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Our new visitor experience tells the stories of Buxton, The Crescent, its famous water and the many people who came to seek its cure. 

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About the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust

The redevelopment and restoration of The Crescent, Natural Baths and Pump Room have secured major investments of over £50 million. These include a £23.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, over £20.5 million in private funding from the Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa Co Ltd, a £2 million grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partner-ship and more than £0.6 million from Historic England. Between them, High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council are also contributing over £2.5 million.

A development company is currently carrying out the major capital restoration works and the hotel will be run by the hotel company involved in the project. A small part of the overall funding package will support the work of the Trust until 2020.

Following completion of the project the Trust will be responsible for the long-term preservation of the buildings and for running the visitor experience.  The Trust is a separate and independent entity and will receive no long term public funding.

The Trust was established with the vision of creating an inspiring and sustainable Visitor Experience for residents and visitors alike.  As well as working on the restoration and reopening of the Buxton Pump Room as the Buxton Visitor Centre, the Trust are opening the Visitor Experience – a new visitor attractions which will celebrate the town’s rich spa heritage, fascinating Crescent characters and the major restoration and renaissance of the Crescent. The important shared heritage and history of the Crescent and Chatsworth will also be explored with support from the Trust’s Patron, the Duke of Devonshire.

As well as programming a year round events programme at the Pump Room and beyond, the Trust organise learning visits for schools and groups inpartnership with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Poole’s Cavern. 

As soon as we are able (Post COVID-19) we will have our events programme up-and-running again, with the added glory of 60 days of events and tours annually in the magnificent Assembly Room (coming soon)

Our Charitable aims​

The charity’s objects are specifically restricted to the following:   

(a) For the public benefit to advance education on the subjects of: (i) Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa;
(ii) the history of Buxton and its surrounding area;
(iii) the history of other thermal spas and thermal spa towns;
(iv) the history of health and medicine (b) Promoting the preservation and heritage of the physical and natural environment of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa and its surroundings.

The Trustees

The Duke of Devonshire – Patron

Jennifer Spencer – Chair

Tina Heathcote

Tony Kemp

Dr Sarah Rawlinson

John Scampion

Jean Todd

Special Advisor

Richard Tuffrey

The Duke of Devonshire


Project partners

The Buxton Crescent project has been a huge collaborative effort over many years with a strong group of dedicated partners.  With the restoration and refurbishment finally completed, the following organisations have been integral to making Buxton’s dreams come true:

Supported and sponsored by

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 Pump Room

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.

Oral History Project - Present From The Past

Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Buxton & District U3A and Discover Buxton have been working on a project since 2016 to capture memories and create an audio archive for the Crescent, Pump Room, Natural Baths and town.
Buxton’s ‘Present from the Past’ project has been capturing stories, sound-bites and audio snap-shots of the town and are effectively helping to bring the rich history of Buxton to life.
These recordings courtesy of Anne Rogerson and Viv Doyle.

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: or call: 01298 214577

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
Nick Laurence MD of Medussa Stonemasonry discusses the front and back of the Crescent


Images reproduced with kind permission from Buxton Museum and Art GalleryDerbyshire County Council.


The Crescent Experience, Hotel and Spa will open in 2020.

Pay and Display Parking bays are located on The Square by Buxton Opera House.
Free Parking is available after 6pm.

Town Centre Car Parks:

  • Buxton Town Hall
  • Pavilion Gardens
  • Spring Gardens Shopping Centre

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 will be located on the ground floor and in cellar spaces of The Buxton Crescent.

It will tell the story of this remarkable building, it’s restoration, and the fascinating characters involved in it’s story.

Visitors can also discover more about the town’s history, spa heritage and famous liquid asset.

When an opening date is confirmed, tickets for the Experience will be available via our website or from the Buxton Visitor Centre in The Pump Room.

The Trust is a registered charity that has been established to help preserve the stunning Crescent buildings and to create and operate an inspiring visitor experience in The Crescent and Visitor Centre. Find out more about the Trust here.

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