Buxton is well known for its thermal mineral waters and has been a spa town since the Roman period. During this time the town was called Aquae Arnemetia, which roughly translates as the water of the goddesses in the grove. Buxton’s thermal water and St Ann’s well were used in the Medieval era, and later gained status in the Elizabethan period with the patronage of Mary Queen of Scotts.
However it wasn’t until the eighteenth century and the building of the Crescent that the town’s reputation as a fashionable spa town was born. The Crescent was commisioned by the fifth Duke of Devonshire and built by the architect John Carr between 1780 and 1784. It housed hotels, lodging houses, shops and the all in important assembly rooms. When the accompanying Great Stables were finished in 1789, they were considered the finest stables in Europe. The stables later became the Devonshire Royal Hospital and the building is now part of the University of Derby.
The Victorian period saw further development in the town with new hotels and spa facilities being built. The Museum itself is housed in what was the Peak Hydropathic Hotel, one of many hydro hotels than existed.
We know that many of our visitors are interested in the history of Buxton, so we have chosen the town as one of our trial locations. We are looking at putting together a digital walking tour which will highlight Buxton’s spa history, from the Romans to the modern day.