The beautiful town of Buxton is a famous spa town. The town was originally named ‘Aquae Arnematiae’ (The Water of the Goddess of the Grove) by the Romans, after they discovered the warm, natural springs located on the site where the Cavendish Arcade now stands. In Roman times, the springs were a huge attraction and still, to this day, tourists come from far and wide to visit and learn more about the thermal springs.
The town was renamed ‘Buxton’ when the area was a Royal Forest and the King’s deer came to graze and drink from the warm springs. There is thought to be a number of reasons on how Buxton got it’s name and one suggestion is from ‘Buck’ and ‘Stan’ (stones), though another suggestion is Bug-Stan (rocking stones).
In 1572 Dr John Jones produced the first medical journal on Buxton’s waters titled ‘The Benefit of the Ancient Bathes of Buckstones. On the back of this many more authors wrote on the healing properties of the warm waters. From these accounts, Buxton progressed and continued to grow in importance through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Mary Queen of Scots took advantage of these healing properties. She often spent her summers in Buxton during the time that the Earl of Shrewsbury had her kept under house arrest. The Old Hall Hotel, which is only 100 metres from the Cavendish Arcade, was in fact, built for Mary Queen of Scots to stay in during these summers. It is believed that the warm spring water helped to cure her rheumatism, which was thought to be caused by the damp conditions of the castle prisons. Other well known visitors from the Elizabethan court passed thorough the town. Including, Lord Burghey, the Earl of Sussex, and the EarI of Leicester, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth. All hatching plots in the support of the Scottish queen.
In 1852-1853 Henry Currey, the Duke of Devonshire’s architect, designed and built the Thermal Baths on the original site of the Roman Baths. The building was opened in 1854 and was open to the public and was also used extensively for the patients of The Devonshire hospital (The Dome) to help aid their recovery.
Sadly, due to the advances in technology and the advances in medicine, the use of the baths saw a down turn and the baths were eventually closed…….but not forgotten!
In 1987 the thermal baths were re-developed and were converted into The Cavendish shopping arcade. The Thermal Baths were an integral part of the design of the Arcade. The history of Buxton’s famous baths can be seen throughout the arcade and the actual baths themselves can be seen through a glass panels in the floors. There is a beautiful, barrel vaulted, stained glass canopy covering the arcade.
The arcade has grown over the years and now houses some of the best boutiques in and around Buxton.