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Published: July 14th 2018
Buxton Friday 6th
Our drive from Manchester to Buxton included a couple of family history stops. The first was Glossop, in the hills just east of Manchester. The parish church we were looking for appeared to have been converted to a private mansion. Alison had people married and christened there but we were unable to find anything. My memory of Glossop will be the seemingly unending traffic crawl. There was a good little market hall.
From Glossop we re-joined the crawling queue to get out of the town then headed over the hills on skinny, hedged lanes to the hamlet of Rowarth. There was only a post-box , not even a pub at Rowarth but interestingly there was a row of ten mill workers cottages dating from the early eighteen hundreds when Alison’s people were here. It was quite a way from Glossop by road today but probably only an hour or two by foot, so we could understand how these forebears went to Glossop for weddings and christenings. The cotton spinners cottages seem all restored fronts and extended at the back with upmarket vehicles in the driveways. They look quite gentrified which was a bit of a shock.
We chose Buxton as a major focus of our trip because of the music festival, and today sees the opening events. The weather here, is unusually warm and sunny, as it has been for almost the whole of our trip, so the singers in the park bandstand have an idyllic environment. After this warm up we dress up in our finery for the opening gala concert. The opera house here, built in 1903, is a magnificent small, (900 seat) fully fledged opera house designed by Frank Matcham, the leading theatre designer of his age. It does not cope well however with the heat wave we are currently experiencing, and we are very glad we booked early and are down in the stalls rather than broiling on the balconies. The show itself was a showcase for some of the younger singers of the Opera North company and their orchestra. A mix of songs from musicals, arias and orchestral pieces. A good night and an encouraging start to our week here.
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