Bakewell is named after Badeca’s well – an Anglo-Saxon chieftain (Badecanwylia) and the town’s springs.
A chalybeate spring was discovered, and a bath house was built by the Duke of Rutland in 1697. The original 16x33ft bath is still in the cellar! In the 18thcentury there was a bid to develop Bakewell as a spa town, in the manner of Buxton.
However, the water’s temperature was problematic. At only 11 degrees Celsius it was less than half the temperature of the spring at Buxton!
Instead, Bakewell became an industrial town – heralded by the construction of the Lumford Mill, by Richard Arkwright in 1777. The Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland were hostile to industrial development, and refused water rights. Arkwright constructed dams and ponds to alter the course of the river, and although fined £10 per year for trespass, the mill went on to prosper.
There are lots of things to explore in Bakewell, new and old. Every Monday is Market Day, and a range of locally sourced food is available to purchase. Chatsworth Arts Festival is a yearly event, with a range of performances, music, film and talks.
Bakewell Old House Museum is a Tudor-built building. It was built during the reign of Henry VIII as a tax collector’s cottage, and developed into a gentlemen’s residence during the Elizabethan period. During the Industrial Revolution it was repurposed as mill workers’ cottages by Sir Richard Arkwright, the ‘father of the modern industrial factory system’ who had built his third cotton spinning mill in Bakewell. The museum takes visitors through the history of Bakewell with artefacts particular to the area.