The official reopening of The Pump Room took place on Monday 24th June, the celebratory event was attended by over 80 guests including project partners, funders, sponsors, volunteers and representatives from local organisations and groups. A restored bust of the
Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust are developing a major partnership with the University of Derby. Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, commented that “I am delighted to embark on this five year working partnership with the Buxton Crescent
History - The Crescent
The Crescent was erected between 1779 and 1789, to the design of John Carr of York. It was built to provide good quality accommodation in the town and was intended to become the principal attraction and centrepiece of the Fifth Duke of Devonshire’s attempts to make Buxton vie with Bath as a spa of national importance. It was serviced by the Great Stables, also by Carr, situated to the north of the Crescent, which later became the Devonshire Royal Hospital and is now the Buxton campus for the University of Derby.
The Crescent originally featured two purpose built hotels – the Crescent Hotel within the East pavilion and the St Ann’s Hotel in the West Pavilion. Six lodging houses separated the two hotels, these and the hotels provided accommodation for Georgian aristocrats and elite visitors who travelled to Buxton to bathe in and drink the restorative thermal mineral waters. The magnificent Assembly Room was the venue for balls, social gatherings.
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.
History - The Pumproom
The Grade II listed Pump Room was constructed in 1894, replacing John Carr’s structure it was designed by Henry Currey (1820-1900) as the answer to increasing congestion at the well. The building cost £5,000 and had been commissioned by the 7th Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish (1808-1891). However, the Duke died before its completion so it was opened by his son 8th Duke Spencer Cavendish (1833- 1908) who in a speech to the people of Buxton noted the previous buildings inadequate size and that the town’s inhabitants and visitors “were not satisfied with being merely cured; they must be cured in their own way and at the least possible inconvenience to themselves”.
Initially the Pump Room was a success, offering both water and a fashionable place to relax and commune. However, from the 1950s efforts to reduce running costs took precedence and by the 1970s the building was repurposed as Buxton’s information centre.
Access to the water was still possible, but when the building became a Micrarium, where visitors viewed tiny exhibits through microscopes, the well finally shut. The Pump Room closed to the public in 1997. The space was used for events during 2017 and 2018 then reopened officially as Buxton’s new Visitor Centre in early 2019.
The memories collected will be deposited at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and the Derbyshire Record Office and be part of the Musuem’s website Wonders of the Peak as well as help inform the development of the Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience.
The fascinating recollections will also support future research and inspire education and community projects and events in the future.
Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery are grateful for the support the Bingham Trust has given this project.
If you have memories of the Crescent, Pump Room, Natural Baths or town you would like to share please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01298 38441
We hope you enjoy listening to the following oral history clips.
Oliver Gomersall remembers bathing in the Natural Baths in the 1930’s
Lyn’s memories of the chandeliers in the Crescent Assembly Room
Nick Lawrence MD of Medussa Stonemasonry on the challenges of working on the Crescent
Scott Hammond – Architect describes the Crescent’s structure above the river Wye
Janet Byers recalls the cold water treatments in the Natural Baths
Nick Laurence MD of Mesussa Stonemasonry discusses the front and back of the Crescent
Scott Hammond – Architect talks about the bath water
Photo Gallery & Videos
Images reproduced with kind permission from Buxton Museum and Art Gallery: Derbyshire County Council
The Crescent Experience, Hotel and Spa will open in Spring 2020.
Due to the busy restoration and fit out schedule, Tours are not possible at present . The Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience will tell the story of the restoration and talks about the restoration will take place in the Pump Room in 2019 and 2020.
The innovative visitor experience located on the ground floor and in cellar spaces of The Crescent will tell the story of this remarkable building, it’s restoration, and fascinating characters. Visitors can also discover more about the town’s spa heritage and famous liquid asset.
Tickets for the Experience can be purchased from our website www.buxtoncrescentexperience.com or from the Buxton Visitor Centre in The Pump Room from summer 2020.
The Trust is a registered charity that has been established to preserve the stunning Crescent buildings and to create and operate an inspiring visitor experience in The Crescent and Visitor Centre in The Pump Room. There will be a year round programme of events, Friends and volunteer programme. The Trust will be run by people who are passionate about the Crescent, our heritage and the area. For further details on our charitable aims, fundraising and trustees please visit www.buxtoncrescenttrust.org
You could become a Friend of Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust. As a Friend you will receive invitations to special events and offers in The Pump Room and Visitor Experience. Your membership will help us to achieve our aspirational aims.
We also have a volunteer programme, your time and skills are extremely valuable to the Trust. We have interesting volunteering opportunities including support at a wide range of events in The Pump Room and magnificent Assembly Room, research, fundraising and administration.
Local businesses and Corporations can also benefit from becoming involved with our events programme, fundraising campaigns and sponsorship opportunities.
For further details please email email@example.com of phone: 01298 38441
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