royal Museum and the Great Petrifying Well. When describing the Buxton family of Matlock Bath[1] my late father wrote that "the first recollection I had of them was when they were living at what they styled as "The Royal Museum". It was a novelty jewellery and ornament vending shop with the emphasis on Blue John, petrified objects and the like. ... The original "Royal Museum was, of course, on the other side of the road. ... When the Buxton family vacated the Spa shop they went to live in a house they had built above Temple Walk[2]".

The Great Petrifying Well was one of several Petrifying Wells that had existed in Matlock Bath over the years. Shelves displaying petrified objects are clearly visible on the external wall[3]. "Few visitors care to journey homewards without a nest, and egg, a stick, or some other object coated in stone, to remind them when the holiday is over of the dales and heights of lovely Matlock[4]". The larger of the two signs by the doorway tells us that this was "The Largest & Principal Petrifying Well in Matlock".

Whilst the G. W. Wilson & Co. photograph from Ward Lock's 1903 guide, below, is less clear, it shows slightly more of the front of the Well building.

A coloured version of the black and white Ward Lock picture, published by a local trader,
John Moseley White, who had a fancy repository for a time on Derwent Parade[5].

1. Top postcard, "Matlock Bath, South Promenade and Heights of Abraham". Publisher not known, but no.20803. Another card was posted in 1905. In the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith. Image scanned for this website by and © Ann Andrews. Added February 2010.
2. Middle photograph, by G. W. Wilson & Co. Ltd., Aberdeen, from Ward Lock & Co's "Guide to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4). In the collection of, provided by and scan © Ann Andrews.
3. Bottom postcard "At Matlock Bath". The Derwent Series, Published by J M White, Derwent Arcade, Matlock Bath. Posted 1909. © Susan Tomlinson collection.
Information researched and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
References - coloured links go to on-site transcripts or information:

[1] Herbert Buxton appears in all the Matlock Bath census returns between 1841 and 1901.
[2] Reminiscences of the late Mr. Frank Clay, from his private papers and notes owned by the web mistress.
[3] There is more about Petrifying Wells, Petrification and Petrifactioners elsewhere on this web site. See:
[4] Ward Lock Guide.
[5] See Kelly's Directory 1908.