Buxton Visitor Centre is now open at The Pump Room in Buxton, following considerable restoration works – and it looks fantastic! With the addition of a new gift shop selling a range of giftware, local interest books and local maps and an exclusive range of postcards and stationary, the centre will act as a hub for tourist and local information, 6 days per week.
Operated by the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, they will also continue to expand their varied programme of events – all the details of which are available here. Luke Bates, who worked at the Tourist Information Centre in the Pavilion Gardens (until its closure in February), is thrilled to be working at the Visitor Centre, “It’s fantastic to see the Pump Room being used in this way. The location is ideal – adjacent to the Crescent, we’re already been incredibly busy and that will be just increase now. The range of gifts we’re offering is something a little different, inspired by the Crescent and Buxton’s spa heritage, with many items designed exclusively for us”.
Gift shop jewellery collection inspired by the Crescent
CW Sellors, the regions largest independent jewellers for over 40 years, have created an exclusive range of jewellery, for sale in the visit centre gift shop. Handcrafted in sterling silver inspired by the Crescent facade and the oval shape of the pool in the Pump Room, the jewellery collection features white Carrara marble – representing the interior of the Pump Room – and the finest cut Derbyshire blue John gemstone.
Having re-opened once again in 2017 after being closed to the public in 1997, the Pump Room has recently been used as an events space, which is set to continue. “With clever planning of the new displays in the visitor centre and gift shop – these can be moved for events when needed”, Luke says.
As the redevelopment of the adjacent Crescent takes place to transform the iconic Grade 1 listed building into a luxury 80 bedroom spa hotel, the new visitor centre is ideally placed to serve both visitors and residents of the town.
“We’ll be continually developing the events programme – whether you live here or are visiting, Buxton has a fascinating history as a spa town dating back to Roman Times and our events really focus on the towns rich history and heritage”, says Luke.
From spa water treatments to microscopic creatures
The Grade II listed Pump Room has a varied and interesting history, serving the town in a variety of ways over the years. The building was initially used for a place to ‘take the waters’ in Buxton’s hey-day as a spa town when hydrotherapy spa treatments were the height of fashion with health conscious Victorians. By the 1950s the spa industry had stagnated and Buxton was establishing itself as more of a an entertainments centre and for a while the Pump Room was used as an information centre. In the late 1970s it was redeveloped as Buxton Micrarium (opening in 1981); a place where microscopic organisms and geological specimens could be studied by the public.
As the world’s first Micrarium, this was the dream of the late Dr Stephen Carter who was a senior research scientist with ICI Pharmaceuticals. The unusual attraction were even runners up in Museum of the Year 1985. But it wasn’t to last and the micrarium closed in 1995. In the years that followed the Pump Room was occasionally used by the High Peak Artists’s group for art fairs (who now have a permanent exhibition in the Pavilion Gardens).
The Pump Room was once again given a new lease of life in recent years as work began at the adjacent Crescent, due to open later in 2019. The redevelopment – which is set to play a significant role in the heritage-led economic regeneration of Buxton and the wider region – will directly create 140 jobs and another 300 indirectly, alongside the 350 construction jobs associated with the project, as well as generating substantial new spend in Buxton and the Peak District.
There are plans for tours to take place in the Crescent and a number of rooms will open as part of the experience. 60 days per year, the Crescent will also host special events and The Pump Room will play a vital role in co-ordinating the visitor experience.
Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust are currently looking to increase their volunteers – from all ages, skills and backgrounds to help with research, Assembly Room Events and Open Days from later in 2019, fundraising, Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience Visitor Attraction from later in 2019, The Pump Room Events Programme, marketing and more. Get in here touch to find out more.
The Pump Room latest events programme can be found on their website and booked online via the Opera House. All details for the events are also available at the visitor centre.
Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience, The Pump Room, The Crescent, Buxton, SK17 6BH
T: 01298 338441 / 01298 214577