c 1890's-1900's ?
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The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton was first opened in August 1871. Many enjoy reflecting upon its history and that of the other glass and iron structures bordering the north side of the Pavilion Gardens. The Seventh Duke of Devonshire suggested that private citizens should put money into a Company to improve amenities in Buxton. With the arrival of the railway in 1863, a boom period was beginning for the town. Houses, hotels and boarding houses were built on Broad Walk and Burlington Road. By this time, fortunately, there were people in the town willing to put their own money into paying for the improvements. The Duke of Devonshire gave a large sum and nine acres of 'excellent garden ground' (eventually extended to the present twenty three acres by later ducal gifts), to be held in perpetuity on condition they were used exclusively for the purposes of such gardens and pleasure grounds. The Prospectus and Form of Application for shares of the Buxton Improvement Company, December 1869, make the objects of the Company clear: to add to the attractions and increase the prosperity of Buxton. Edward Milner, eminent landscape gardener, was appointed, and in remarkably short time, the Gardens opened on 11 May 1871, to be followed in August by the opening of the Pavilion. The Concert Hall (now known as the Octagon), designed by the Buxton architect Robert Rippon Duke, was opened in 1875. The Entertainment Stage, soon to be known as the Pavilion Theatre, and later as the Hippodrome (cinema), the Playhouse (from 1935) and the Paxton Suite (from 1979), was added in 1889. Later, owing to the success of the theatre, the Company, known since 1889 as the Buxton Gardens Company , decided that the Pavilion Theatre, should be extended and improved. The Opera House was first opened at Whitsuntide 1903. In 1927, Buxton Corporation acquired the buildings, gardens and pleasure grounds. A disastrous fire in 1983 destroyed the former Lounge area. The restoration work was completed two years later, and an ongoing programme of improvements and restoration to the buildings and grounds continues under the auspicious of the High Peak Borough Council owners of the property. (Information from www.highpeak.gov.uk)