A celebration of 150 years
Celebrating 150 years of the Palace Hotel Buxton
The Palace Hotel which was originally named the Buxton Hotel was built in 1867 at a cost of £50,000 to cope with the expected influx of visitors coming in on the railways. Two identical and adjacent stations opened in 1863 within two weeks of one another. One was the London and North Western line which still remains and the other the famous Midland line which had to be one of the most scenic routes in the country as it cut through the limestone hills.
For a touch of nostalgia watch the following Flanders and Swann tributes to The Slow Train
A picture of the Midland line coming through Ashwood Dale near Buxton
The hotel was designed by Henry Currey who was the 7th Duke’s architect. Unfortunately the original owners of the Buxton Hotel suffered financial difficulties and the hotel went to auction in 1867 and reopened as The Palace Hotel in May 1868. From the very beginning it attracted famous names and distinguished visitors. There is a large entrance hall 47ft x 26 ft and magnificent staircase which George Bernard Shaw allegedly bounded up two steps at a time! Other famous visitors were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks pictured below who completed their stay at the Palace by attending a performance at the Buxton Opera House to watch Anna Pavlova perform the Dying Swan in 1925.
Robert Rippon Duke bought the hotel on behalf of the new shareholders at a knock down price of £20000. Amongst the new shareholders were the Duke of Devonshire and two of the London and North West Railways Directors. RRDuke became the company secretary and clerk of works. Indeed he helped to extend and improve the hotel including the north wing and new dining room. He also helped with a new west wing to match Currey’s facade which was completed 1887-1888.
There were smoking rooms, drawing and reading rooms and the building and its surroundings stretch over more than five acres. Set in stunning landscaped gardens, the Palace Hotel featured an internationally admired ball room, luxury gardens fitted with croquet lawns, and a tennis court. The hotel also provided its guests with hot and cold water in each room, which was revolutionary and an advanced amenity during the late 18th century. After several years, the hotel became the first building in Buxton to be equipped with a telephone, a feature that was not only a luxury but rare in most hotels across Britain,
Today the hotel still retains a prime position in the town standing guard over beautiful Buxton which it has done for the past 150 years and hopefully will continue to do for many years to come.