Many people consider Buxton an insular place, cut off and removed from the action of the world stage.
A place referred to by some historians as “sleepy hollow” it has long been isolated by its geographic position. This is perhaps why for many during the Second World War Buxton became a place of safety and it opened it’s doors and hearts to many refugees and evacuees.
In this podcast we have the pleasure of telling the story of the Guernsey evacuees and Elizabeth College whose junior pupils lived at Great Hucklow and senior boys lived at Whitehall just outside the town.
Gillian Mawson , a Whaley Bridge social historian has written extensively about their story.
Here is a link to her latest book ‘Britain’s Wartime Evacuees’ which contains lots of stories from Guernsey evacuees
We also hear about the Jewish evacuees who lived in Buxton for the duration of the Second World War.
There were 300 plus Jewish families in the town many coming from the big cities of London and Manchester. Some, like Judith’s foster sister came here via the kinder transport, a remarkable rescue effort.
We also learn more about the extraordinary history of White Hall itself and how after the Second world War it went on to become an outdoor activity centre offering children the opportunity to push themselves gently and overcome their fears opening the door to a more confident, tenacious future. It is a remarkable place.
Whilst the Guernsey boys were housed here they discovered the chapel and fashioned a simple wooden cross which returned with them to Guernsey. The chapel now houses an indoor climbing wall offering perhaps a different way to heaven! It is often said that our past teaches us lessons for today and none as poignant or as relevant that less than 80 years ago our town welcomed child refugees to a safe haven in the hills.