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The Crescent, Buxton, 1840
The Crescent

The Crescent.
G. Rowe. Lith

The lithograph of the Crescent at Buxton was published in William Adam's "The Gem of the Peak" in 1840[1]. Adam also wrote the following:

"It appears that the late Duke of Devonshire, who watched over the rising prosperity of this spot with great interest, which induced him to buy up all the Inns and Boarding Houses he could, to pull down, and rebuild them on a larger scale and in a better style, still thought more was wanting to accommodate the vast influx of visitors who came from all quarters for a few months in the season, - and as the inhabitants were few in number, and not wealthy, depending solely on visitors, and having no trade or agriculture to help them forward, - no gigantic speculation was to be looked for from them; his Grace therefore determined to erect such a range of buildings as should afford ample and princely accommodation for all, whether they came simply for pleasure or health.

The splendid pile of the Crescent, dictated by a spirit of munificence, and executed in a style of grandeur, as if intended solely for the residence of a prince, was commenced about the year 1789, and completed in seven years afterwards, at a cost of £120,000.* The design was by John Carr, esq., an eminent provincial architect, who superintended the whole building. It is in the Doric order of architecture, - perhaps the best adapted of all others for dwellings, from the simplicity and beauty of the style. It is composed of three stories; the lower one is a rusticated arcade, forming a beautiful and convenient promenade for the visitor in wet weather, or on scorching days, and amply provided with seats for their accommodation; this is seven feet wide within the pillars, (which support the two upper stories) and eleven high. The floor of the arcade is raised at least three feet above the gravelled area in front, between which communications are formed by several flights of steps. An elegant balustrade skirts the front and ends of the building; the span of which is nearly three hundred and seventeen feet. The divisions between the windows over the piers of the arcade are formed of fluted Doric pilasters, that support the architrave and cornice; the triglyphs of the former, and the rich plancere of the latter, are specimens of workmanship rarely excelled, and have a beautiful effect. Another balustrade raised above the cornices, and extending all round, much enriches the building, in the centre of which is the Devonshire arms, well carved. The inner circle of the Crescent is two hundred feet; each wing measures fifty-eight feet, - and the number of windows is three hundred and seventy-eight. It is built of the gritstone obtained near the spot, and faced by a fine grained variety of the grit, termed provincially freestone. The Crescent is divided into two hotels, one lodging-house, and several shops. St. Anne's Hotel is in the west wing, and the Great Hotel occupies the east. - Here is the Assembly Room, which is a noble and well proportioned apartment, with a projecting cornice, highly enriched with various appropriate ornaments; over this, just under the coved ceiling, are a number of low oval windows, (but unseen) which throw the light softly and beautifully over the top part of the room*.* The stables at the back of the Crescent, but considerably elevated above it, next demand our notice. These are considered the finest in Europe; their form outside is that of an irregular polygon or octagon, the opposite sides of which are equal and similar, but inside the area is a circle sixty yards in diameter, round which is a covered gallery or ride, where the company can take exercise on horseback whenever the weather proves unfavourable for going abroad. In these stables (which belong to the Crescent Hotels) there is abundance of accommodation for horses, carriages, &c. The cost of their erection (£14,000) is said to be included in the £120,000".


* It is said that this sum was the produce of the Ecton copper mine, in Staffordshire, the property of the Duke of Devonshire, which netted some weeks the amount of £10,000. This mine is now quite exhausted, and all the lower workings filled with water. Its depth is about 1,500 feet. It is a subject of deep regret that the situation of the Crescent is so low, but it appears to have been the only one that could be commanded at that time - the Crescent being the result of a second plan, when the late Duke was defeated in his original intentions by the obstinacy of a person whose property stood in the way of its execution, and whose demands were deemed too extravagant.

** The length of this room is 75½ feet - 30 wide, and the same in height.

Lithograph of The Crescent, and text from the book, published in: Adam, W. (1840) "The Gem of the Peak" London; Longman & Co., Paternoster Row.
From the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
Text OCRed and information researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Adam, William (1840) "The Gem of the Peak", London; Longman & Co., Paternoster Row - see onsite transcript.

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