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In the early nineteenth century Matlock was a spa and vacation resort on the southeastern edge of the region of craggy hills known today as the Peak National Park in Derbyshire, England. It was famous for the limestone caves in its vicinity. Its curious geography is detailed in the entry for it in the 4th edition of the Encylopaedia Brittanica (1797).

In the letters Percy Bysshe Shelley added to A History of a Six Weeks' Tour he notes the small local museums of Servoz and Chamounix and compares them to those of the hilly region of northwest England. With the second town he specifically mentions the likeness of Matlock.