Buxton Old Town

Just outside the NatWest Bank and next to the Victorian terrace shelter, at the western end of Spring Gardens, there is a large curved building, which was once the Royal Hotel. It was built during the period of 1849 -52 on the site of earlier premises known as The Angel. The building was eventually taken over by Buxton Lime Firms in 1914, who owned quarries 2 miles away to the north-east, at Peak Dale. Walking up the hill towards the marketplace on Terrace Road, there is Buxton's longest surviving family businesses, that of the Potters.

Further along the houses reflect the Victorian era that they were built in, the time when wealthy industrialists and merchants from far away made Buxton their home of choice, away from the noise and dirt of their everyday surroundings. The Slopes, the park opposite makes a great view to study the windows and glorious architecture, and to take time to reflect on how life must have been like back then, but the road is much busier than it used to be.

Pass St Anne's Church RC on the left and reach the fine building that now houses the famous Buxton's museum and art galleries. The art Gallery holds frequent displays of work from artists on an international scale and the museum offers an excellent insight into how life in the area through the ages, benefited from waters, and dates back to a time long before mankind ruled the planet. The ground floor shop is a great source of local information stocking books, postcards, souvenirs, but also mineral specimens and toys and books suitable for children.

The market place is next on the list to visit, one of the oldest shopping areas of the town with buildings here dating back to the eighteenth century. Note The Eagle hotel, rebuilt from an earlier construction by the guidance of the Duke of Devonshire during 1760. The Market Cross dates back from the fifteenth century and once stood in front of the town hall. It was moved to its present site around 1947. The well next to it is also worth a look, which is now disused as a supply, but it still plays a part in the annual well dressings, during the month of July.

The market place is packed full of traders on Tuesdays and Saturdays, every week come rain or shine. The modern day traders don't suffer as badly during the winter months as their predecessors once did, as there has been little snow compared to those prior to the 1990s, but trade has now been boosted by the addition of special products from the farming community and the farmers market on certain days, bring in a lot extra customers. The market traders sharing their wares with the multitude of shops which surrounds the marketplace and the atmosphere is really welcoming.

Long ago, this part of Buxton benefited from the many horse-drawn coaches which travelled through the local cities and towns during the 19th century. Carrying passengers and mail to Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield and London, the coaches have multiple names which conjure up the exploration of the period, The Champion, Peak Guide, Peveril of the Peak, Lady Of The Lake, Enterprise and Duke of Rutland.

Up the High Street, the recently refurbished Sun Inn and the Cheshire Cheese show architecture, which was typical of beings which trading during these early coaching days and the Eagle, before becoming a hotel, was also a coaching inn.

On the corner of Bath Road behind the White Swan pub, Buxton's oldest and smallest surviving churches, St Anne's, is thought to have been built during the early part of the 17th century. Making our way back to Spring Gardens, Pavilion Gardens highlights at lot of recent refurbishment carried out during the past few years and across the great lake, the new boathouse and play area for children is testament to this.

A little further up from Burlington Road to Broadwalk, the little railway features something from the Victorian era, the sundial which sits near to the old site of the bowling green and croquet lawns opposite the conservatory. New railings which keep walkers and trains apart on the bridge, which spans the smaller of the garden lakes and also the tunnel, which acts as storage space for the trains at night are newer features.

Cross in front of the Old Hall hotel and leave the gardens behind you, going past the tourist information office on your left and ST Anne's Well is well on your right, where Turner's Memorial comes into sight and finally back to the NatWest bank once again.







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