The Cavendish Arcade - Our Buildings Fantastic History in Buxton

Not many businesses are lucky enough to have their premises lie on what was once an ancient warm natural spring site discovered by the Romans. Only one of two places in the country where this occurred, the other being Bath. Gaining popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries Buxton, a spa town famous for its healing properties of its thermal waters was said to help aid rheumatism, circulation and skin conditions.


The New Hot Baths. In 1820 a new building was erected on the site, to house a convenient and elegant hot baths for public and private use. It contained separate entrances and corridors for both ladies and gentlemen, with dressing rooms, medical facilities along with vapour and shower baths that provided effective treatment due to its  proven natural healing properties.


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Then in 1852 the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, had his architect Henry Currey redesign and rebuild the hot baths. They were largely enveloped in an iron and glass structure with a colonnade running along the front, extending the sheltered promenade that ran along the frontage of the Crescent and the side of the natural baths. The design has affinities with The Crystal Palace in London and The Great Conservatory at Chatsworth. Reopening to the public in 1854, it was also used extensively for the recovery of patients from The Devonshire Hospital, also known as "The Dome" which is now The University of Derby. Treatments included Hot Baths, Hydrotherapy, Massages, Needle Baths and Vapour Baths.

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In the late 19th and early 20th century several alterations were made to improve the baths, the main south east facade was rebuilt in stone in a neo classical style, the treatment rooms and baths were extended and the water heating equipment was modernised, the separate sex entrances were replaced by a central reception where a ticket was purchased or a prescription was presented, the separate corridors remained and this was were they were taken to the treatment rooms aligned down both sides.

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Sadly like many traditions the life of the thermal baths was short lived, due to advances in medicine and technology meant that there was no longer a need for such a place so it was closed to the public in the 1960s. Falling into disrepair over the years meant The Colonnade to the front entrance had to be removed.

In 1985 after being empty for almost 20 years, a major remodelling and development took place to turn the historic building into a retail and leisure arcade, home to over 15 independent shops and restaurants today, retaining its heritage and architecture and we are lucky enough to be at the forefront of the arcade in what was once the old ticket desk to the baths.

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Buxton is full of wonderful history and architecture, from the Pavillion Gardens to the Opera House and the old Crescent building that is situated next door to us. It is currently under a massive £46 Million renovation, to include an 80 bedroom 5* spa hotel and more retail units estimated to finish next year. So why not make Buxton THE town to visit this year?

We will look forward to seeing you soon, so you can enjoy it as much as us!