Review of ‘A History of the Matlocks’, by Peter Naylor

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 1st December 2003, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

A HISTORY OF THE MATLOCKS

This new addition to the Landmark Collector's Library is Peter Naylor's sixteenth book and, I don't doubt, the one which has been most demanding on his time. Astonishingly for such an important area, it is exactly 100 years since publication of the only previous comprehensive history of Matlock.

A lot has happened in the past century and A History of the Matlocks covers a phenomenal amount of ground to bring the the story up to date, even looking ahead to proposed new developments as at Cawdor Quarry and Drabbles Mill. So this book is also about history in the making.

The term 'The Matlocks' was coined in the days when the town had distinct parts such as Matlock Bank, Matlock Green and Matlock Bridge, so it is worth pointing out that the book covers a wide area in and around Matlock and Matlock Bath. As an indication of the breadth of subjects discussed, the index contains over a thousand entries, with further pages of cross references (including the Peak Advertiser.) A random cross-section of topics might include water cures, lead mining, quarrying, buildings, transport and - less obviously - UFOs, archaeological finds, postal history and ferries.

The author's interest in folklore adds legends of fairy elves at Lumsdale and a river monster called 'Iron Teeth and Bloody Bones'. Then there are famous human visitors from Queen Victoria to Lord Byron to Dirk Bogarde.

Peter Naylor's own family has connections with The Matlocks, where he has been settled for most of his life and, he vows, 'does not intend to leave'. A number of illustrations in this book are from his own collection, adding to an enjoyable selection of drawings, maps and sometimes rare photographs.

A History of the Matlocks is on sale locally priced £16.95.

Review by Julie Bunting


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