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Latest news, blogs and updates.
The people and businesses at the heart of Buxton’s town centre are set to be celebrated in ‘Our Street’ – a new photography exhibition at the Buxton Pump Room … Read More
A is for Arnemtiae, 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.
… Read More
We’re excited to invite applications for two new Visitor Services officer and Host work placements with the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust.
Thanks to the Kickstart Scheme two new young people will be able to work in our friendly and passionate visitor services team, a great opportunity to gain work experience in a growing heritage and tourism charity.
If you’re age 16 to 24 and in receipt of Universal Credit, find out more about the role and follow the link to apply online! … Read More
Next month we start our series of online heritage talks, with a lively and engaging (and thoroughly-researched!) history of English spas with author Melanie King. With her new book ‘The Secret History of English Spas’ hot off the press (and in stock at the Pump Room), we are looking forward to hearing Melanie speak about a topic very close to our hearts! … Read More
About the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust
The redevelopment and restoration of The Crescent, Natural Baths and Pump Room secured major investments of over £50 million which included 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 contributed over £2.5 million.
A small part of the overall funding package supported the work of the Trust until 2021.
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 opened the Buxton Crescent Visitor Experience – a new visitor attraction which celebrates 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 in partnership with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and other local organisations.
We are pleased to have our events programme up-and-running again, with the added glory of 60 days of events and tours annually in the magnificent Assembly Rooms, starting in November 2021.
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 Duke of Devonshire – Patron
Jennifer Spencer – Chair
Cllr Tony Kemp (Derbyshire County Council)
David Lowther (Chair of Trading Company Board)
Alice Martin (Chair of Assets Advisory Board)
Lady Lynn McLoughlin
Dr Sarah Rawlinson
Cllr Jean Todd (High Peak Borough Council)
The Duke of Devonshire
History - The Crescent
The Crescent was built between 1779 and 1789, to the design of John Carr of York. It was created 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 compete 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
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: email@example.com 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
Janet Byers recalls the cold water treatments in the Natural Baths
Nick Laurence MD of Medussa Stonemasonry discusses the front and back of the Crescent
Scott Hammond – Architect talks about the bath water
Images reproduced with kind permission from Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Derbyshire County Council.
The Crescent is now completed and open. The majority of the building is part of the Ensana Buxton Crescent Health Spa hotel (including parts of the thermal mineral baths). The Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust manage a visitor attraction within the Crescent, the Buxton Visitor Centre in the Victorian Pump Room opposite, and have access for events in the Assembly Rooms for 60 days a year.
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 www.buxtoncrescentexperience.com 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.