Review of ‘Bakewell and the White Peak’, by Peter Tuffrey

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.

by Peter Tuffrey
ISBN 0-7524-3042-4 (2003)

Published by Tempus in their Images of England series, Bakewell and the White Peak contains more than 200 postcard views taken by Edgar Leonard Scrivens between 1905 and the 1930s. In spite of the title, this selection by author Peter Tuffrey actually extends beyond the White Peak, reaching as far as Castleton, one of almost 20 villages on a pictorial journey northwards from Rowsley.

So we can see the ford at Bakewell's Holme Bridge, Queen Mary's Bower when it was still moated and, also at Chatsworth, Paxton's Great Conservatory, since demolished. Painted signs recall long-lost shops, bottles of minerals are on sale outside an old toll bar cottage, Beeley Post Office and refreshment rooms are open for business, as is Mr White's tearoom at Eyam, and Calver Mill is still in production. Motorised traffic is scarce on the rutted and dusty roads, street lighting - in the form of gas lamps - is only for the few, and unsightly telegraph poles are commonplace, looking particularly startling as they march out of sight through Winnats Pass. Similarly thought-provoking are pictures of villages hidden under a pall of smoke from domestic chimneys. On the other hand, there is not a TV aerial in sight, nor a satellite dish, nor a yellow line; even the signposts and occasional road sign now look quaint.

The captions mostly give local historical detail rather than detailed information specific to the photograph. Omissions are niggling rather than factual but the author could have done with support from an editor with sound local knowledge, if only to put names to roads and streets. Nevertheless, Bakewell and The White Peak is an enjoyable and very 'browsable' read.

Review by Julie Bunting

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