Infobox UK place
official_name= Buxton
country= England
region= East Midlands
population= 25,000
os_grid_reference= SK059735
latitude= 53.259
longitude= -1.911
map_type= Derbyshire
post_town= BUXTON
postcode_area= SK
postcode_district= SK17
dial_code= 01298
constituency_westminster= High Peak
shire_district=High Peak

static_image_caption=Buxton from Solomon's Temple looking northwards

Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, England. Located close to the county boundary with Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south, Buxton is described as "the gateway to the Peak District National Park". A municipal borough until 1974, Buxton was then merged with other localities including Glossop, lying primarily to the north, to form the local government district and borough of High Peak within the county of Derbyshire. Buxton is within the sphere of influence of Greater Manchester due to its close proximity to the county.


Built on the boundary of the Carboniferous limestone and the Derbyshire shale and gritstone, the original settlement was largely of limestone construction, of which only the parish church of St Anne, built in 1625, remains. The present buildings, of locally quarried sandstone, mostly date from the late eighteenth century.

The river Wye has carved an extensive limestone cavern at the South edge of the town, known as Poole's Cavern, that is open to the public for viewing along more than 300 metres of chambers.


Built on the River Wye, and overlooked by Axe Edge Moor, Buxton has a long history as a spa town due to its geothermal spring which rises at a constant temperature of 28 °C. The source of the spring is behind Eagle Parade and piped to St Ann's Well (often mistaken for the source) opposite The Crescent near the town centre.

Each summer the wells are decorated according to the local tradition of well dressing. The Well Dressing weekend has developed to become something of a town carnival, including live music and funfair.

Initially developed by the Romans around AD 78, the settlement was known as Aquae Arnemetiae (or the spa of the goddess of the grove), although little evidence remains to be seen today. The town largely grew in importance in the late 18th century when it was developed by the Dukes of Devonshire, with a second resurgence a century later as the Victorians were drawn to the reputed healing properties of the waters.

The Dukes of Devonshire have been closely involved with Buxton since 1780, when the 5th Duke used the profits from his copper mines to develop the town as a spa in the style of Bath. Their ancestor Bess of Hardwick had taken one of her four husbands, the Earl of Shrewsbury, to "take the waters" at Buxton shortly after he became the jailer of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1569, and they took Mary there in 1573—she called Buxton "La Fontagne de Bogsby", but stayed at the site of the Old Hall Hotel.

Instrumental in the popularity of Buxton was the recommendation by Dr. Erasmus Darwin of the waters at Buxton and Matlock to Josiah Wedgwood I. The Wedgwood family subsequently often journeyed to Buxton on holiday and recommended the area to their friends.Fact|date=October 2008 Two of Charles Darwin's half-cousins, Edward Levett Darwin and Reginald Darwin also decided to settle there. [Darwin, Charles, Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith. [http://books.google.com/books?id=ao2I3-8PXBgC&pg=PA265&lpg=PA265&dq=levett+darwin&source=web&ots=d85Lfkaacf&sig=eKy-YqttkVTw6jlbYRTKsj27p0I&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin",] Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985 ISBN 0521255872]

Notable architecture

*The Crescent (1780–1784) was modelled on Bath's Royal Crescent by John Carr along with the neighbouring irregular octagon and colonnade of the Great Stables. The crescent incorporates a grand assembly room with a fine painted ceiling. Nearby stands the elegant and imposing monument to Samuel Turner (1805–1878), treasurer of the Devonshire Hospital and Buxton Bath Charity, built in 1879 and accidentally lost for the latter part of the 20th century during construction work before being found and restored in 1994.

*The Devonshire (1780–1789) was created from the Great Stables, converted by Henry Currey, in 1859. It became the Devonshire Royal Hospital (now the Devonshire Campus of the University of Derby). Later phases of the conversion were by local architect Robert Rippon Duke including his design for what was the world's largest unsupported dome with a diameter of 44.2 m, beating the Pantheon (43 m) and St Peter's Basilica (42 m) in Rome, and St Paul's Cathedral (34m). However, this record is now routinely beaten by space frame domes such as the Georgia Dome (256 m). The main building and its surrounding Victorian villas are now part of the University of Derby.

*Buxton Opera House was designed by Frank Matcham in 1903 and is the highest opera house in the country. He was a prolific theatrical architect and also designed several London theatres, including the London Palladium, the London Coliseum, and the Hackney Empire. It is attached to the Pavilion Gardens, Octagonal Hall (built in 1875) and the smaller Paxton Theatre. The Pavilion Gardens contain 23 acres of gardens and ponds and were opened in 1871. Opposite is an original Penfold octagonal post box (one of only 101 remaining).

*Buxton railway station was designed by Joseph Paxton, and who also designed the layout of the Park Road circular estate. He is perhaps more famous for his design of the Crystal Palace in London.

*The Natural Baths, by Henry Currey, sit on the site of the original Roman Baths. The building was opened in 1854 and re-developed as an arcade in 1987, featuring a barrel valuted stained glass canopy—the largest stained glass window in Britain—designed by Brian Clarke.

*The Pump Room, also by Henry Currey, was built in 1884 opposite The Crescent. Visitors could 'take the waters' until 1981. Between 1981 and 1995 the building housed the unique Micrarium exhibition. [ [http://www.micrariumenterprises.co.uk/page41.html/ Micrarium Enterprises] ] The building is being refurbished as part of the National Lottery-funded Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa re-development. Beside it, added in 1940, stands St Ann’s Well.

*The 122-room Palace Hotel, built in 1868, is a prominent feature of the Buxton skyline, situated on the hill above the railway station. It was designed by Henry Currey, architect to the 7th Duke of Devonshire. [ [http://www.paramount-hotels.co.uk/hotels/northern-england/paramount-palace-hotel/ Palace Hotel's website] ]

*The Old Hall Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Buxton. It was owned by the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot. He and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, were the "jailers" of Mary Queen of Scots. She came to Buxton several times to take the waters, the last of which was in 1584. The present building dates from 1670 and has a five-bay front with a Tuscan doorway. [ [http://quest.bris.ac.uk/workshops/annual06/Buxton.pdf Information about Buxton buildings] ]

*The town is overlooked by two highly visible landmarks; atop Grinlow Hill (1441 ft above sea level) is Grinlow Tower (locally also called "Solomons Temple"), a two-storey granite, crooked, crenelated folly built in 1834 by Solomon Mycock to provide work for the towns unemployed and later restored in 1996 after a lengthy closure to the public. In the other direction, on Corbar hill (1433 ft above sea level) stands Corbar Cross, a tall, simple, wooden crucifix given to the Roman Catholic Church by the Duke of Devonshire in 1950, to commemorate Holy Year.


The annual Buxton Festival, Four Four Time music festival, and International Gilbert and Sullivan Festivals are held in the refurbished Opera House.

The Buxton Festival, founded in 1979, which runs for about two weeks in mid-July, is particularly noted for its Handel productions and the presentations of rare operas, with top-quality artists and orchestras. Running alongside it is the Buxton Festival Fringe. It is popular as a warm-up for the Edinburgh Fringe, and it now claims to be the largest 'true' fringe festival in the UK and is the second-largest Arts festival in the country after Edinburgh, which is itself the largest annual festival in the world.

The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, founded in 1994, which runs for over three weeks from the end of July through most of August, is an adjudicated competition among amateur G&S societies and also presents professional performances and fringe events.

In 1992, American actor Carl Weathers visited Buxton and declared it to be his "favourite town in the north of England". [Derbyshire Evening News, 14 June 1992]

Since 2004, the Opera House and the neighbouring Pavilion Gardens have also hosted the annual Four Four Time music festival which sees a wide variety of performers appearing over one week in February.

Buxton has a range of other cultural activities including [http://www.screenbuxton.co.uk Screen Buxton] , an innovative new film club.


Buxton's mixed economy includes revenue derived from the commercialisation of the local spring waters, bottled and marketed by the Buxton Mineral Water Company (now owned by Nestlé Waters UK). Buxton Blue is a blue cheese with "PDO" status that can only be made in and around Buxton.

Other major economic activities include tourism and limestone quarrying. The presence of the opera house and the festivals in the summer generate a good deal of economic activity, and Buxton has a considerable number of hotels (including the large Palace Hotel), B&B establishments and restaurants. There is a pedestrian-only street, Spring Gardens, that caters to tourists; an enclosed mall with various stores, including a Marks & Spencer, and a market square in the town.

In 2004, Barclays Bank published a survey of its customers showing that the High Peak borough had the largest percentage year-on-year increase of people earning over £60,000 of anywhere in Britain.

Buxton is twinned with two other towns—Oignies in France and Bad Nauheim in Germany.


In the high land above the town there are two small motorcycle speedway stadia. The High Edge Raceway was the original home of the speedway team "Buxton High Edge Hitmen" in the mid-1990s before the team moved to the custom-built track immediately to the north of the original circuit. The original track in the High Edge Raceway was amongst the shortest and trickiest tracks in the UK. The custom-built track is of a more conventional shape and length. Buxton have been regular competitors in the Conference League. [Speedway in Derbyshire, You and Yesterday, Accessed on 16/12/2007 [http://www.youandyesterday.co.uk/articles/Speedway_in_Derbyshire] ] [Neil Hubbert, Victory for the Hitmen, 2 August 2007, Buxton Advertiser, [http://www.buxtonadvertiser.co.uk/speedway/Victory-for-Hitmen.3080737.jp] ]

There is also a local football team, Buxton F.C.; a rugby club, Buxton Rugby Club; and hockey club, Buxton Hockey Club, run by Peter Danson who also organises Blackpool Hockey Festival.Fact|date=August 2008


At 307 metres (1,000 feet) above sea level, Buxton is the highest market town in England. Alston, Cumbria also makes this claim (but lacks a "regular" market). Buxton has an annual rainfall (1959–1995) of 1,286 mm with a mean temperature (1959–1995) of 7.8 °C. The town is sometimes described by Derbyshire locals as being 'a top coat colder'.

Public transport

Buxton is served by a railway line with frequent trains to Stockport and the nearby city of Manchester. The journey from Buxton to Manchester city centre takes just under an hour. Like most busy towns, Buxton had two stations, but one was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Spring Gardens shopping centre. The trackbed of the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway has in part been utilized as a walk and cycleway called the Monsal Trail. Peak Rail, a heritage railway group, have restored the section from Rowsley to Matlock, with the long-term objective of trying to re-open back to Buxton.

The town's buses offer affordable travel into the Peak District National Park. Other buses run to the nearby towns of Whaley Bridge, Chapel en le Frith, New Mills and Glossop, and the 'Transpeak' coach service offers an hourly link to Taddington, Matlock, Derby and Nottingham. There is a Trent Bus directly from the Manchester Airport to Buxton. Other buses provide roughly two-hourly services linking Buxton with Stoke-on-Trent and Sheffield.

Famous Buxtonians

*Vera Brittain (1893–1970) — author of "Testament of Youth" and mother of Shirley Williams
*Tim Brooke-Taylor [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0111756/ Tim Brooke Taylor Biography at IMDb] ] — comedy actor
*Lloyd Cole— musician and songwriter, frontman of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
*Bruno Langley — actor in "Coronation Street"
*Elizabeth Spriggs — BAFTA nominated actress [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0819655/ Elizabeth Spriggs Biography at IMDB] ]
*Robert Stevenson — director of many Disney films including "Mary Poppins" [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0829038/ Robert Stevenson at IMDb] ]
*Dave Lee Travis [ [http://www.radiorewind.co.uk/dave_lee_travis_page.htm DLT Biography] ] — former BBC Radio 1 DJ, better known as DLT


External links

* [http://quest.bris.ac.uk/workshops/annual06/Buxton.pdf Information about Buxton]
* [http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/ Buxton Opera House]
* [http://www.visitbuxton.co.uk/ Visit Buxton.co.uk]
* [http://www.buxtonadvertiser.co.uk/ Buxton's local newspaper]
* [http://www.buxtonadvertiser.co.uk/news/VIDEO-SPECIAL-Crowds-flock-to.4286412.jp Buxton Carnival 2008 video footage (Buxton Advertiser)]
* [http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/ Buxton Festival Fringe]
* [http://www.musicalsolutions.com/buxton/hotels.htm Buxton lodging information]
* [http://www.trinitychurchbuxton.org.uk/useful/towerpicture.html 360° panoramic photo] taken from the top of the tower at Trinity Church in Buxton

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