“ Address: Terrace Road / Buxton / Derbyshire / SK17 6DA „
Buxton is a beautiful little picturesque town situated right on the fringe of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire. It is place that is both picturesque and historic and is well worth a visit.
Any visitor to the town wanting to know a little more about this old Roman spa town should set an hour or so of their day aside and pay a visit to the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.
Admission to this building is completely free, something of a bit of a rarity these days. I have visited here a few times and I have always been very impressed.
The Building that houses this museum has an interesting history of its own. It was built in 1880 and was originally the Peak Hydropathic Hotel.
This hotel closed in the early 1900's and for a few years stood empty. During the First World War however it was used by the Red Cross as a hospital and cared for injured Canadian soldiers.
In 1928 the Buxton Free Museum and Library relocated to one of the public rooms of this building, from the nearby Town Hall, and it has remained here ever since.
These days the museum houses a large number of permanent displays plus a range of temporary exhibitions.
Walking into the building through the entrance there is a large reception positioned in the middle of the foyer. This reception also doubles up as a small gift shop. Directly in front of here there is a small room, which has computer stations. These were all occupied when I last visited as this is probably the only place in Buxton that offers free Internet access.
Also located on this lower floor is a large Police motorbike. This certainly catches your eye as you walk through the foyer, it's main purpose is to guide you toward an anteroom that houses artefacts that belong to the Derbyshire Police Constabulary.
The Police artefacts include a wide range of different items. There are small display cabinets that are filled with little items, these include primitive handcuffs, torches and other equipment that would have been carried by the Police officers over the centuries.
Another display area has a collection of different weapons that have been retrieved from members of the public, some of these are very barbaric and quite scary. The final section has uniforms and helmets on display.
As you leave the Police part of the museum there is a small corridor that leads into "Boyd Dawkins Study." William Boyd Dawkins was a famous Victorian geologist and archaeologist, who spent many years in the Buxton area. This room is set out like an old study with bookcase upon bookcase of natural history books everywhere.
From here it is necessary to walk back to the foyer and climb a flight of stairs to the exhibitions on the upper floor. There are no lifts in this building due its age, but there is a stair lift fitted to these stairs to enable wheelchair users to access these upper rooms.
This upper floor has two main rooms. The first room is called "The Wonders of the Peak" and is crammed full of articles of local interest. These are arranged in chronological order, beginning with the Romans and ending in the Victorian era.
Included in these displays is the only silver Roman coin ever found in northern England. This was minted in Rome in the year 86AD and was dug up about 30 years ago on the edge of the town. Further along there is also a large display of the locally famous Ashford Black Marble.
The other large room on the upper floor is dedicated to art and in particular paintings. I did walk through this room but to be honest found the other areas of the museum to be of a greater personal interest.
Finally on the upper floors there are also some toilets, including ones that are fully equipped for disabled access.
I really enjoyed my visit to this museum and found it to be an excellent place to gain further knowledge of a town that I thought I already knew a lot about.
Entry is free and the opening hours are as follows:
Mondays - closed
Tuesday - 9.30 am to 5.30pm
Wednesday - 9.30 am to 5.30pm
Thursday - 9.30 am to 5.30pm
Friday - 9.30 am to 5.30pm
Saturday - 9.30am to 5pm
Sunday - 10.30am - 5pm
Bank Holidays -10.30am - 5pm
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
Telephone: (01298) 24658
Fax: (01298) 79394