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July 2003
Inside Buxton's dome
You are in: Derby > Discover Derbyshire
The impressive domed ceiling
Prior to its refurbishment, the University of Derby-owned Devonshire Hospital in Buxton has opened its doors for the first time to BBC Derby.

Take a look inside one of the most impressive buildings in the country.

With a dome bigger than St Paul’s in London, the former Devonshire Royal Hospital in Buxton has thrown open its doors to the BBC.

Let us take you on a tour of the building that was originally built as a stable for the fifth Duke of Devonshire's horses.

Take a look inside this remarkable building

First though, a bit of history...

Built in 1785 the building was home to 110 horses.

The stables served the nearby Crescent, built in 1780.

Both the Stables and the Crescent were built on behalf of the reigning Duke of Devonshire as part of the plan to promote Buxton as a Spa.

In 1858 two thirds of the building were converted into a hospital – the remaining third stayed as stables until 1881 when it was fully converted to a hospital with its unmistakably spectacular dome.

For a time this dome was the largest unsupported dome in the world – only surpassed today by two in America.

Once the stables were fully converted into a hospital, more changes were made – the clock tower and lodge were built in 1882, surgical wards were built in 1897, baths were built in 1913 and the dining room and kitchens were built in 1921.

The building became known as the Devonshire Royal Hospital in 1934.

On 31st January 2001 the University of Derby acquired the Devonshire Royal Hospital.

The University has received £4.7m Heritage Lottery Fund backing for the project and redevelopment work has started on site.

Predictions for the campus include a full-time student population of 2,500, of whom a substantial amount will be studying for higher level qualifications.

There will be new learning centres and facilities as well as a social area for bookshops, banks, cafés etc.

Now join us for a peek inside


Your Comments

My Grandfther was in the hospital in the 70's we travelled from Walsall every weekend to visit him. I remember playing on the huge roof, I think. I don't remember how we got up there I was only 7 at the time. Would love more information. I remember looking down at the floor and being told that it used to be stables.

Amanda Bagnall

In 1861 my great great grandfather, Edward Bailey, was Head Ostler in the stables at the Devonshire Hospital. I'd love to find any records of his life and work there. Do you have any idea where I could get some information? Thanks very much,
Anne Hillman,
Malaga, Spain

Terrific info hope the work progresses well, it was really interesting to see inside the old building and enjoyed the story thank you.

Tom Walden

It is certainly great that this fine old building is put to a new use and hopefully the public will be allowed to go into it to appreciate the architectural beauty of it. I heard some of the broadcasts from the site and I was well impressed Name -

Alan Squires

Congratulations to University of Derby and all involved in ensuring that this beautiful and historical building will be preserved for all to see and admire, while serving to educating future generations. I believe that projects such as this deserve a lot more Lottery Funding, I also hope that when restored the building or at least parts of it will be open to the visiting public, it wil compliment the other historical buildings in Buxton Name -

Sam Allen
Pinxton, Derbyshire

Excellent that it is being preserved - I visitied my Grandmother there in about 1992 and if you stand in the exact centre of the dome there is an amazing amplification effect as all the sounds you make are reflected back to you. Name -

joh coleshill

The photos are superb. I have always wondered what it was like inside. I will look forward to visiting when it is finished. I am almost sorry I no longer work for the University - it would be great to have the chance to work there.

Kay Coulson

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