News and Events
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Chris Simpson on the history of the Market Place in Buxton
Some photographs from the 47th AGM held on 19th June 2017
Buxton Civic Association’s next talk is on 20th April at 7.30pm at Poole’s Cavern Visitor Centre. Members and non- members are welcome. We are delighted to welcome Gerald Price from the Woodland Trust.
Gerald explains that the “The talk is about the importance of Woodland, to us, wildlife and the environment. Woodland is one of our most precious parts of the countryside and contributes significant positive benefits to each of these. We will look at what these are. For example, Trees bring two important characteristics to the landscape; height and relative permanency. To about half of all our native wildlife species this creates a home, just as buildings do so for us. Loss of habitat is one of the main causes for species extinction. Much in the news is air pollution. Trees can help here, especially in urban areas in extracting dust and CO2. Perhaps paradoxically our towns and cities often have a higher tree cover than surrounding open countryside. Also, most find woodland therapeutic as well as very valuable leisure areas.”
The Woodland Trust is committed to doubling native tree cover in the UK. There are three main strands to this:
There are many threats such as disease, development and just not caring. The Trust wants to draw attention to these by encouraging people to visit and explore woods. There are 45 separate woodland areas with a 10 mile radius of Buxton that the general public can visit. Gerald will explain will explain how to find these.
The Trust is leading a multi organisation initiative to put in place a Woodland Charter this November to a) celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Carta do Foresta (an annex to the Magna Carta) and b) to formally recognise the importance of Woodland in the Landscape for us all. He will have the latest news on this.
Gerald Price has now retired from working in IT Operations, an indoor job where the life span of equipment was little more than 3 years. In contrast, at weekends, he found a role as a volunteer warden for a WT wood enjoying the outside life and a project planning 30 Years plus! Having to move to the Midlands he took to speaking to groups, leading walks and helping on new woodland creation projects. As been as a Friend of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, a new 460 acre site in the National Forest he has been helping the creation of new woodland or a site that was until 2010 an open cast colliery. He currently speaks to about 20 groups a year and looks forward to meeting those interested in the world outside!
The story of the Fountain on the Market Place
After last month’s fascinating and revealing talk about the crescent restoration project, Adam Bench will be continuing the theme of historic Buxton, with a presentation on the history of the “Fountain” on the market. Build in 1840 and presented to the town by the Chatsworth estate, it was one of the first sources of clean fresh water for higher Buxton. Adam has conducted extensive research amongst the Chatsworth estate archives and the Derbyshire County Council pubic records office to trace the fascinating history of this grade II listed building. BCA and the Buxton Wells Dressing Festival committee are seeking to restore the fountain to its former glory and hope to announcing plans for its restoration soon.
The talk is at 7.30pm on 16th March at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre
Restoring the Crescent - a life time of challenges
The New Kings Cross Station, the Stade de France or building and running national motorways on the continent, is one thing, but the crescent restoration project provides a life time of engineering and building challenges for Cary Hadfield, Senior Project Manager and his team from Vinci Construction.
Vinci construction is well placed to carry out the complex and challenging work that the crescent poses. As well Motorways, Hotel complexes and other major civic engineering projects, they were the main contractors in the scheme to put a roof over the shell of the Chernobyl complex. This required positioning the cover remotely and working in difficult and dangerous conditions.
Speaking to a packed Poole’s Cavern visitors centre, Cary gave BCA members a fascinating and at times a humorous insight into the progress that has been made so far and his personal journey on the crescent project.
As Cary demonstrated working on the crescent is a bit of a leap into the unknown. The enabling works carried out in 2012 were a major civil engineering project, that required the building of a concrete basement complex, positioned over the springs that provide Nestle with Buxton Spring water. It was scheduled to take 26 weeks but in the end as problems were encountered and solved it was 52 weeks before the works were complete and the Main Contract works could be tendered.
The crescent was built over 200 years ago, at a cost of £38,601, taking eight years to complete, and it has seen numerous attempts to shore up the original work over the years. It is often these previous renovations that pose greater problems than the original building works. Rotten timber structures, incomplete fireplaces all add to the difficulties of working in a Grade 1 listed building and having to adhere to strict conservation guidelines. It all contributes to the project budget of £35 million.
Interestingly conservationists are generally more interested in ensuring that the building and decorating techniques of the past are preserved where ever possible to enable future generations to understand how the building was constructed, rather than individual items that are discovered.
The sensitive nature of the building and the complex of rooms and passages often mean that modern techniques and equipment cannot be used. It is back to the old ways, with no choice but for the team to physically dig out cellars and barrow the waste away. This is physically demanding work, often undertaken in difficult conditions, including the steamy heat when working close to the springs. If the original architect, John Carr was to wander in, he would recognise many of the techniques that were being used.
So far 500 tradesmen and construction workers have been involved in the works and Cary expects that it will be closer to 3,000 by the end of the contract. He paid tribute to the team, who as well as working in often difficult conditions, including many local tradesmen, have shown great resourcefulness and skill in overcoming the challenges thrown up so far.
There were many questions from the floor. Often demonstrating an intimate knowledge of the building, these were answered fully and with attention to detail, often with humour.
The nature of the building mean that there have been unforeseen problems that inevitably cause delays, but almost a year since the restoration work began, Cary and his team believe that they have uncovered the major unseen’s.
He has offered to comeback in the summer of 2018 to give a final report on Vinci’s part in this historic project.
These are exciting times for Buxton and the Museum and Joe Perry and Gordon Maclellan from Creeping Toad, enticed and intrigued members and friends of Buxton Civic Association with a fascinating talk on how Buxton’s past is to be showcased, explained and demonstrated to future visitors.
As well as a major refurbishment of the interior of the building, sweeping away the narrow corridors and little hideaways to reveal an open space that will tell the story of Buxton, of its geology, environment and people, the visitor will be able to step outside and with the use of new technology, explore the town’s past on foot and even add their own memories and places of interest for others to enjoy using the museum’s new Pocket Wonders website and interactive tool.
Mike Monaghan, BCA Chair, praised the work that the museum and its funders were undertaking to provide a 21st century experience for visitors to the town. He noted that it was encouraging and refreshing that the museum was seeking the views of their customers as part of the process of redesigning the layout and exhibits. It will be a wonderful addition to Buxton.
And there was even more good news. The bear will be staying, housed next to the lift to greet or growl at visitors.
We have a full programme of talks for 2017 opening on Thursday 19th January with Charlie Roberts from Nestle who will talk about the Bottling Plant at Waterswallows. Members and non-members are welcome. All talks start at 7.30pm unless stated otherwise and are held at the Poole’s Cavern Visitor Centre, Green Lane, Buxton.
If you are struggling to find that perfect present for the person that has almost everything, why not consider giving them a year's membership to Buxton Civic Association. As well as supporting a well established charity, that owns and manages 160 acres of beautiful woodland in and around Buxton, membership entitles the recipient to free car parking at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre car park, free guided tours of Poole's Cavern and 10% discount off purchases of food and drink at the Cafe in the visitor centre. Full details can be found by clicking on the link below.
Its Time to start planning for Civic Day 2017
Every June Civic Voice organise a National Civic Day.
Civic Day is a chance to celebrate and showcase the diversity and range of activities taking place across the civic movement and unites us with a simple idea – that we can all do something, however big or small, to make our towns, villages and cities great places to live in.
Last Year we held a members evening and showcased the work that we had been doing on the Places and Spaces Project. In 2014 we held a small pop up exhibition by Turners Memorial to celebrate the work that BCA has done and is doing.
If you are interested in getting involved or have some ideas about how we can celebrate Civic Day 2017, our 50th Anniversary year, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org