TREVOR GILMAN. BUXTON LOCAL GUIDE
Trevor Gilman had little interest in remembering the dates of battles and monarchs at school, and so, when he had a choice he opted for the study of geography instead. He soon found that this complemented his interest in maps. Maps were a source of information on history of a more local sort. The numerous roads had to have some reason and plan to their route. Towns and villages had to have a reason for being sited where they were. Why did some grow to become cities while others faded away? What would be found at an ancient burial site? What was behind the construction of stone circles? Who built the roads, railways and canals? This lifelong interest has resulted in Trevor Gilman taking groups and individuals on a variety of guided walks around Buxton for more than a decade. These walks are designed to highlight the history of the town. It is a history that starts over seven thousand years in the middle stone age, when people were just beginning to gather in small communities. Trevor Gilman is currently chairman of the Buxton Local History Society.
Buxton Town Centre
This walk starts with a brief consideration of prehistoric and Roman Buxton before looking at the Elizabethan Old Hall Hotel; the Georgian attempts to create a spa to rival Bath, including The Crescent and Great Stables; the substantial Victorian heritage, ending with the Victorian Pavilion Gardens and the Edwardian Opera House. We also see evidence of interwar attempts to revive Buxton’s fortunes, including some Art Deco details, and also look at the profound influence of Buxton’s mineral water and the arrival of the railways.
Matcham’s Opera House was not the first theatre to be built in Buxton, and has not been the last. This short walk takes in the sites of several early entertainment venues and explains how, one after another, they came and went. Buxton has been left with a remarkable legacy of venues that are often in use simultaneously.
Windsor Road, Buxton’s first highway
There is evidence that some of the first goods to be carried to Buxton were stone axes from the Lake District. These arrived in the area along a track that lies just to the east of the town centre, passing through Fairfield and Silverlands. This track became the first Roman road in the area and later became successively pack horse road and turnpike road. It was only in 1825 that Fairfield Road was built as a toll road, and later becoming the A6 trunk road. This walk also touches on the history of Fairfield as part of William the Conqueror’s Royal Forest of the Peak.