Buxton Hall

Buxton Local History Society

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Research projects

The Society is happy to undertake small research projects on behalf of people who have connections with the town or who have visited and been curious about some aspect of it’s past. The following are brief summaries of enquiries received .

Primitive Methodist

On a recent visit to Buxton, my wife and I spotted the street sign for Primitive Court. Was there a Primitive Methodist chapel or meeting house at the Court?

The earliest references to a Primitive Methodist meeting place name variously, Hobson’s Yard, Back Lane, behind the Queen’s Inn, and a cottage at the top of Bath Street. George Hobson, farmer and landlord of the Queen’s Inn, had a yard and stabling at the top of Bath Street. Although South Street is called Back Lane in some documents, we can conjecture that this term could refer to any lane serving the rear of terraced premises. On that basis it seems safe to assume the early meeting place was in or around Hobson’s Yard at the top of Bath Street, now Bath Road.

Picture: The entrance to Hobson’s Yard, not to be confused with Hobson’s Court next to Bargain Booze.

Rail Line

On a recent Backstage Tour of the Buxton Royal Opera House we were informed that a rail line used to carry coal supplies to the building and, moreover, that this line is still extant but hidden below the W H Smith’s shop in the Springs Shopping Centre. My research on Buxton’s railways makes no reference to such a line.

The Opera House’s use of coal would probably amount to perhaps one ton per week. A railway coal wagon in 1904 would hold either 8 or 10 tons, thus a tunnel to deliver 6-8 wagons per year would not be justified. Even if it was economically viable a route under the precinct would be longer than beneath George Street, an almost straight line from station to Opera House, and would need to pass beneath the river twice, thus being much deeper underground that the basement of WH Smith’s. However, the basement of Winster Place was semi-circular brick arches and would resemble a tunnel. The cellars of Old Hall were of similar construction, see picture.

Grange Girls School

I contact you from Belgium. I am busy collecting info for a future book concerning the life of a friend of the family who spent the WW2 as a refugee in England without his parents in the Belgian College, Buxton, from 1942 till 1945.

With the occupation of Belgium by the Nazis the Belgian Government in Exile established four schools for refugee children. The Grange Girls School in Park Road was taken over in December 1940 under the headship of Father V R De Meyer and housed about 80 boys. There were about 20 teachers to cope with the problem of needing both French and Flemish as well as English. The boys could use a laboratory at Buxton College one afternoon a week and formed both a scout troop and an ATC unit. The school closed in 1945 and the girl’s school reopened but only for a year. The building remained vacant and was demolished in the 1970s, being replaced with new houses, only the gate posts remaining.

Palace Hotel

My father spent all his working life in the Civil Service, working for the Inland Revenue. However, during all or most of the war years he worked in Buxton. Was there any particular reason for him moving to Buxton?

During WW2 Buxton was considered a “safe” town, unlikely to be bombed, which proved correct. The large hotels were idea for use as offices for vital organisations needing to be removed from London and other target cities. The Inland Revenue, now HMRC, took over the Palace Hotel and had about 800 staff there. Some may have been accommodated in the hotel but most were lodged about the town.

Sherwood Road

I am trying to ascertain the approximate year that the estate around Sherwood Road, Buxton was built? The type of housing indicates mid to late 1960’s, but I cannot find any further information.

The estate is older than the 1960s. The Ordinance Survey map for 1925 shows open fields but that for 1938 shows a large part of the estate covering Sherwood Road, numbers up to 54, along with Aldwark, Derwent, Forrest, Welbeck roads and Grove Lane. Sherwood was completed by 1948 and Oaklea by 1950. The style of the houses is similar but there are detail changes in the post-war building. Pictured is one of the main pre-war types. These seem a slightly odd design in that the waste pipes on the outside indicate the bathroom is on the front of one half and the back on the other.

W H Salt

Who was W H Salt who sold a collection of Romano-British pewter ware to the British Museum in 1927?

William Henry Salt was the eldest son of Micah Salt, who excavated many caves and barrows around Buxton. William continued with his father’s tailoring business at 48 High St. but did not seem to have carried on with excavations after Micah’s death.

William was a founder member of the Buxton Archaeological & Natural History Society.

memorial plaque

What is the origin of this memorial plaque from the First World War?

The central plaque is about 5 inches in diameter, bronze, and was awarded to the next of kin to servicemen killed in the war. Known as the “Dead Man’s Penny” many relatives could not be traced and thus did not receive them. Each has the casualty’s name, in this case William Charles Lowe from Taxal, killed 23rd March 1918, and the inscription “He died for freedom and honour”.

The wooden surround is a later addition.

Joshua Burton

What was the Hawkshead store, Spring Gardens, originally?

The building was erected in 1902 for Joshua Burton as a grocers, confectioners, wine merchants and hardware shop known as Burton’s Stores. It also occupied two adjacent small shops. It was not over successful and slowly contracted to the main building. The business was transferred to Burgons in late 1938 and the building taken over by Timothy, Whites & Taylors.

Bentley Cottages

My mother lived at 3 Bentley Cottages, Harpur Hill in the 1930s but I cannot find it on Google.

Bentley Cottages were a terrace of twelve homes on the side of a lane on the southern edge of Harpur Hill together with a terrace of twenty called Haslin Row. In 1956 the lane was named Haslin Road but after 1970 the Haslin Row cottages were demolished leaving only what had been Bentley Cottages.

Bradwell Villa

My daughter has just purchased a house in Nunsfield Road. It has a stone on the front reading ‘Bradwell Villa 1901’ and the garage behind it may have been stables for horses for a coal merchant.

Jethro Bradwell was a coal carter based in Hogshaw coal yard. Jethro died 1912 aged 70 and his son, Walter, had the house until c.1923 when he moved into Coronation Cottages, next door.
The finial, the main point of interest and one of a pair, came from 48 High St., William Salt’s shop. The other was on Foxlow Lodge until 2016 but has gone with reroofing.

William Barson

My grandfather’s half sister married successively two livery stable operators in Buxton, William Barson (in 1876) and Charles Knowles Sykes (in 1902). Family folk lore has it that Sykes was quite a large- scale operator in Buxton.

William Barson was a coach proprietor but later had the livery stables at the east end of Spring Gardens. He died in 1897 and in 1902 his widow married Charles Sykes, an “Agent for Hargreave’s Dyers”, a travelling salesman. Under Sykes the business became a motor garage but did not prosper. It moved first to behind the Shakespeare Hotel, then Wye St., and was bankrupt in 1933.

The Grange

I’m trying to find the location of The Grange in Buxton. My mother was evacuated to the town during WW2 and I have a number of pictures labelled The Grange. She worked for HM Customs and Excise.

The Grange was a girl’s boarding school in Park Road, operating from about 1900 to 1939 when it closed and became a school for refugee boys from Belgium until 1945. It reopened after the war but lasted only to the summer of 1949. The building was demolished in the 1970s.
The evacuated Customs & Excise took over the Palace Hotel as offices with some 800 staff.

The Croft Nursing Home

I was born in the Croft Nursing home Buxton in 1946. I would like to know if it still exists.

No record of The Croft could be found in local directories or in the Buxton Advertiser and the only likely premises are Croft House, West Road or The Croft, Macclesfield Road. However a search of Electoral Registers showed that The Croft, 12 Macclesfield Road was the correct building and that it closed as a nursing home in c.1951 to become a residential guest house and later flats.

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