Tag Archives: Archives

Scenes of summer

While we enjoy the last days – and rays – of summer, it seems like as good a time as any to share some images of the season from the museum collection. There are certainly plenty to choose from, even though you’d be forgiven for thinking that Buxton is better known for its somewhat wintry reputation!

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Postcard sent from Buxton, postmarked July 11th 1908

These pictures, reproduced on postcards, demonstrate the variety of activities available to residents and visitors in Buxton during the warmer months of the year.

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Ashwood Park was built in the early 1920s on the grounds of the Ashwood Park Hotel. 

As well as sporting activities like tennis, bowls, boating and golf, visitors and residents could enjoy strolls in landscaped areas around the town and walks in the countryside.

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The Serpentine Walks extend along the River Wye to the west of Pavilion Gardens

The more adventurous could explore further afield with trips by horse-drawn carriage and charabanc to scenic destinations including Dovedale, Ashford-in-the-Water, the Cat and Fiddle public house and the Goyt Valley.


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Passengers leaving Buxton with their driver J Wilkinson and guard A Gallinson, pulled by the horses Black Jack and Little Arthur. Early 20th century.

While adults enjoyed promenading through Pavilion Gardens, there was also plenty of entertainment for children. We love this postcard of a Punch & Judy show by the Crescent:

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Postcard dated 1896

Lest we forget that the sun doesn’t always shine in Buxton in the summer, we have two postcards showing a flood in Pavilion Gardens, which (while it may not have been the result of heavy rain?) certainly must have put a dampener on the usual summer pursuits.

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Enjoy the rest of the summer – wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! Remember Buxton Museum and Art Gallery closes for redevelopment on 5 September so you only have until the weekend to pay us a visit.



May these waters never cease to flow

This week Buxton celebrates the well dressing festival, which began in 1840 to thank the Duke of Devonshire for piping a supply of fresh water to a well on the Market Place. Apart from a break between 1912 and 1925, the event has been held annually.

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Celebrations on the Crescent in 1864, the first year that St Ann’s Well was decorated.

Since Thursday volunteers have been busy creating the dressings inside St John’s Church and this morning the results will have been installed at the three wells around the town ready to be blessed this afternoon.

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The blessing of Higher Buxton Well in 1910.


The blessing of the wells starts with a service at St Anne’s Church on Bath Road followed by a procession that marches to each of the three wells in turn for a short blessing at each one. Afterwards the new well dressing Queen is crowned in a ceremony at St John’s Church. Next Saturday she will lead the annual carnival procession through the town.

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Festival Queen Florence Morten leading the carnival procession in 1925.


The three wells are  St Ann’s Well on the Crescent, the Children’s Well (or Taylor Well) on Spring Gardens and Higher Buxton Well on the Market Place. The displays remain up until the following Monday (11th July this year) for visitors and residents to enjoy.

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Palace Hotel Laundry parade float, June 1932


Buxton Museum and Art Gallery has a large collection of photographs and postcards that record the history of well dressing in the town, including wonderful well dressings, former festival queens, prize-winning parade floats and spectacular street scenes. Thanks to the people who collected them and the generosity of our donors and supporters, we’ll be able to keep and look after these snapshots of Buxton tradition for future generations to enjoy.

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May pole dancing on the Crescent in front of St Ann’s Well, 1912.

More information about Buxton well dressing and associated events can be found on the official festival website here.

The Funduklian Story Part One

New exhibition Arto Funduklian: His Personal Choice opens at Buxton Museum tomorrow. Not only does the exhibition reveal a rarely-seen collection of magnificent art but also something about the man and the family who acquired it. To accompany the exhibition, we are privileged to present the research of performance artist Sarah Coggrave, as well as two actual performances in the gallery. Sarah’s findings about the Funduklian family are extensive and shed more light on our own art collection. Parts two and three will follow in the next couple of weeks. You can see the exhibition until Sunday 6th September. Over to you, Sarah:

This summer, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery showcases the art collection of Arto Funduklian – an Armenian textile trader who resided in Buxton during his latter years. Arto was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul), but grew up in Manchester, and spent much of his adult life doing business in New York. He had four siblings – three younger brothers and a sister, Astra.

On July 25th and August 15th, between 2pm and 4pm, the exhibition will receive a visit from Arto’s sister, Astra, re-imagined as an artistic performance.

My name is Sarah Coggrave, and I’m a performance artist and researcher currently based in Derbyshire. I’ll be responsible for bringing Astra to Buxton. My practice involves creating characters, costumes and gestures to bring hidden histories to life. I also possess the unique experience of having lived in the former Funduklian home – a large red brick Edwardian villa in Didsbury, a suburb in South Manchester.

Above: The former Funduklian home, at 20 Pine Road in Didsbury (source)

Whilst in residence there I produced a solo exhibition and live performances, inspired by the Funduklian family. This was shown at Didsbury Parsonage in 2014, and was accompanied by research for Archives+, in conjunction with the Greater Manchester County Record Office. The project was also included in the recent BBC Radio 4 documentary Out Of Armenia.

Above: ‘Astra’ at Didsbury Parsonage in March 2014 (source)

Before his successful forays into business and art collecting, Arto and his siblings grew up Didsbury – an affluent area of Manchester, under the watchful gaze of parents Karnig and Aznive, and several servants. The house has since been converted into flats, and for one year I resided in number 1 – the room in the basement, with a view of the leafy garden.

Above: The garden at 20 Pine Road (source)

The name on the gatepost of this grand house quickly became a source of fascination for me, even before knew anything about the Funduklian family. On a street filled with very English names, the word Massis, engraved on either side of the gate, in elegant capitals, stood out.

Above: The name on the gatepost (source)

Further research revealed it to be an Armenian word, an alternative name for Mount Ararat. It is here, deep in the Middle East (now part of modern-day Turkey) that Noah’s Ark supposedly came to rest (following a biblical flood), and the landmark holds immense significance for Armenian communities across the world.

Why, I wondered, would my home have been given such an exotic name?

A painstaking search of census records eventually revealed the answer. The 1911 England and Wales Census revealed the first record of a family living at 20 Pine Road – the Funduklians. With four children and several servants, this was evidently a family that had thrived in Manchester’s industrial heyday. Didsbury was (and still is) a haven for the well-to-do. But who were these people? And what had brought them to Manchester?

Above: The Funduklian Family – Arto is the young boy on the left (source)

(With permission, courtesy of Greater Manchester County Record Office)

Karnig, the head of the family, was the first to arrive in the city from Constantinople, where many Armenians then resided. Shortly before his arrival I also came across that of a Tigrane Haroutune Funduklian. Whilst I’m unsure of the exact relationship between the two, it seems likely that, they arrived in Manchester to research business prospects.

Indeed, the mid to late 1800s, Britain saw a surge in the arrival of Armenian migrants. Many went on to run successful businesses in Manchester – certainly prospects were better here than in the then Ottoman Empire.

In Constantinople and elsewhere, Armenian families such as the Funduklians would have faced increasing persecution, not only affecting their prospects of prosperity and success, but ultimately their lives also. The Hamidian Massacres and the Armenian Genocide provide chilling examples of fates the Funduklians might otherwise have faced, had they stayed in Turkey.

Above: The Funduklian family business agreement, Manchester, 1911 (source)

(With permission, courtesy of Greater Manchester County Record Office)

From a fledgling family shipping and textile business, Karnig successfully created a livelihood in Manchester sufficient to bring over his young family.

In Didsbury, Karnig and his wife Aznive were able to offer their four children a life of safety and affluence, far from the horrors of persecution in the Ottoman Empire, and from the dust and smog of industrial central Manchester.

Arto and his siblings were to thrive in their new home.


Archives+ (2013) Various articles, accessed 2015 at http://manchesterarchiveplus.wordpress.com, online source.

England and Wales Census (1911) Record for 20 Pine Road, Didsbury, accessed 2013 at http://ancestry.co.uk, citing National Archives, Kew, UK.

George, J. (2002) Merchants In Exile: The Armenians Of Manchester, England 1835 – 1935, Taderon Press.

Manchester Guardian (1900-1950) Various articles accessed 2013 at http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/, online source.

J. Wilfrid Jackson and Museums

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery holds archive material relating to Sir William Boyd Dawkins and  Dr. J. Wilfrid Jackson.   Over the last five years Dr. Brian Goodwin has been researching the archive, looking at the correspondence, photographs, manuscripts and personalia belonging to the two men.  As part of this project, Brian has written articles on aspects of their life and work, ranging from Dawkins’ involvement in public education to Jackson’s time spent in Egypt.

We will be publishing the articles regularly on this blog and also uploading them to the museum’s website.  This week we are kicking off with J.  Wilfrid Jackson and Museums, an article exploring Jackson’s role as Assistant Keeper at Manchester Museum and his appointment as ‘Honorary Consultant’ to Buxton Museum in 1929.




                                                J.  Wilfrid Jackson and Museums

Wilfrid Jackson joined Manchester Museum as an Assistant Keeper under W.E. Hoyle in 1907. William Boyd Dawkins was part of the appointment panel and in Jackson’s words gave him a “rigorous interview”. Dawkins seems to have taken Jackson ‘under his wing’ and not only supervised him in his curatorial duties (related to geology) but also introduced him to ‘cave hunting’ and the study of mammalian osteology.  Jackson quickly became expert in these fields and built up a strong reputation.  Initially, in the 1910s and 1920s, he concentrated on geology and palaeontology, especially fieldwork, but he was increasingly called upon to identify bone remains from archaeological sites around the country.  He ended up having authored more than 80 bone reports, many from important sites such as Stonehenge, Woodhenge, Creswell Crags and Glastonbury Lake Village.  A further 120 or so unpublished bone reports are present in the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery archive.

Jackson in 1937, working at Manchester Museum on a skull of a cave bear from Italy

Jackson in 1937, working at Manchester Museum on a skull of a cave bear from Italy

In addition to research and the publication of scientific studies, museum work included more mundane work such as the organisation, cataloguing and labeling of collections, answering queries from members of the public and escorting parties round the museum.  A good idea of the nature of the work can be gained from reading the Annual Reports published by Manchester Museum during Jackson’s tenure.   Among the more unusual tasks performed was the famous unrolling of the mummy in 1908 (see ‘Jackson in Egypt’ article), and the packing of precious items for removal and safe storage during the two wars. He was also active in promoting the work of museums and a long-standing member of the North West Federation of Museums & Art Galleries.  He acted as President in 1943 and was made an honorary member in 1946, following his retirement from Manchester Museum.

Earlier in his career, Jackson had spent a good deal of time investigating the geology and archaeology of Derbyshire and in 1928 he began a close association with Buxton that saw him appointed as an ‘Honorary Consultant’ to Buxton Museum the following year. This link with the Museum was strengthened in 1945 when he moved (on retirement) to Buxton to live and he served on the Buxton Library and Museum Committee from 1947 to 1951.  On his death in 1978, his daughter Alicia donated most of his papers, letters and other memorabilia to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery where they form an important archive.  The Museum also has a large collection of his fossils, collected in the surrounding area.  Jackson is commemorated at BMAG through various displays and the Boyd Dawkins room, which is a period style study room (circa 1900) and is actually dedicated to both Dawkins and Jackson.

The Boyd Dawkins Room at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The Boyd Dawkins Room at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery



Dr. Brian Goodwin – June 2014

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery