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Listed Building record MDR317 - The Crescent, Buxton

Type and Period (5)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Grade I listed building of 1780, by John Carr. Formal, three storeyed crescent, faced with ashlar. Open arcade to ground storey with order of fluted Doric pilasters through two storeys above, the entablature crowned by balustrade with central panel carved with Cavendish arms. Balustrade to 1st floor windows. Contains former Assembly Room with order of Corinthian columns and pilasters. (1) From the late 1770s the fifth Duke of Devonshire set about establishing Buxton as a fashionable spa. In order to provide quality accommodation, it was decided that the first building to be constructed should be a large new hotel. The new building was in the form of a crescent containing a hotel at the west end, the Duke's town house in the centre and lodging houses at the east end, where there was also an Assembly Room. Shops stood at ground floor level. Building on The Crescent began in 1780 and was completed in 1788. (2) The thermal spring waters at Buxton have been exploited since the Roman period, but most prominently during the late 18th century when the Crescent was built by John Carr for the Fifth Duke of Devonshire. It was built as a focal point of a health and leisure spa resort. It flourished throughout the 19th century, but declined during the 20th century, with portions of the buildings being used variously as a hotel, a hospital, and latterly, council offices and a library. The building has been empty for many years, and it is now intended to develop The Crescent into a hotel complex integrated with the adjacent natural spa [2009]. An archaeological evaluation was required prior to development due to the high potential to uncover important archaeological remains. A series of fifteen trial pits and two evaluation trenches were excavated during May and June 2009. It was found that to accommodate The Crescent and adjacent buildings a large level terrace was excavated to the natural shale. In the process of these 18th century ground works, the site of what is thought to have been a bath of possible Roman date, which was first uncovered in the 1690s, was disturbed and the debris utilised in the footings of the building (also see SMR 2837). In addition, the location of a medieval well described by antiquarians and thought to be on an earlier Roman structure was identified (see SMR 2836). There is still potential for significant remains to survive in these locations. Water management was undertaken by soughs running under the building, and the persistent problem of flooding was tackled over the years by building brick channels beneath the floor or adding extra floor layers to force the water elsewhere. The level of flooding during the course of the project in the western end shows how ineffective these measures were. (3) Built in Doric style, 1780-86, by the Fifth Duke of Devonshire, the architect being John Carr, of York. In World War II Officers and Men of the Services suffering from rheumatic disease were sent to Buxton. The Buxton Spa treatment is particularly indicated (1950) in the Rheumatic group of diseases. (4) A section of substantial building made of lengths of sandstone walling was identified during excavations behind The Crescent could be an earlier extention of 'The Old Hall' of early 18th century date. In strata above the feature, drainage relating to early use of The Crescent was identified in the 'Ballroom' cellar. (5)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • --- Unpublished document: Jackson, R (ArcHeritage). 2018. The Crescent, Buxton: Archaeological Watching Brief.
  • <1> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) Boro of Buxton, Derbyshire, Dec 1970, 2.. p 2.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Leach, J. 1987. The Book of Buxton.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Pritchard, H (YAT). 2009. Buxton Crescent and Spa, The Crescent, Buxton , Derbyshire: Evaluation Report. 1-3, 51-2.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Borough of Buxton Publicity Department. 1950. Buxton, The Spa of Blue Waters.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Gregory, R (UMAU). 2003. An archaeological evaluation at The Crescent, Natural Baths and Pump Room, Buxton.



Grid reference Centred SK 05767 73544 (85m by 74m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

  • EDR3737
  • EDR2752
  • EDR3847
  • EDR3930
  • EDR3757
  • EDR4871

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Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 9:47AM

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