Driving back from the north of England, I spied what seemed to be a medieval castle on the skyline, over looking Matlock but it turned out to be a 19th century creation.

The castle was built by the industrialist, philanthropist and author, John Smedley who had made a fortune by not only persuading the rich to take the cure in cold baths at the Hydro Hotel, Matlock, but by writing a best selling book which went into 12 editions.

The cost of the castle’s construction is said to have been in the region of £60,000 and was built of gritstone which was pulled up to the site by a series of pulleys from a local quarry. On the building’s completion in 1868, John Smedley and his wife Caroline made it their home.

After their death it became a boy’s school and during WWII, the Ministry of Defence used it for storage.

Over the following years it has been used as a wildlife park and then left in a ruinous state. The property has been bought by a development company and  is now being turned into apartments.

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