High hopes for book on cable cars

Tall Tale: Author Chris Stone of Ripley with his new book 'Raising the Wire', the story of the construction of the cable car at the Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath.
Tall Tale: Author Chris Stone of Ripley with his new book 'Raising the Wire', the story of the construction of the cable car at the Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath.
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A LECTURER who has had a fascination for one of the Dales’ most iconic feats of engineering has put pen to paper to produce a new book.

Chris Stone has been collecting photographs of the cable cars at the Heights of Abraham ever since work began nearly 30 years ago.

The 49-year-old from Ripley is a keen walker and happened to have his camera with him when hiking around Matlock Bath as work on the extraordinary attraction was just beginning.

The structure ignited his interest and he has since taken regular photographs, which he uses to give lectures on the cable cars.

Many of the snaps have been put into the new 83-page book, ‘Raising the Wire’, which has taken four years to assemble and publish.

He said: “I was doing some walking around the Matlock area and I saw the work happening and thought it would make a good project.

“I got permission off the cable car director and was able to get close. I still go every two or three months to see what is happening. I’ve been giving it as a slide lecture for nearly 30 years and I thought the next step was to write the book.”

Opened in 1984, the cable car was the first ever alpine cable car in Britain, and is more than half a kilometre in length, climbing 169 metres. The Heights of Abraham company has since become a consultant for other cable car systems, and was also responsible for the passenger pods on the London Eye.

“They are the leading specialists,” added Chris.

“The cable car at Matlock Bath is just a great feat of engineering and at the time there was nothing like that happening anywhere else.

“There’s a lot of interest in the lectures, I wouldn’t say I’m the expert in this but I have quite a lot of knowledge.”

Despite lecturing part time and working as a countryside ranager at Shipley Park, he has plans to write a further book, focussing on industrial archeology in the East Midlands.

Meanwhile, his booke is being stocked at Bridge News in Matlock, Hassop in Bakewell, Scarthin Books in Cromford and Brierlow Bar Bookstore, priced £7.95.