Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Petrifying Well

Black and white photograph showing the outside of the Petrifying Well.  There are two men standing outside
Petrifying Well in Matlock, Derbyshire


The Royal Museum Petrifying Well was located along the main thoroughfare in Matlock Bath, beside the river. There were a number of other petrifying wells in Matlock Bath, due to the emerging thermal springs but this was probably the largest. Today, objects from the wells can be seen in Matlock Bath Aquarium.


Black and white close-up showing a range of objects that look like they are made of stone
Objects Outside Matlock Petrifying Well


Discussion Points

What can you see in the photographs above?

Look at the men in the first image. What does their appearance tell us about:

  • When the photograph was taken?
  • How wealthy they were?
  • The job they did?

Looking at the detail, what do you think a petrifying well is?

What do the other signs tell us about Matlock Bath as a place at the time the photograph was taken?