All aboard for a tram-endous history of Buxton

Netta Christie with the new Buxton discovery tram
Netta Christie with the new Buxton discovery tram

Discovering the person behind Discover Buxton reveals her passion for the town and its people.

Netta Christie had the idea for the town tours after a trip to Greenwich Village in New York in 2012. A year later she was leading tours of Buxton on a Victorian-style tram converted from a milk float.

Nick and Netta Christie move off in their new tram

Nick and Netta Christie move off in their new tram

She said: “There is so much brilliant stuff happening in our town I felt it was only right that someone was shouting about how brilliant we are.”

The idea for using the milk float came, rather unsurprisingly, from a milkman, who spoke of a man in Cornwall using such a method to take people up and down a hill.

After a trip down south Netta was left feeling challenged to make a better vehicle than the one she had seen, and approached restorers and the Crich Tramway Museum for help and advice.

She said: “Not many people know this but in 1903 there were talks of getting a tram in Buxton, so I wanted the float to look like a tram to honour this.”

The tram was officially launched in March 2013 and Netta said there was no feeling to describe how proud she felt.

“The dream became a reality,” she explained. “When the tram trundled out it was marvellous and great to see the community had come together and we were all celebrating Buxton and being alive.”

Since then the little red tram has become a familiar sight around the town, helping tourists and residents learn more about the area.

“I think people who live here don’t realise how lucky we are,” said Netta.

“We live in a fascinating and fabulous town full of heritage, but for many they forget this as they go about their day to day lives, so we open their eyes to all that has happened here beforehand.

“Buxton is a place where stories come alive because our history focuses on real people who have done things in the town.”

When she is not organising the next tour, Netta likes reading and music - apparently the tours can get quite lively when everyone has a sing-song!

“This isn’t a duty or a job this, is a passion, and I would do it all again because I am proud of all Buxton has to offer,” she added.

Getting ready for new season

Now spring is here things are getting busier at the Discover Buxton offices.

Netta said: “Now Easter is here people want to be outside and doing things, so we are always looking for new ways to keep it fresh.”

As work is progressing on The Crescent, Netta feels it is important to document things, as Mary Queen of Scots used the thermal baths and the entrance she arrived at will soon be lost forever.

Netta said: “For this season we will be doing more historical acting focusing on people who visited the town or had a hand in shaping Buxton. So visitors should look out for Vera Britain who was a nurse based in the hospital and went on to become a writer and feminist.

“And we will be working with the Buxton Fringe by holding our Victorian Conversation between Robert Rippon Duke and Edward Milner.”

For more information, visit www.discoverbuxton.co.uk