Heights of Abraham Summit Team celebrate 50 years since the restoration of the Estate

The Summit team gathered at the Heights of Abraham this morning to present Chairman Andrew and Vanessa Pugh with a special commemorative cake, bubbly and flowers, marking the actual 50th anniversary of when the Pugh’s took over the stewardship of the 60 acre estate and began an ambitious restoration project which has led to the Heights being recognised as one of the UK’s premier visitor attractions.

50 years ago, on May 20th 1974 Andrew and Vanessa Pugh took over at the Heights, and began to build their business together. The estate was in a poor state at the time, with no proper paths, an electric supply precariously fastened across the trees, a dilapidated Victoria Prospect Tower, and just the front part of the Great Masson Cavern open to the public. For the first few months, with no electricity in the cavern, Andrew would push a wheelbarrow up the hill to bring paraffin to light the cavern passages for guests to safely navigate.

The restoration period (as Andrew Pugh calls it) lasted for ten years, culminating in the installation of the UK’s first cable car gondola system in 1984.

Today, managers, summit supervisors, catering, retail and cavern teams  gathered at the summit to mark the 50th anniversary before opening to the public at 10.00am. Live music and living history actors were added to the list of usual attractions, exhibitions and facilities to make the day that little bit more special.

Andrew said:
“We are delighted at how popular the Heights has become, attracting visitors from all over the World. It’s very satisfying to see the potential we saw in Matlock Bath all those years ago has been rewarded. We wouldn’t be where we are today were it not for the support of local residents and the authorities, we’ve had a wonderful life – so far!”

The Heights is open every day until 3rd November 2024, before closing for a short period in order to prepare for the first ever “Lights of Abraham” Winter Illuminations Trail which begins on November 22nd and runs until the end of the year. See website for full details www.heightsofabraham.com

Posted on 21 May 2024

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Georgia Cowdrey