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Neglected Buxton hall to reopen for public use

Buxton's Hardwick Hall, the new home of the Green Man Gallery.

Buxton's Hardwick Hall, the new home of the Green Man Gallery.

A derelict Buxton ballroom has been bought by a developer and will reopen for community use next month.

Hardwick Hall, formerly home to the Buxton branch of the Royal British Legion which closed in April 2012, was acquired by the Trevor Osborne Property Group last month.

The Green Man Gallery, which is run on a voluntary basis by its artist members and supporters, will relocate from its High Street studio into the ground floor of the Hardwick Square South premises.

After closing at the fiveways junction on Sunday, the art space will reopen at the hall, originally part of the Victorian Peak Hydro Hotel which also encompasses Buxton Museum, on September 12.

The nine-strong artist cooperative will be leasing the venue temporarily, paying a only a negligible “peppercorn rent” and for overheads.

Member Caroline Small confirmed that Trevor Osborne, who is also behind the restoration of the Crescent, planned to refurbish the whole property with a view to converting it into a “creative hub”.

She said: “We’re sad to be leaving our current premises but also very excited about moving to such an interesting old building and having the opportunity to bring it back into community use, thanks to the generosity of the Trevor Osborne property Group, who have bought the building.”

The gallery will continue to host regular exhibitions, live music and theatre performances, and a workshop area will be created in one of the large bay-windowed rooms which can be seen from Terrace Road.

There will be an artisan shop inside selling a wide range of jewellery, ceramics, textiles and cards.

The Green Man Gallery opened in the High Street shop, owned by Julie Collins and Mike Sarkis, in November 2012, who initially offered the building free of charge and then at a reduced rate, until a commercial tenant was secured.

Caroline explained: “Although the gallery has done extremely well this year, we’re not quite ready to pay the full rent on the building so, sadly we have to move.”

The gallery’s first event will be hosting the inaugural Buxton Spa Prize exhibition, an art competition centred on capturing the town’s culture, beauty and heritage.

At the time of publication, Trevor Osborne was unavailable to comment on the scheme.

To volunteer to help the Green Man team with cleaning, decorating or moving furniture, contact Caroline on hello@thegreenmangallery.com or 01298 74401.

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