Joseph Waterfall – Poet of the Peak with ability

Do you ever get side-tracked by a subject while researching another? Most of us have at some point! This is probably one of the strangest and most interesting ‘distractions’ I have encountered. As part of a future exhibition about cycling, I have been searching through the Record Office for interesting bicycle-related items. During a thorough search of the Local Studies card index catalogue,  I came across a reference to ‘Waterfall, J Poems (broadsheets) published by J Waterfall 1890s.’

Card Ref Waterfall

It turned out to be a large book of printed poems and articles about Bakewell and the surrounding area, by a gentleman called Joseph Waterfall. His writings are entertaining and interesting in themselves, but the book also revealed an amazing insight into the author’s life, which raises many questions. We live in a day and age where it’s easy to be sceptical, and this story really is sometimes quite hard to believe.

According to the available information about him, Joseph was born in Maidstone, Kent, without the use of his legs and with limited use of his arms and hands.  He was born of poor parents, had no education, and in addition to doing some shoe shining, mainly lived off parish relief due to his disability. He spent the last years of his life in an almshouse in Bakewell. He would cut out the letters of his articles and poems from old papers and place them on a sheet where they would then be printed.

Cut and Paste

These ‘broadsheets’ were sold for a penny to supplement his income, until he tragically died in a fire in his almshouse, in 1902.  This was apparently reported in a local Bakewell newspaper. His story is so unbelievable even a film or book about it probably couldn’t do it justice! This is a letter from a lady who bought one of his broadsheets:

A Letter

Having reached this point I decided to see what would happen if I searched for Joseph on the internet.  This turned up a published document (I am unable to provide a link but the search terms I used were “Joseph Waterfall Bakewell”) that a Mr David Trutt, from Los Angeles, California had written, called ‘Joseph Waterfall Poems: The Poet of the Peak.’ It appears he had been inspired by the author during a visit to the Local Studies library in Matlock in 2007, while researching Haddon Hall poetry. His interest was such that it prompted him to look at census records, parish registers and newspapers about Joseph. He obviously spent a great deal of time looking for information about him, and it’s extremely fortunate that he published this research. In Mr Trutt’s words:

“The poems and unusual life story of Joseph Waterfall were found by chance.

The editor has found no reference to Joseph Waterfall in books about Bakewell or

Derbyshire; and is loath to allow this information, which surfaced by chance, to

once again disappear.”

Having done a quick search of the Record Office online catalogue it appears that there is a little bit more information about him (which I will definitely be pursuing, along with the newspaper report!)

In the meantime here are some of his articles and poems.  If anyone has any further information about this incredible story please get in touch!

Remarkable Places and EventsQueen VictoriaDorothy's FlightChristmas

Oh, by the way, after realising I had been (gladly) waylaid by his story, yes, there was a poem in there about cycling that he wrote, which I hope will be appearing in our forthcoming exhibition!

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Advent Calendar – Day 13

Over half way there now…

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Watercolour illustration of the monument to Sir George Manners in Vernon Chapel, Bakewell, from a volume entitled ‘The Sepulchral Monuments of Derbyshire’ collected by John Joseph Briggs, 1872 (Ref: D4626/1). The volume (which can be viewed as digital images via our public computers) contains nearly 100 similar illustrations from across Derbyshire, all beautifully drawn with such attention to detail. 13. D4626-1 (31) Monument to Sir George Manners, Bakewell Church

Don’t forget, if you see anything you especially like, let us know if you want to nominate it as one of our 50 Treasures.

‘Geological resources at the Derbyshire Record Office’ by Jack O’Brien

Jack, 16, from Chesterfield has spent the last two months on work placement with the Record Office, and stemming from his interest in geology has investigated the archive and local studies collection available and kindly produced this guide, for which we are very grateful.

White Watson

White Watson was by profession a sculptor, marble worker and mineral dealer, he lived most of his life in Bakewell, Derbyshire. He was born at Whiteley Hall, near Sheffield, on April 10th 1760. He was the son of Samuel Watson, and it was from him that he learned his trade. They were both stone-masons and sculptors engaged with the rebuilding of Chatsworth House in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. 

There is no mention of any journey more than twenty-five miles  from Bakewell, and even visits to places as near as Sheffield and Leek were infrequent. Judging by surviving documents, he does not even seem to have visited his wife’s home in Leicestershire. 

The publications of White Watson’s  work are an inadequate picture of his true geological attainments, for example, only two of his detailed sections appeared as plates in his books. 

A section of strata of Derbyshire from East to West, by White WatsonWatson’s first work, ‘A Section of a Mountain in Derbyshire’, was apparently meant to be a generalised section of Derbyshire, not a specific locality. Within the section, he recorded three main beds of limestone with different basic properties and ‘mineral and fossil productions’ which were regularly seperated and penetrated by rake-veins and broken by faults. He followed the ideas of another geologist, Whitehurst who’s ideas were shown in the ‘Inquiry of 1785’. These were, observing the patterns in the strata and being able to forecast what would be found beneath the bed rocks of Derbyshire. 

Resources in local studies.

The local studies collection holds many geology related books and records, there are articles covering everything from Caving to coal fields, and limestone to moorlands. Many of the resources in local studies are very specific to the Peak District and Derbyshire. However, is is also a useful collection for research in to the geology of Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. 

There are many books regarding caving and the study of caves (speleology) in local studies. With the Peak District being so rich in caves; and many other geological landforms, in fact, there is bound to be quite a wide interest in the area. 

This book, for example, ‘British Caving’, covers all aspects of caving, including: both the science of caving and the practice of caving.

 British Caving - an introduction to speleology

  •  This shelf contains the local studies geological resources. 

 Book room 2

 More detailed searches.

This section of the card index shows all of the Geology related books, articles and publications held at the Derbyshire Record Office. The catalogue is extensive and gives access to geological maps, as well as the full works of White Watson. The card index also holds items relating to geomorphology and the landforms and drainage basins of Derbyshire. This would hold records of water table fluctuation as well as history of floods and flooding in Derbyshire and parts of Nottinghamshire. 

Card catalogue

Overall, the available resources at the Derbyshire Record Office would be more than adequate for amateur geologists, or anyone who is interested in finding out a little more about what’s under your feet!

Explore Your Archive – Reading, Writing and the Theatre Royal

Compare and Contrast – a selection of Derbyshire Record Office documents regarding Regency children and education.

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

EYA-poster-story-boxes

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

EYA-poster-poetry-workshop

D5459/1/35 Part of 'Sunday Morning', George M. Woodward.  On the back is written: 'GM Woodward sketches when a child.  These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)' - the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.

D5459/1/35 Part of ‘Sunday Morning’, George M. Woodward. On the back is written:
‘GM Woodward sketches when a child. These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)’ – the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.

On This Day: ‘Cloud-Burst at Rowsley – Remarkable Floods’

From the Ashbourne Telegraph, 2nd August 1912, Derbyshire weather not unlike early July 2012:

CLOUD-BURST AT ROWSLEY – REMARKABLE FLOODS

On Saturday there was a cloudburst at the Haddon Hall tunnel, about a mile and a half from Bakewell on the Midland line.  Debris from the hills above the railway was quickly washed down and a large part of an embankment slipped, and the earth completely blocked the line from Manchester to Derby.

Water streamed into the Haddon tunnel until it was about two feet deep, and traffic was completely dislocated, and for over half an hour several expresses were held up in the vicinity.

It was found that some damage had been done to the railway, and it was necessary for the trains to proceed with caution.  A party of Bakewell golfers, who were proceeding to Matlock to play a match found that their train was unable to proceed, and they walked home again.  Expresses between Manchester and London were diverted via the Dore and Chinley line, but the local traffic was stopped on both sides of the Haddon tunnel.

The whole of the sidings were flooded – that is 36 miles of rails.

Mr. A. Hawes, Clerk to the Bakewell Guardians, said the roadway by Haddon Hall was under water as well as Rowsley.  He added: “I think the worst of the fall was beyond FillifordBridge, where the water was so high on the roads that it forced holes through the boundary walls one could crawl through.  The amount of damage done must be enormous.”

On the moors above Sydnope, over the 1,000 feet level, Mr. Edwards a dog fancier, resides with his family.  His experience was alarming.  Lightning first struck his house in the roof, ran along the gutters, and down the spouts to earth.  A second flash struck the chimney, and ran down into the house, where it swept the fire out, and burnt the hearth rug.  Mr. Edwards says the house was full of strong smelling sulphur and smoke for some minutes, and he took his wife and child out of the house for safety.

Lightning also struck a house in Vineyard Terrace, belonging to the Stancliffe Estates Co., and there it went through the roof and two ceilings, and finally visited the front room, smashing the fire-grate.  At Hackney three trees – an oak, a pear, and an apple – in a row were struck.  Cows are also reported to have been killed in the fields.

Much damage was also done to the well-known cottage which stands close to the Haddon Hall, and the flood from the hills was so great that the occupants only just managed to get out of the building in time.  All round this historic spot the meadows were under water.  

The County Local Studies Library holds the Ashbourne Telegraph, 1903-1957 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

1837 Bakewell Pudding now on sale

Following our recent discovery of possibly the earliest written example of a recipe for the famous Bakewell Pudding, Carolyn and Richard Young have recreated the pudding from Clara’s recipe and it is now on sale in their Original Farmers Market Shop in Bakewell. Here are some photos of their dish

Don’t forget to send us your pictures of dishes created to our historical recipes and we will feature them here too

Early Bakewell Pudding Recipe

Here is the recipe for a Bakewell Pudding discovered in the recipe book of Clara Palmer-Morewood, one time resident of Alfreton Hall. Dated as it is in 1837 it is possibly the first ever documented version of the almond dessert which local legend claims was invented by accident in the 1860s. Why not have a go at making the famous local dish yourself to this unique 1837 recipe? And don’t forget to let us know how you get on, and send your pictures in (Record.Office@derbyshire.gov.uk) and we’ll put them up here.

D7555/1 Clara Palmer-Morewood recipe book, Alfreton HallIt reads: “Lay a Puff paste over a tin, open tart mould, put into it two dozen raisins stoned and chopped fine (Dryed cherries would be better) Almonds cut thin, candied orange peel, or any kind of Preserve. Beat well the yolks of four eggs, & the white of one, add ¼ lb of clarified butter, & some powdered sugar, beat all together & fill up the mould with the mixture, (Lemon would improve it) bake it in a slow oven – to be eaten cold & sprinkled over with powdered sugar. 1837”

(click image to enlarge)

We will be adding more recipes from Clara’s book (including some medicinal and gardening “recipes”) over the coming weeks, so keep an eye for more delicious dishes to try your hand at