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The Peak Hydro, Buxton: Canadian Hospital
Canadian Hospital
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The hydro opened on Terrace Road in the early 1880s and by 1887 J. Cross was the steward. Dr. Samuel Hyde was its physican and Mrs. Kate McGregor was the manageress in 1891 although she moved to the Queens Hotel, Bridge of Allan later that year. She was back in Buxton by 1895[1]. Dr. Hyde, who died in 1900, had been a great advocate of Buxton as a health giving resort. He was the founder of the Balneological and Climatological Society and an acknowledged authority on the use of medicinal waters[2].

In 1911 the hydro's 150 rooms had been redecorated, refurbished, and there were also self-contained suites. It offered Turkish and other baths[3].

In August 1914 the Peak Hydro advertised that they had "the finest ballroom in the North" as well as "the only Turkish Baths in Buxton"[4]. The hotel was described as" luxuriously furnished" and with "the finest cuisine"[4]. Then war was declared and by November 1914 the "Royal Engineers had set up a headquarters for the preliminary training of 1,800 men" at the Hydro[5].

By May 1916 the Hydro had been fully fitted out as an up to date hospital for the Canadian wounded and there were already about 150 in residence[6]. On 11 Aug 1916 the Duchess of Devonshire officially opened the Canadian Red Cross Hospital set up at the hotel[7]. The Times noted that" many Canadians were present, including Major-General Sir Sam Hughes"[7].

This postcard was probably sent by one of the soldiers and is postmarked 5 Jun 1918. On the back it is franked with the slogan "Buy National War Bonds". On January 1st 1918 the National War Saving's Committee advertised in The Times suggesting people should invest in National War Bonds as a New Year Resolution as a patriot![8]

The Canadian Red Cross Society instructed that all surplus furniture, bedding linen and machinery should be sold after they departed and everything was to be auctioned in August 1919. Items included two billiard tables and a bagatelle table with accessories, a cello and violin, 80 armchairs and upholstered wicker chairs, 200 bedside tables, 2 bales of sphagnum moss and other dressings, 13 copper sterilising drums, 300 pyjamas, a Singer's tailor's sewing maching and a new wringer[9].

The former hydro and hospital is now the home of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. It had been unoccupied since the departure of the Canadian troops, and was purchased by Buxton Corporation in 1925 for use as a both a free library and museum, at a reported cost of £4,100[10].

The Canadians also took over another large Derbyshire Hotel as a hospital in WW1 - the Royal Hotel in Matlock Bath.
There is more about the Royal Hotel elsewhere on this web site

"The Peak Hydro, Buxton Canadian Hospital", published by R. Sneath, 3 Paradise St., Sheffield. Posted Buxton 5 Jun 1918.
This card was sent to Private Alan Bleasdale 1045860, 2nd C. C. D., Bramshott Camp, Bramshott, Haslemere. Written to Albert from F.M.H.
In a private collection (PC).
Researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Kelly's Directory, 1887, 1891 and 1895, 1891, 1901 and 1911 census. There were very few people at the hydro in the 1911 census, presumably because of the refurbishment.

[2] Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter, 16 February 1900. Dr. Hyde, of Lismore House, Buxton was aged 50 and was well known as an authority in hydropathy.

[3] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 30 August 1911.

[4] The Times, 13 Aug, 1914.

[5] Beresford, Charles "The Bath at War, A Derbyshire Community and the Great War" (2007). Country Books/Ashridge Press

[6] Ashbourne News Telegraph, 26 May 1916. A telling comment in the report was that the hydro hsd seen so many ups and downs of fortune.

[7] The Times, 12 Aug, 1916.

[8] The Times, 1 Jan, 1918.

[9] Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 29 August 1919. The sale was to be on 3rd, 4th and 5th September.

[10] Dundee Evening Telegraph, 30 Oct 1925 and Derbyshire Times, 7 Nov 1925.

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