Robert Rippon Duke
Who is Robert Rippon Duke?
Robert Rippon Duke was an architect who designed the Octagon and remodeled the Devonshire Hospital in Buxton, Derbyshire. The Octagon was first opened to the public in 1876. It is a concert hall - a magnificent glass and cast iron masterpiece of Victorian architecture - situated near the Buxton Opera House, which was designed by Frank Matcham and built in 1903.
The other great Buxton building for which Rippon Duke was largely responsible is The Devonshire Dome. Originally a vast octagonal stable block designed by Georgian architect John Carr of York for William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire to accompany his magnificent Crescent, it has undergone several major transformations. After Rippon Duke's redevelopment, the Devonshire Dome had the largest dome in the world at 44. metres in diameter.
In 1859, the Buxton Bath Charity had persuaded the Duke of Devonshire to allow part of the building - by then accommodating nothing like the 120 horses for which it was designed - to be converted to a charity hospital for the use of the ‘sick poor’ coming in for treatment from the ‘Cottonopolis’ and many towns around.
Devonshire estate architect, Henry Currey, architect for St Thomas’s Hospital in London, converted two thirds of the building into a hospital. Then, in 1878, the Buxton Bath Charity trustees under their doughty chairman Dr William Henry Robertson, persuaded the 7th Duke of Devonshire to give them the use of the whole building in exchange for providing new stables elsewhere in the town.
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