The vital work of supporters, project partners and volunteers involved with the £50m Buxton Crescent redevelopment have been honoured during a special celebration.
More than 100 guests, including members of the Friends of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust, joined the trust’s patron the Duke of Devonshire and its chairman James Berresford, at a reception in the Pump Room on Tuesday.
Mr Berresford said: “This is a year in for us (the Friends) and so much progress has been made and there is much to look forward to the future.
“The Crescent development will open next year and will make waves in Buxton and will be the most important tourism development in the whole country without a doubt.
“The ripples of this project will be felt far and wide and it is such an exciting time and an honour to be involved with a project of this scale, and to fly the flag for Derbyshire.”
The Friends group, which has surpassed the 100-member milestone since it was launched last June, was praised.
James said: “The Friends have been invaluable and are great ambassadors. The Crescent has to work for the whole town and the Friends are the heartbeat spreading our message.”
His words were echoed by the Duke of Devonshire, who highlighted the work of Penny and Mick Cook who have volunteered hundreds of hours to help with the oral history project and open days at the Pump Room.
Penny, who was presented with a gift, said: “I am absolutely shocked and never expected this. I just really enjoy being part of it.”
Financial backers, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, were also thanked for their support.
The transformation of the Crescent into a five-star hotel and spa is due to be completed next year and when the doors open visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the history of the building and the journey of its restoration in six new experience rooms.
The Duke said: “This is a great building full of history and the visitor rooms are a truly inspired move. People coming to the hotel will take the waters but can also learn about its heritage so the past is never forgotten.
“The Crescent with the Pump Room will create a fantastic attraction for the area and will be a huge success. This is a great thing for Buxton and for Derbyshire.”
With the help of The Bingham Trust, the heritage trust has held open days and events which in the last year were attended by more than 10,000 people.
Liz Mackenzie, events manager for the trust, said: “The Pump Room is a magical room and you can really feel the life coming back into the space.”
During the reception, Kath Mitchell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby, announced a new partnership with the trust.
She said: “There is a buzz in the town and that excitement is coming from the Crescent. We are no longer the university at the top of the hill, we are in the heart of the town making partnerships to last a lifetime.
“Going forward we can give students the best possible experiences in hospitality and leisure outside of London.
“We will be gearing our curriculum around The Crescent’s needs so the next generation can step up and step in.”
Music from Buxton’s Mad Hatters Young People’s Choir and harpist Alice Kerwin entertained the crowd, and models brought the Pump Room’s past to life in original Victorian and Edwardian costumes provided by Hope House Museum.