Designed by Henry Currey, the Palace Hotel was built between 1863 and 1867. It was sold at auction in 1867 due to the financial difficulties the original company were facing. A brochure from this auction shows us that the hotel was originally called The Buxton Hotel and cost a total of £50,000 to build. Annual ground rents totaling £152 14s 2d were payable to the Duke of Devonshire who owned the land. The name was changed by the new owners who included: the Duke of Devonshire, two London Northwest Railway directors and a prominent local businessman.
The Palace Hotel was a major player when it came to the hosting of regional and national conferences. The names of the organisations were particularly glamorous or exciting, The British Paper Box Federation being a particular highlight of mundanity. Despite this they were still frequently attended by the mayor of Buxton showing their importance to the town.
Some excitement was however provided by the Ice Cream Alliance who, predicting a particularly jovial spirit at their conference on 17th October 1968, had dancing planned until 2AM on a Thursday.
Given the hotel’s prominence as a conference centre it has had a number of famous guests. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. stayed at the Palace Hotel with Mary Pickford whilst she was starring in Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.
It is said that the Palace Hotel was visited by Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin Bulganin in the 1950’s. Bulganin did visit the UK alongside Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 though there is no record that he visited Buxton. There is a record of Malenkov visiting Buxton in March 1956 but there is no mention that Bulganin was present.
Mike Lanham and Collin Wells, Buxton: A Pictorial History, (Philliman, Chichester, 1993)
Keith Taylor, Buxton, Burbage, Chelmorton, Harpur Hill, Peak Dale, King Sterndale and Wormhill: Remembered, (Country Books, Bakewell, 2014)
Peter Lomas, The Buxton Hydro (Country Books, Bakewell) www.buxtonhydro.info