Green Man Gallery
Green Man Gallery
A BRIEF HISTORY
The building was constructed in 1896 as an extension to the Peak Hydropathic Hotel. The architect of the extension was Charles Henry Heathcote, who designed many commercial buildings in Manchester and residential buildings in Buxton. Its purpose was to provide an elegant ballroom with additional bedroom accommodation above. The ballroom was constructed using new steel-frame technology. The ballroom was noteworthy for its unusual breadth at the time, made possible by the new construction material.
The Peak Hydropathic Hotel ceased business in the early 1920s and the building was sold to the local government authorities. The entire building was used during and immediately after World War 1 for the rehabilitation of Canadian service men recovering from “shell-shock” prior to repatriation. The former ballroom was used as a recreation room for the patients, providing snooker facilities and space for entertainments.
After World War 11, the former hotel building, by then owned by Buxton Corporation, was split into two parts – the original hotel and the Heathcote extension. The latter was bought by the local branch of the Royal British Legion, which renamed it Hardwick Hall. It was used as a clubhouse offering members regular dances, bingo, a bar and snooker facilities. This use ceased in 2012 and the building was put up for sale. In 2014, Hardwick Hall was sold to the Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust.
WHAT IS IT USED FOR NOW?
Approximately one-third of the building (ground floor, mezzanine and part of the first floor) is now leased by the Trust to Bridgehead Arts, which operates under the name of The Green Man Gallery. The building itself is renamed Hardwick Studios. The Green Man Gallery is free to enter and managed and run by a group of volunteer artists and craft specialists. They display their work for sale, and in some cases can be seen undertaking creative projects in the studios upstairs.
The ballroom of the original hotel is now used as an art gallery and a space for diverse activities such as guest exhibitions, performances and arts community events. These are generally related to arts, crafts, music of diverse genres, literature and theatre. Various classes take place in the upstairs Workshop Room (a former hotel bedroom) and the ballroom also hosts many community events.
The Gallery offers rentable meeting spaces and some beverages can be bought. It provides a venue for the Buxton Spa Art Prize competition, and for events staged during Buxton’s Fringe Festival. Both these take place in July.
DID YOU KNOW?
The building has suffered extensive decay for many years but still retains many period features, such as stained-glass windows, stairs, cornices and fireplaces. In due course, The Trevor Osborne Trust plans to make good the structure of the building, to restore the original features of interest and to develop its fuller use for community arts purposes.
The bay windows on the higher floors of the Gallery offer fine views of the town and surrounding countryside, due to the building’s elevated position and tall structure.