Looking back on 30 years since Buxton's Crescent was evacuated

Buxton’s historic Crescent building reopened as a luxury hotel last year after a major restoration but 30 years ago this month the building had to be evacuated over safety fears.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 11:04 am

Trevor Gilman was a regular visitor to the library on the east side of The Crescent in the late 1980s and early 1990s and remembers when the building was evacuated.

The 78-year-old said: “I used to be in the library two or three times a week picking up a book or looking for the best bargains when they had record sales.

"Then all of a sudden over the course of a weekend the staff at The Crescent were evacuated and the building was shut over safety concerns of the roof falling in and it wasn’t opened again.”

The Crescent as it currently looks in 2021

A report from the Buxton Advertiser in July 1991 said: “Nearly 100 staff were moved out of the library, education careers and registrar's office on Saturday.

“The poor structural condition of the offices has been under observation by the county surveyors for some months and the reference library has been closed for two years after the discovery of structural problems in the roof.

"The most recent check by surveyors revealed that timbers throughout the council premises had moved significantly and the authority was forced to close the building.”

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From then the library moved to Kents Bank and the council offices eventually relocated to the Town Hall.

Following the closing of Grade II listed Crescent building, previously the St Ann’s Hotel, Trevor went on to found the Buxton Group, made up of people who had the town’s best interest at heart.

He said: “A lot has changed in three decades.

"People were so sad to see The Crescent shut and then watch it fall into ruins but I’m really glad it has reopened again.

"Elsewhere in the town the Devonshire Hospital has closed and the town welcomed the University then the college and the market has become thriving again.

"I think its important to mark the 30th anniversary of the closure on July 31 because it is a point in time that started Buxton on its new journey to be where it is now.”

The Crescent Hotel opened in October after a multi-million pound restoration project spanning almost 20 years.

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