MEMORY LANE: Changing face of Buxton’s historic Thermal Baths

An undated photo of the Thermal Baths in Buxton.
An undated photo of the Thermal Baths in Buxton.

“It seems the sensible thing to do,” was how one Buxton borough councillor summed up the controversial decision in December 1966 to remove the veranda from the front of the town’s historic Thermal Baths.

The structure, which proudly fronted the side of the Thermal Baths facing The Slopes, had to be removed after being deemed unsafe by council surveyors. The cost of the removal was £300.

The Cavendish Shopping Arcade, Buxton

The Cavendish Shopping Arcade, Buxton

The Advertiser of Friday December 23, 1966, reported how The Ministry of Housing and Local Government, in a letter, had expressed agreement that the best course of action would be to dismantle and store the veranda, leaving the question of its re-erection to be discussed later, thus providing an opportunity to see whether or not the facade, when exposed, looked better without the canopy.

The veranda itself had been built subsequent to the one in front of the shops, and could not be attributed to Paxton. It was probably added to the building around 1900, councillors were told during a meeting.

While it would not fall down overnight, a survey of the veranda had found extensive corrosion in the eaves and some fractured columns and cracked glass. In a gale weeks earlier, large pieces of glass had fallen from it.

Appealing to the council to do everything possible to repair the veranda, Ald. Mrs. C. Mostyn Kershaw said many residents and visitors sat on the seats beneath the veranda which afforded them shelter.

“It also adds distinction and character,” she said.

“If it is taken down, I venture to say it will never go back again.

“If this happens, we shall be depriving many people of an enjoyable and useful amenity, and it would deprive the town of something which gives it distinction and makes it different from other towns.”

However Coun. W. R. James commented: “We are trying to do what we think is best for Buxton.”

He said he was not happy at the thought of the veranda coming down, but on the other hand it seemed the sensible thing to do.”