The 2016 AGM and Social Weekend took place at the Palace Hotel, Buxton in the East Midlands Region over the weekend of the 13th May.
Buxton is in an area in a basin where the nearby River Wye has carved a gorge through the limestone and is positioned between the gritstone and limestone rock areas showing a very sharp contrast in features. This Spa town has had thermal baths occupied continuously since at least Roman times, when a fort and settlement called ‘Aquae Arnemetiae’ was established here. The Romans were attracted to the site by the warm springs which emerge near the River Wye with a constant temperature of twenty eight degrees Celsius. They built baths here and these springs have been a major source of importance and income for Buxton.
The spring at St Ann's well was probably a place of pilgrimage as early as the Middle Ages, but it was fairly well established certainly by Tudor times and in Elizabeth I's time, it was visited by The Earl of Leicester, Lord Burghley and Mary Queen of Scots, who was being held captive by the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Bess of Hardwick, at nearby Chatsworth.
The great period of Buxton as a Spa began when the 5th Duke of Devonshire started the construction of the Crescent in 1780. This magnificent building which took ten years to build reflects the crescent at Bath. In 1851-3 a new set of thermal baths were built, but in 1863 when the railway arrived in Buxton, many large hotels were built of which only our hotel, ‘The Palace’, now survives. Just down the hill from the Palace Hotel is the Opera House, along with the beautiful Pavilion Gardens. Fashionable town houses were built and the town expanded to almost its present limits.
This period of expansion and grandeur is captured by Vera Brittan's 'Testament of Youth', which recounts her childhood experiences in Buxton. The town has a full range of shops, just off Spring Gardens and there is a market every Tuesday and Saturday, so attendees may get a chance to view the many stalls.