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Derbyshire Blue John

Ford Blue JohnThe late Trevor Ford, had a well-earned reputation as the geological guru of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Among many other things he was the acknowledged expert on the fluorospar variety known as Blue John (see Distant Thunder, August 2017)—a mineral prized for its decorative qualities and found only in veins in the caverns and mines of Treak Cliff near the Peak District town of Castleton in Derbyshire. Ford's book, Derbyshire Blue John, billed as the only comprehensive account of Blue John stone ever written, has long been out of print. Now thanks to the efforts of Tony Waltham and Noel Worley, this classic guide has been resurrected and given new life.

This new edition covers the same ground as Ford's original, but it is much more modern, clearer, brighter and slightly larger format. The text, based on Ford's original, has been edited, corrected, brought up-to-date and augmented with additional information on the origin of the mineral and its colour. The original book included a mixture of black-and-white and colour illustrations. This new, all-colour edition includes more than 100 additional high-quality colour photographs, with the result that the mineralogy, as well as the decorative properties of Blue John are beautifully and clearly displayed. For mineral fans and those who love decorative stone, this book is a must-have for the pictures alone.

But, even more valuable, to my mind, is that with its concise text, clear colour geological sketch maps and block diagrams, this book also serves as an excellent pocket guide to the geology, geological history and mineral mines of this classic and popular tourist area.

Published by the East Midlands Geological Society, the book is currently available at gift shops in the Blue John caverns, outlets in Castleton and the surrounding area, as well as online at With such high-quality production available at a bargain price, it's a real impulse buy that will open the eyes of many visitors to the fascinating geology and mineralogy of this classic area.

Reviewed by Nina Morgan

DERBYSHIRE BLUE JOHN, by Trevor Ford (Tony Waltham & Noel Worley, eds), Published by East Midlands Geological Society, 80 pp. List Price: £6.50 W: