Buxton Museum is grateful to Derek Brown for donating this letter written by his grandfather James. The letter is undated but it concerns taking the spa treatments of Buxton so we estimate its age to be somewhere between 1880 and 1920.

It is a sincere and charming message that permits an insight into a time when people came to sample the air and water of Buxton to improve their health and cure a variety of ailments.

The handwriting is a little faded and hard to read in places but we think it reads:

3 Leyland Cottages

Hardwick Square


Dear Mamma, Richard, Will, James, Alice and Grandma

I am here alright as you will see and have got beautiful lodgings with a very nice family, and I think I shall be very comfortable. It is a bonny place and a lovely ride to it after you leave Manchester district. I have seen John in the hospital, he is not very much better yet. I shall go and see the doctor tonight or in the morning to see what baths I ought to take. This will cost me five shillings but I think it will be best and then I shall make no mistake. Give kind regards to all enquiring friends and a kiss for all my own.

With best love

Hoping the lads will be very good while I am away and that I shall derive much good from my visit.

James Brown

The letter is addressed Hardwick Square which still stands today just around the corner from Buxton Museum which was The Peak Hydropathic Hotel at the time of writing. It is likely that James Brown was treated on these very premises. The “baths” that he refers to were varied therapies. These days, some of them look like methods of torture!