A hundred years ago, two Canadian researchers made a scientific breakthrough in treating diabetes. Isobel reflects on the anniversary and its connection with Buxton:
While looking round Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum last year, I saw a fascinating exhibition by Viktor Wynd, from the Museum of Unnatural History which formed part of their Monsters of the Deep exhibition.
One of the exhibits was (I kid you not), David Bowie’s biscuit crumbs. I love that feeling you get when you see things like this, things that somebody actually touched – especially if that person was a hero, somebody famous, or even infamous! Or it could be a fossil that is millions of years old, or even things like the dungeons at Warwick Castle, some artefact from an Egyptian pharaoh – but it is often the memory of one object that remains for years.
The building we now know as Buxton Museum and Art Gallery was used during World War 1 as a Canadian Red Cross Hospital, No. 2, Buxton. The (now demolished) Empire Hotel on Carlisle Road in Buxton was used a a discharge depot for the soldiers, and two massive stone gateposts remain there.
In 2017, a plaque to commemorate the Granville Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital was unveiled at Buxton Railway Station.
One of the Canadian doctors looking after the soldiers was Frederick Banting, who went on to co-discover insulin 100 years ago.
For me, a walk past those old gates on Carlisle Road knowing who walked through them, possibly stopping to look up towards Solomon’s Temple as he did so, is a very special moment. Even when I am rummaging in my bag in the cold and rain for my keys to open the museum door when I come to work, I think of my hero who walked through the very same doorway.