Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

A brief history


The building was constructed as a hotel, commissioned by Samuel Hyde. Samuel specialised in balneology, a branch of therapy using cold water treatments (known as hydrotherapy) which incorporated some of the scientific approaches used in the conventional medicine of the era. The building was opened in 1885 as the Buxton House Hydropathic and re-named the Peak Hydropathic in 1887.


The hotel was never a success and changed hands several times during the early 1900s. In 1915 it became an annex to the Canadian Granville Military Hospital, which had taken over the Buxton Hydropathic on Broad Walk. 


In 1926 the Buxton Corporation purchased most of the building and the town’s Museum and Library, which had previously been located in the Town Hall, were relocated there in 1928 – the Museum to the ground floor and the Library to the first floor. 


Derbyshire County council took over responsibility for the building in 1968. Within five years, the Library moved to The Crescent and the Museum expanded into the vacant rooms on the first floor, opening the main art gallery there in 1978. 


What it is used for now?

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is visited by approximately 35,000 visitors each year. 


It offers you the opportunity to explore the impressive ‘Wonders of the Peak’ gallery, which showcases the heritage of the Peak District, and you will find a reconstructed Victorian study, which is dedicated to two men who had important links with the Museum – Sir William Boyd-Dawkins and Dr J. Wilfred Jackson.


You can also browse around two art galleries, offering exhibitions which are regularly changed throughout the year, and a retail area, offering a range of souvenirs/gifts from books to cuddly bears.


Did you know?

The Buxton House Hydropathic was constructed on land purchased from the Duke of Devonshire and a terrace of old cottages, which stood on the site, were incorporated into the building. 


One of the doctors who worked at the Peak Hydropathic during WWI was Frederick Banting, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for being the co-discoverer of insulin. 


First-time visitors to this building never cease to be amazed at the beauty of the Art Nouveau stained glass windows and doors, which were created for the Buxton Hydropathic by George Wragge.  


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.