And so, reluctantly, our visit to Matlock Bath must draw to a close (thank God for that – the Readership).
But, before we leave, let’s not forget to make time for a visit to the Aquarium, which has everything you would expect from such an establishment (i.e fish) and so much more!
The Aquarium is the sort of slightly ramshackle visitor attraction (close in spirit to a Victorian cabinet of curiosities) of which I’m inordinately fond.
It is situated in what was originally the Consulting Rooms, and contains what was the original Matlock Bath (where the Quality would Take the Waters). The Quality have been replaced by fish (mainly Koi Carp) – (fish food is available for a small fee).
Also on show (for no additional fee) is the Petrifying Well.
A popular attraction in the resort’s Nineteenth-century heyday, this involved immersing common household objects (such as hats and walking-sticks)
in the well, where they would emerge petrified (i.e. turned to stone) and be sold as souvenirs.
(Nowadays these have been superseded by those traditional accoutrements of the English seaside holiday – the dream-catcher, the Samurai sword and the little crystal statuettes of naked women riding on the backs of dragons).
The most Victorian aspect of the whole thing, oddly, is the exhibition of holograms, which seems to take us back to the world of the camera obscura, the magic lantern show and the cyclorama. I suppose because we aren’t being invited to marvel at the aesthetics of the thing (diverting as some of the images are) but the technology.
This ghastly apparition is Zandra Rhodes . This ghostly apparition is inspired by Zandra Rhodes –
Well worth £2.50 of anyone’s money, even in these straitened times.