Sunday 11 December 2022

Spring Garden's stories


we're looking for new poems about Buxton's Spring Gardens
Resident? Visitor? Tourist, troubadour or ghost, we’re looking for poems, snippets and short stories that celebrate ( or haunt, or disturb) Buxton’s Spring Gardens

Shakespeare Hotel

Deadline: 31st January 2023

Work needs to be your own (or submitted with original author's credit and permission!)

Length: please keep it short: no more than 500 words/ Ownership remains yours....if further publication of work arising from this project looks likely, we'll come back to you for formal agreements

Send as word doc to:


Miller's Cafe and Tea Room

To take a walk along Spring Gardens in Buxton is to wander through a slice of the town’s history. The Grove Hotel at one end is said to have been named in memory of a sacred grove from the town’s Roman and pre-Roman history. Metal arcades hail from the heyday of  visitors “taking the waters” (baths can still be seen (but not taken) in the Cavendish Arcade and the Pump Room). The Springs Arcade is more recent, as are many of the shops, but they still hold secrets, hide secrets, and sit squarely beside or on top of relics of other times. 

Memories linger. The Shakespeare Garage is the last legacy of the Shakespeare Hotel and the Shakespeare Theatre. Tucked away courtyards speak of other street patterns.

Everything changes. The Picture House that became the Spa Cinema has gone but the NatWest corner that once sported an ice cream parlour and an intriguing flight of steps is now going to change again.


What matters to you when you walk along the Gardens: a shopping list, a café, this shop or that shop, a friend you’re going to meet, a pigeon sitting on an awning watching you?


Milton's Head Pub?

As part of the Our Street project within the Buxton Heritage Action Zone, “Word on the Street” is collecting poems. What might inspire you to scribble a sketch with words? To tell us a tale of shopping? To slide through time to earlier days? To turn a shopping list into rhythm and rhyme? We are mostly looking for poems (or short prose pieces) around spring Gardens but if you wanted to write about Buxton as a whole or other aspects pf the town, please do! All of this work will feed into a drop-in day for the public on February 19th 2023 at The Pump Room (times will follow) where some of the work received will feature in a small exhibition. Work will also appear in a series of posts here for you to read, laugh at and share with all your friends, relatives and the neighbours who really annoy you….Sorry, no prizes but our thanks, no reward but public delight (hopefully) in your words


Where might you start?

  • New shops, old shops
  • Go shopping through time – look at the photos!
  • Or people-watching through time
  • hidden places: the River Wye runs in culverts under The Springs
  • lost places: Shakespeare Theatre for one
  • Charity shopping
  • Café life (so many tables in the Gardens, so many places to stop and chat – both now and 100 years ago)
  • Wells: the Children’s Well at the western end is the most recent addition to our town’s collection of wells
  • Individual shops and spaces: an assignation in Hargreave’s Tea Rooms (now, or maybe 100 years ago?)
  • Music, celebration, an older route for the carnival….
  • Winter in Buxton…..(there's a lovely post by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery about winters here....)


The Picture House

Writing ideas? Need a thought to get you started?

Take a word, add another, add a feeling, season and spice and see what comes next


Inspiration: there are some historic images of Spring Gardens here, more will follow


Stuck for what to write? Try: 

  • an acrostic: take the name of a shop perhaps and let the letters of that become the first letters of the lines of a poem
  • a haiku: three lines, 5 syllables, 7 syllables then 5 again: ideally there are two observations (lines 1 and 2) then your own response (line 3)…the syllables aren’t fixed…think as 2 observations, a breath and a reaction and improvise!
  • Rhyme if you want to (street, feet, neat, door, more, sore, shop, drop, pop….lots of easy rhymes along the Gardens) but you don’t have to!
  • Take a set of phrases about Spring Gardens and try jumbling them up and create a journey of images along the Gardens
  • limerick if you need to! usually lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme with 8 or 9 syllables, while 3 and 4 rhyme and have 5 or 6 syllables...



‘Our Street’ will bring Buxton people together. Through a series of events and activities, we’ll support local artists and organisations to connect communities with Spring Gardens and its surrounding streets. We’ll celebrate the heritage of the area, have fun and create lasting memories for participants and audiences, locals and visitors, young and old.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

many thanks to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Derbyshire County Council for supplying these (and more) wonderful images of an older version of Spring Gardens

Spring Gardens looking towards the Crescent

Lawson's Vaults, No. 2 Spring Gardens

corner of Spring Gardens and Terrace Road: look at the level of the road!

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