BUXTON

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Dates: 7 Nov 2008, 26 Apr 2009, 22 Mar 2011 & 29 Sept 2014,

 

Pavillion
Buxton Pavilion


Pavillion spacer Opera House
Conservatory   Buxton Opera House adjoins the Pavilion Complex
Pavilion Gardens spacer Opera House
Pavilion Gardens complex   Opera House cupolas
Baths   Crescent
The Baths from part way up the hill   The Crescent, by John Carr of York
Station Road   Church
Station Road   Church of St. John the Baptist near the Opera House
Dome   Inside Dome
The Roof of the Stables. Now University of Derby   Inside the Dome
Town Hall   Old Court House
Town Hall Roof   Old Court House

The Hot Springs at Buxton, with a constant temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, were known at least from the time of the Romans. They had a Fort at Silverlands on the hill above the town in the late 1st century but later a spa and settlement grew up close to the springs and was named Aqua Arnemetiae. The remains of Roman Baths were found near St. Ann's Well. The springs continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages by pilgrims who came to the old well chapel of St. Anne and nearby were hung up the sticks and crutches abandoned by grateful visitors. These relics were removed in the time of Henry VIII and the chapel close but it was in use again in the time of Elizabeth I. Mary Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) was brought to Buxton for her health and was housed by the Earl of Shrewsbury at what is now the Old Hall Hotel. It was said that on her last visit she scratched on a window with her ring the words:

Buxton, whose fame thy milkwarm waters tell,
Whom I perhaps shall see no more, farewell.

The old hall was rebuilt in 1670 bus has a few remains of the older house including the pillared entrance.

Buxton became a fashionable spa town in the 18th century when "taking the waters" was popular among the elite. Whether the waters relieved any medical conditions or not, visiting spa town gave an excuse for socialising and the food and drink consumed would not alleviate the gout that drove many to seek the cure in the first place. In the case of Buxton it was the 5th, 6th and 7th Dukes of Devonshire at nearby Chatsworth who developed the town. The old town lies at the top of the hill whereas the spa was developed at the bottom of the hill by the springs. The new developments date from 1779 when the 5th Duke had a plan to develop Buxton along the lines of Bath. He engaged the architect, John Carr of York, to build the Crescent near St. Anne's well at the foot of St. Ann's Cliff. It is smaller than the one in Bath but is semi-circular, 57 feet wide, 360 feet long with 42 pilastres and 378 windows. It was partly occupied by 1786 and was used for shops, lodgings and two hotels - St. Anns in the West Pavilion and The Crescent in the East Pavilion. After completion, the central section also became an hotel called The Centre.

The Crescent Hotel closed in the early part of the 20th century. It was used as a geriatric annex to the Devonshire Royal Hospital before being bought by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) in the 1970s. DCC used it as offices and the public library until 1992 when it was closed due to structural defects.The St Ann’s Hotel carried on trading until 1989 but closed pending full refurbishment. There is now a plan to convert the Crescent to an 80 room spa hotel.

Sources

The Buildings of England, Derbyshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, revised by Elizabeth Williamson, Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09591-0
The King's England, Derbyshire, by Arthur Mee, first published in 1937, 6th impression 1951

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Delights of Derbyshire

Craig Thornber, England, United Kingdom    Main Site Address:  https://www.thornber.net/

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