Architectural heritage that owes existence to the Dukes of Devonshire, wealthy residents, tourism and the church
There are few towns in the north of England that can boast such a diverse architectural inheritance, developed through the patronage of the Dukes of Devonshire, wealthy residents, tourism and the church.
A walk around the town will introduce you to the grandeur of the 18th Century, the Victorian opulence of Romanesque and Vernacular styles and splendid early examples of Northern Arts and Crafts. The architects of the day became nationally recognised, the most important of whom we can only briefly introduce.
The giant of Buxton’s architects is John Carr of York. He designed and engineered the magnificent Crescent and Great Stables (1780-88). The Duke also commissioned John White to design The Square (1806 – 07) and St John’s church (1811). Joseph Paxton, one time gardener to the Chatsworth estate, planned much of Buxton including the Gardens and Circular Park Road Estate, the Railway Station, Walks and what is now the Country Park.
The ‘building boom’ started after 1850 with a number of prolific architects and builders. Henry Currey’s Palace Hotel (1864-66) and Quadrant are outstanding examples of his work. Robert Rippon Duke was responsible for the formidable slate Dome, at 44.2 metres, one of the largest unsupported roofs in the world. He also designed the Devonshire Royal hospital (1879 - 82) which now forms the Buxton Campus of The University of Derby, the Pavilion’s Octagon (1876) and numerous private villas. The glass and iron Pavilion, or ‘winter gardens’, opened in 1871 was designed by Edward Milner and is reminiscent of Paxton’s Crystal Palace.
William Bryden built the Union Club (now the Club House) in1886, many of the magnificent villas in Burlington Road, Milnthorpe Homes and the Cottage hospital. The Northern Arts and Crafts movement owes much to some splendid private dwellings and the Church of St Mary (1914) designed, amongst others by George Garlick and the partnership of Parker & Unwin who worked subsequently with the ‘Garden City movement’ (Letchworth and Welwyn.) Mention must also be made of our much admired Opera House (1903) by Frank Matcham the renowned theatre designer who also built the London Palladium, the Coliseum and Hackney Empire.
Why not take the Heritage tour or one of Buxton’s guided Walks.
More information is available from the Tourist Information Centre in Buxton. Tel: 01298 25106