Monsal Head Viaduct Derbyshire

Was Ruskin on the wrong track?

Two centuries of John Ruskin’s influence over art and culture will be the topic of debate this October in Buxton — somewhere the writer famously said you shouldn’t be in a hurry to get to…

Ruskin, a prominent Victorian social thinker and philanthropist , was horrified by the construction of The Headstone Viaduct in Monsal Dale by the London Midland Railway in 1863, saying: “It has ruined the valley so that every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour and every fool from Bakewell can be in Buxton by lunchtime”.

Nowadays the graceful viaduct is a tourist attraction in itself, although the fools from Buxton and Bakewell now have to drive to each other’s towns after the line was axed in the Beeching cuts of 1968.

The Big BIF Weekend (October 18 to 20) will feature expert analysis of Ruskin’s legacy.

Whether Ruskin would be happier now with a trip along the A6 instead of a train ride might be one question for the panel…