Standing on the main street, look along the line of shops, arcades and attractions. The tranquility of our view from High Tor above may seem like a lifetime ago!
Imagine the hustle and bustle of this main thoroughfare when the railways first ferried visitors in droves. The sights prompted J. B. Firth in 1908 to describe
the bawling of the drivers of brakes and waggonettes, the attentions of the pushing salesmen“.
Today the bold blues, yellows and pinks of ice cream shops, fish and chip bars and arcades are hard to miss. And neither is the Aquarium. This building holds another clue to Matlock’s visitor appeal. Of the many spas and wells that first brought visitors to Matlock in their thousands, behind these walls is the only one that still works today – the Petrifying Well.
A ‘Petrifying Well’, as advertised on the board outside, was once a real feature of the town and drew in crowds of thrill seekers from the surrounding cities. But what is a ‘Petrifying Well’?