A Pictorial and Descriptive
Guide to Buxton, The Peak, Dovedale, Etc.

Ward, Lock & Co.'s

Illustrated Guide Books
Series 1939-40

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013



Access and Situation.

BUXTON is situated in Derbyshire, in the centre of the Peak District. Good roads connect it with large centres to north, south, east and west (for routes see pp. 20-22), and its railway communication is also good. It is practically on the London to Manchester (Midland) line of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The London and North-Western section of the L.M.S.R. also has a station in the town, and Buxton is connected with the London and North-Eastern Railway by branches from Chesterfield and Nottingham (see pp. 14-16).


There is no lack of either outdoor or indoor amusements. In addition to the many enjoyable excursions which can be made on foot, by cycle, motor or rail, and which are described elsewhere, there are facilities in due season for angling, tennis, bowls, squash racquets, badminton, croquet, golf, cricket, as set forth in the following paragraphs. Dancing is provided at the Pavilion, where, too, or in the Gardens, an orchestra plays daily throughout the year and concerts are held at which well-known singers and instrumentalists appear. Attached to the Pavilion is the Playhouse and here, every March, the Dramatic Festival is held. Also adjacent to the Pavilion is the Opera House, which is open as a cinema during the greater part of the year, but in which plays are also produced. At the Hotels and Hydros a constant round of entertainments is arranged throughout the year. A weekly programme of events is displayed at St. Ann's Well and at other prominent places.


The Dove, the Derwent and the Wye are the principal angling streams in the Peak District. The Manifold is also popular. All four are stocked with trout and grayling. Trout-fishing begins on March 16 and ends October 1; the grayling season



begins June 16 and ends March 14. The close time for coarse fishing is from March 15 to June 15 inclusive.

The rivers mentioned are tributaries of the Trent, and under control of the Trent Fishery Board, who issue licences (2s. 6d. season) through Fishing Tackle Dealers and other distributors.

There are a number of preserved and well-stocked river stretches which may be fished by those holding tickets obtainable at hotels in the locality of the waters. Among these are:-

The Wye.- Duke of Rutland's Fishery. About 5 miles - both banks - between Bakewell and Rowsley. Brown and rainbow trout. (Artificial dry fly only.) Available for guests at Rutland Arms, Bakewell, and Peacock Hotel, Rowsley. 10s. per day. Limited number of tickets daily. Advisable to book ahead.

The Derwent.- Over 10 miles (wet or dry fly) may be fished in waters of Duke of Devonshire's Estate by day tickets from Peacock Hotel, Rowsley.

The Dove.- Several miles through Dovedale, in waters belonging to Sir Hugo Fitz-Herbert, for fly-fishing (wet or dry). Tickets obtainable at New Inns Hotel, Alsop-en-le-Dale; Dog and Partridge, Thorpe Cloud; Izaak Walton (Ilam); Blue Bell, Tissington. A length of 2 miles above Hartington Mill. Tickets at Charles Cotton Hotel, Hartington, 2s. 6d. per day.

The Manifold. - About 6 miles of good trout stream on upper reaches (fly fishing). Tickets from Crewe and Harpur Arms, Longnor, Staffs. The Izaak Walton Hotel, Ilam, has one mile; tickets 3s. 6d. day.

At Ashbourne fishing may be had on the Club water, comprising 1 mile of trout stream (river Henmore) and a Lake (3 acres). Water re-stocked annually. Day tickets, 5s.

On Rudyard Lake.-Shilling tickets - Perch, Roach and Pike. Trout fishing by arrangement.


This game has taken a strong hold at Buxton and is played in the Pavilion at the Gardens during winter. There are several enthusiastic clubs, including one which makes the court at the Palace Hotel its winter rendezvous. The game is also played at Buxton Hydro. A badminton tournament is held at Easter.


Midland, 1 The Quadrant; Martin's, 20 Spring Gardens; District, 3 The Quadrant; Westminster, 2 Spring Gardens; Williams Deacon's, 1 Cavendish Circus; Union Bank of Manchester, 5 The Quadrant.



The Thermal and other medicinal baths belonging to the town are described on pp. 39-40. Electrical and other baths can also be obtained at the Hydros. There is a modern Swimming Pool at Lightwood. Open daily 7 a.m., to dusk. Admission 1/-.


Boating may be enjoyed on the lake in the Buxton Gardens at a small charge. Special paddle boats for children. Rudyard Lake (near Leek) is also popular.


In the Gardens is one of the most perfect greens in the country. It dates from the sixteenth century. There is a tournament annually at the end of June for amateurs only. There are public greens in Ashwood Park, at Fairfield and Cote Heath Park.

Visitors can become members of the Bowling Club (Crown green in the Park) in connection with the Cricket Club.

Churches and Chapels,
With Hours of Services.

Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, St. John's Road.- H.C., 8 a.m.; Matins, Sermon and H.C., 11 a.m.; Children's Service, 2.45; Evensong, 6.30.
St. James the Greater, Bath Street.- Sundays only: H.C., 8 a.m.; Sung Eucharist and Sermon, 10.30; Matins, 10 a.m.; Evensong, 6.30 p.m.
St. Anne (Old Parish Church), High Buxton.- Weekdays only H.C., Tuesday, 7 a.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.; other days, 8 a.m.; Evensong, 5.30.
St. Mary the Virgin, Dale Road.- H.C., 8; Matins and Sermon, 11, except 1st Sunday; Evensong, 6.30.
Trinity, Hardwick Mount.- H.C., 1st Sunday, after Morning Prayer; 3rd Sunday, after Evensong; Morning Prayer, 11; Evensong, 6.30.
St. Peter's, Fairfield.- H.C., Sundays, 8 a.m.; Matins, 11; Litany or Children's Service, 3; Evensong, 6.30. Weekdays: Matins, 8 a.m.; Evensong, 6.30 p.m.
Christ Church, Burbage.- H.C., 8; also 1st and 3rd after Matins at 11; Evensong, 6.30.
St. James's, Harpur Hill.- H.C., 1st Sunday, 8; 2nd and 4th, after Morning Prayer; Matins, 11; Evensong, 6.30; 3rd Sunday, children, 2.30; men only, 4.
St. Anne (Catholic), Terrace Road.- Mass, 8 and 10.30; Benediction, 6.30. Weekdays: Mass, 8; Fridays, Benediction, 8 p.m.


Congregational, Hardwick Mount. - 11 and 6.30.
Methodist, London Road.- 10.45 and 6.30. Higher Buxton.- 11 and 6.30. Fairfield.- 11 and 6.30.
Unitarian, Hartington Road.- 11 and 6.30.
First Church of Christ Scientist, Devonshire Road.- 11 and 6.30.


The greater part of Buxton is more than a thousand feet above sea-level. This high altitude makes it colder than it would be if its temperature depended upon latitude alone. In summer, when heat oppresses the residents in busy towns, Buxton is refreshing its visitors with a cool and pure atmosphere which for most people is bracing and stimulating. It will readily be agreed that the cooler atmosphere is a favourable feature in summer. Equally true, though less obvious, the lower temperature does not detract from the merits of Buxton as a winter health resort. The coldness of the air is more than compensated for by its dryness and tonic properties. People do not complain of the cold at Buxton during the winter, because the air, though keen, is perfectly dry. Buxton, indeed, can boast of having the driest atmosphere in the country, as is amply demonstrated by records for a long series of years. By reason of the altitude of the town, the air is so rarefied that it cannot hold much moisture. Other factors in the production of the phenomenal dryness are the conformation of the district, the rapidity of drainage, the absence of marshy land, and the constant interchange of moorland breezes.

Paradoxical as it may seem, with so dry an atmosphere, Buxton has an average rainfall of 46.5 inches. It is so large because the surrounding hills are among the first that receive the sea and ocean clouds of the west. Yet, owing to the hilly character of the district, and its greatly increased area, which allows of very rapid drainage, and the dry limestone soil, none of the usual discomforts of a damp subsoil are experienced. The heavy rainfall, on the contrary, is one of the most important and beneficial factors of the climate, the air being washed, purified and freed from bacterial and other impurities; while, experimentally, it has been proved that bacteria and putrefactive process are retarded. The salubrity of Buxton is attested by the low death-rate, which in a recent year was 1057 per 1,000, being below the average for England and Wales.


Clubs and Societies.

The Union near the Opera House. Visitors can become temporary members on introduction. There are the usual political clubs, with bowling greens, etc., and Buxton has well-organized Literary, Geological, and Field Naturalists' Societies. There are various Sports, Motor and Rambling Clubs, and a strong Rotary Club.


Several lawns in the Gardens. The North of England and Derbyshire Croquet Tournaments are held at the end of June. Visitors desiring to play should consult the Spa Manager, who will put them in touch with the local secretary.


The Cricket Ground is charmingly situated within the Park Ring and is the property of the Corporation. Visitors are welcomed as temporary members of the Buxton Cricket Club. There is a Cricket Week in July.


Buxton is an excellent centre for those exploring the district by cycle, since good main roads lead in every direction and these in turn are served by numerous lanes and byroads which - hills notwithstanding - are ideal for the cyclist who desires to get off the beaten track. The cyclist, moreover, can use many routes which are impassable by cars. The best routes in the neighbourhood are outlined on pp. 22-26, but our map and the descriptive notes on following pages will suggest many others.


By Road.- London (viâ Matlock) 165 miles (viâ Ashbourne), 159½ miles; Birmingham, 78¾ miles; Sheffield, 28¾ miles; Leeds, 62¾ miles; Manchester, 24 miles.
By Rail.- London, 165 miles; Birmingham (New Street), 771; Bradford, 971; Bristol, 1641; Derby, 37; Hull (Paragon), 108; Leeds, 84¼; Liverpool, 53½; Manchester, 25¼; Newcastle (Central), 168; Nottingham, 50½; Sheffield, 31.


Early Closing.

Wednesday is Early Closing Day.


There are two 18-hole Golf Courses.

The Cavendish Golf Club, formed by the Duke of Devonshire, is delightfully situated to the west of the town about 10 minutes' walk from its centre. The course (nearly 6,000 yards) extends over undulating (though not hilly) ground, comprising fine natural features - ravines, streams and pine woods. The Club House is equipped with every modern comfort and convenience, and there is ample accommodation for cars.

No entrance fee. Subscriptions: Annual - gentlemen, 6 guineas; ladies, A guineas. Country members (outside 10 miles radius) gentlemen, 2½ guineas; ladies, 1⅔ guineas. Visitors (members of recognized Golf Clubs) admitted as temporary members on payment of Green Fees, viz.: Day, 3s. 6d. (5s. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays); week, men 21s. ladies 15s.; month, 42s.

The Buxton and High Peak Golf Club has an 18-hole course, laid out on Fairfield, a mile from the centre of the town, at an altitude of 1,100 feet above sea-level. The course (about 5.923 yards) extends over an undulating stretch of upland and natural drainage ensures rapid drying after heavy rains. There is a large up-to-date Club House with exceptionally good accommodation for ladies. Buses from the town pass close to the Course.

No entrance fee. Annual subscriptions: Gentlemen, 6 guineas; ladies 3½ guineas. Country members (resident 4-10 miles from course): men, 3½ guineas; ladies, 2 guineas. (Resident more than 10 miles from course): men 2½ guineas; ladies, 1½ guineas. Visitors' fees: day, 3s. 6d., men; 2s. 6d., ladies; week, 21s., men; 15s., ladies; four weeks, 2 guineas; two months, 3 guineas. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: men 5s. day, 3s. 6d. round; ladies 3s. 6d. and 2s. 6d.

There are also courses at Ashbourne, Bakewell, Bamford, Baslow, Ilam, Rudyard, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Tideswell.

Hotels and Hydros. (See pp. 16-18.)

Library and Museum.

The Public Library and Museum is in Terrace Road. Lending and Reference Library open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and, except on Thursdays, from 2.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reading Room, 9.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Visitors are allowed to borrow books on obtaining a guarantee signed by a ratepayer, or depositing the value of the books.

A special room is set apart for the valuable library bequeathed to the Corporation by Sir W. Boyd Dawkins, comprising some 400 volumes of the best known works on archaeology, geology, anthropology and kindred subjects, the five book-cases being from the collection of Louis Napoleon.

The Museum (open during the same hours as the Library), contains an important collection of Derbyshire antiquities of all ages from the Pliocene onward, including a number of Roman relics. There are also exhibits of old glass and valuable china.

At the entrance to Poole's Cavern is a museum.

Meteorological Instruments and Charts.

On the Slopes there is a Meteorological Station in connection with the Meteorological Office of the Air Ministry. Daily readings and forecasts issued by the Borough Meteorologist are exhibited at the Library and elsewhere. Local time is 7½ minutes later than Greenwich. For a note on the climate, see p. 30.

Motor Parking.

(1) A large space is allotted as a Motor Park at the end of Spring Gardens, adjoining the conspicuous Railway Viaduct. Charge for Private Cars, is.; Motor Cycles, 6d. Attendant in charge. (2) Hardwick Street. (3) Old Hall Hotel, near Pavilion entrance. (4) Market Place. Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are free, but have no one in charge.


Within Buxton a town motor-bus service takes travellers from the stations to Burbage, to Ladmanlow, also to the Cottage Hospital and Harpur Hill. For the surrounding districts there are numerous bus services starting from the Market Place, to and from-

Macclesfield, viâ Burbage, “Cat and Fiddle”, Anchor Lane (for Wildboarclough).
Stockport and Manchester, a convenient route for Peak Dale, Dove Holes, and Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Hayfield and Glossop.


Bakewell, Matlock and Derby.
Ashbourne (convenient route for Dovedale).


Buxton Advertiser, Saturday; Buxton Herald and Visitors' Gazette, Thursday; High Peak News, Friday.


The resident population numbers about 16,000, but during the height of the summer season there is generally a “floating” population of about 5,000.


The Head Post Office is at the top of the Quadrant. Sub-offices at Higher Buxton, Fairfield Common, Fairfield and Burbage.

The Buxton Season

may be said to last from January 1 to December 31. The hotels and hydros are kept open all the year round, and the baths and waters are made use of at all times of the year with the same curative results.

While July, August and September are the most fashionable months, those who can choose their own time reap advantages by paying their visit a little earlier or a little later. The prices at the hotels are lower, there is a greater choice of rooms, and the baths are less crowded. In May and June, the country has all the loveliness of spring; in October and November the foliage is beautiful in its autumn tints, and the quietness peculiar to the waning year has a charm for many. “Winter”, as a local novelist has written, “is the season for beholding the Derby hills in their sublimity, the wondrous and changing aspect of the dales as the sun and mists contend for supremacy”. For winter visitors who cannot travel far afield, there is no lack of entertainment or opportunity for exercise. The Pavilion and Gardens are efficiently maintained. The orchestra plays daily and special week-end concerts are given every Saturday and Sunday. There are cinemas, and dancing takes place at the Pavilion and in the hotels and hydros, etc.



Tennis can be played all the year round in the Pavilion Gardens; at Ashwood Park; and in Cote Heath Park (Higher Buxton), on both grass and hard courts; and in Green Lane are some good club courts. The Annual Tennis Tournament, held in the Pavilion Gardens in August, attracts players of International rank, and one of the main events is the All England Ladies' Doubles Championships.

Water Supply.

The water for domestic purposes is obtained from the gritstone watersheds of the hills on the north and west of the town. The capacity of the reservoirs is 117 million gallons. The water is remarkably soft and free from impurities. Contamination of the sources is impossible. To remove the peaty matters which are apt to cause discoloration in flood times, but are quite free from any harmful effects, the water is passed through special high-pressure filters at the reservoirs.

The Waters.

The healing water used by the Romans, and now from fifteen to eighteen centuries later the chief cause of Buxton's popularity, has a wide reputation as a curative agent in cases of rheumatism, gout, sciatica and neuralgic affections. The water issues from the limestone rocks at an elevation of 1,000 feet above the sea, and it is a remarkable fact that the springs never vary in volume or in temperature in summer or winter. They are always constant at 82 degrees, and there is a steady flow of half a million gallons a day. The water is quite tasteless and odourless, is singularly bright and clear and of a beautiful pale blue tint. It is remarkably soft and emollient to the skin, a property which renders it specially adapted to the douche-massage treatment, which is extensively carried on at the Baths.

The various analyses of the water all show that the quantity of saline constituents is comparatively small. On the other hand, the quantity of nitrogen held by the water is very large. It is half as much again as the quantity in the Gastein and Wildbad waters, with which the Buxton water is usually classed.

As recent researches have shown that the curative effect


of nitrogenous thermal springs may be due, in great measure, to the presence of radium emanations, it is not without interest to possible users of the Buxton Baths and St. Ann's Well that exhaustive tests have demonstrated the presence of radium emanations in the water from Buxton's thermal springs. It has also been found that radio-activity diminishes very rapidly from the moment the water leaves the source. With the Buxton water at its natural temperature of 82° Fahr. no cooling is necessary, and so Buxton has at the natural and usable temperature of 82° Fahr. the strongest natural radio-active water in the country.

In addition to the Thermal Spring, Buxton has a Chalybeate Spring. The water is used both for bathing and drinking. It is specially useful in anaemia, and it also has a considerable reputation for its local effects in certain diseases of the eye.

The following is the analysis by Mr. Robert Wright, F.C.S., ex-President British Pharmaceutical Society:-

Grains per gallon.
Proto-carbonate of Iron3.36
Sulphate of Manganesetraces
Sulphate of Calcium9.11
Sulphate of Magnesia4.90
Carbonate of Magnesia1.98
Suplhate of Potashtraces
Chloride of Potassium1.40
Chloride of Sodium2.10
Sulphate of Soda1.89
Organic Matter, etc.0.36
Total solids27.50

It will be noted that the iron is present as a proto-carbonate, a form which is easily borne by the stomach. The chalybeate water for drinking is supplied in St. Ann's Well. For its use in the Baths, see p. 39.

Winter Sports.

A spell of sharp weather produces ice for skaters on the Gardens Lake and elsewhere. As soon as snow has fallen and a crisp frost has hardened the roads, everyone begins tobogganing. Those who wish to enjoy the sport under the best conditions proceed to the “Cresta” Toboggan Run on the Cavendish Golf Links, or the Temple Fields Run, at the foot of the woods at the top of College Road.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in November 2013.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page: https://texts.wishful-thinking.org.uk/BuxtonGuide/UsefulFacts.html
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library