Digging up Buxton’s quarrying heritage

Former General and Municipal Workers official John Bramwell holds the old Tunstead union ballot box being used for silent auction bids to raise money for Blythe House.
Former General and Municipal Workers official John Bramwell holds the old Tunstead union ballot box being used for silent auction bids to raise money for Blythe House.

Buxton is quarrying its past to give people suffering from life-threatening illnesses a brighter future.

Lafarge Tarmac and local heritage company Discover Buxton joined forces on Tuesday night to showcase some of the 28,500 photographs in the quarry firm’s archive at The Green Man Gallery.

And beautiful canvas prints from the past are being sold through a silent auction in aid of Blythe House Hospice, which helps people affected by cancer, life-threatening illness or bereavement.

The archive captures Buxton’s era as a quarry town, when hundreds worked at Tunstead.

Photographs show every aspect of the local industry, including the old Hoffman kiln which dominated the Harpur Hill skyline until 1951, the former Royal Exchange Hotel on Spring Gardens which used to be quarry giant ICI’s area office and the wartime years when the dangerous job of drilling blast holes was carried out by women for the first time.

“This is how we built our communities,” said Netta Christie, of Discover Buxton, which brings the history of Buxton alive in a number of unique and engaging ways, including their famous red tourist tram.

The exhibition is on until July 10, and you can still bid for pictures from the exhibition.

For more, see discoverbuxton.co.uk.