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A Buxton Alphabet Competition – Celebrate your best bit of Buxton with a poem and a picture

If Manchester can have an alphabet, why not Buxton too?

Download a competition template here.

Enter by the 6th March for a chance to see your words and images on display in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

In 1906, writer and illustrator, Roger Oldham, published a book called ‘The Manchester Alphabet’, filling it with 26 humorous poems and illustrations inspired by Manchester, a different one for each letter of the alphabet.

‘A Manchester Alphabet’ takes the reader on a poetic journey around Edwardian Manchester from Ancoats to the (Bellevue) Zoo, via The Guardian, Whit Week Walks and Trams.

Almost 110 years later, Louise Clennell, researching the Manchester Society of Archictect’s Library, came across Oldhams’ small booklet on the shelves of the Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections. Inspired by the booklet’s humour and charm, she developed a partnership between the Special Collections Museum, the Manchester Writing School and the Manchester School of Art to produce and publish ‘A New Manchester Alphabet’ a snapshot of the city in 2015.

A is for Arnemetiae, B is for Buxton FC, C is for Crescent, D is for?

Finding out about the Manchester Alphabets got us thinking; what would a Buxton Alphabet look like? What would the people of Buxton include in a Buxton Alphabet created in 2022?

Our team in the Buxton Visitor Centre and Buxton Visitor Experience share top tips about Buxton everyday. We are always looking for ways to raise awareness of different places in the town that people can visit and enjoy; which is why we are launching this competition – to connect and celebrate the unique things about Buxton.

The  last two years have been hard and difficult in all sorts of ways. But an experience that many people have shared is feeling a greater appreciation and connection with the parks, places and shops close by. As we begin 2022 with cautious optimism, it feels like the right time to champion these places and celebrate being able to visit them again.

How do I enter?

Download the competition template here. Pick your place or choose a letter and get researching and creating. The competition is open to people of all ages, community groups and of course schools (we’ve already sent an email direct to local schools inviting them to get involved).

How do I submit my entry?

Entries can be handed in or posted to the Pump Room or Buxton Museum by Sunday 6th March. You can choose to do entries for as many letters as you like – from one letter to all 26.

We prefer a paper copy of your entry,  ‘the real thing’, but if it is easier for you to scan and email your entry please send to learn@buxtoncrescenttrust.org


Our judging panel will be looking for entries which celebrate and capture the spirit of places in Buxton.  Humorous, charming and imaginative responses are all welcomed. We need a good spread of letters – will anybody choose a Y or Z or even a K for Buxton?  Judges will ensure that each winning entry contributes to the creation of a whole Buxton Alphabet from A-Z. And each letter is represented.

What do I win?

The winning entries will be put on display in Buxton Museum and there will be a celebration event for winners and their families at the museum on Saturday 26th March.


Why take part? Top ten potential reasons...

  1. A way of raising awareness of a place or business you care about
  2. A reason to go out and about and explore Buxton and the surrounding landscape
  3. A chance to have your work on display in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
  4. A creative stimulus for writing and making art
  5. A reason to do some historical research
  6. A great conversation starter
  7. Something to do if you are isolating (the drawing and writing bit, not the out and about bit)
  8. A fun family activity
  9. A way of expressing your affection for a bit of Buxton
  10. Be part of a project that inspires pride in Buxton
  11. A cure for insomnia?(unverified claim) We also know a number of people who have helped themselves get to sleep at night trying to think of an A-Z of Buxton places.

Some extra inspiration

You can see each page of Roger Oldham’s original Manchester Alphabet on Manchester Art Gallery’s website here: https://manchesterartgallery.org/collections/title/?mag-object-49290

A Manchester Alphabet - P For Picture Gallery Roger Oldham 1871-1916 © Manchester Art Gallery
A Manchester Alphabet - P For Picture Gallery Roger Oldham 1871-1916 © Manchester Art Gallery

Discover how 8 Manchester primary schools created their own Manchester Alphabet here:


‘A Manchester Schools Alphabet’ was a partnership project between Historic England Heritage Schools and the Special Collections Museum at Manchester Metropolitan University.

G is for Green bank Playing Fields, from the ‘A Manchester Schools Alphabet’ project.
G is for Green bank Playing Fields, from the ‘A Manchester Schools Alphabet’ project.

Our visitor experience...

tells the stories of Buxton, The Crescent, its famous water and the many people who came to seek its cure. Click here to read more.

Our Premium Guided Tours set off in the morning, where you can dive deep into the rich history of our area aided by our warm and wonderful hosts.

For those who prefer to discover at their own pace, the Experience opens to Self-Guided visitors at 1pm.

Large group? Or a sensory tour during quiet times? Please contact us and we can help get that arranged.