It seems ironic that over 100 years ago there was a problem in finding the unemployed constructive things to do, this resulted in the building of what is known as Solomon’s Temple on the outskirts of Buxton which contrary to its impressive name is a folly and serves no particular purpose (another waste of tax payers money?)
This Grade 11 listed building was originally built in 1896 using public money to replace a roughly built shed that had been on the site for approximately sixty years. It is not clear when the first building was constructed, however it is thought to have been started some time in the 1820s and paid for by the Duke of Devonshire to provide work for unemployed Lime workers. The old lime kilns can still be seen dotted around the landscape close to Solomon’s Temple, they resemble humps in the landscape.
It is believed that the name Solomon’s Temple comes from the name of a local resident Mr Solomon Mycock of Buxton who used to rent the land here for farming in the early 1800s.
The photograph on the left shows the mounds which dot the landscape which had used to be lime kilns back in the mid 1700s (Solomon’s Temple can be seen on the horizon). They were dome shaped and built out of rock and earth. There was a hole in the top to let out the smoke and a hole at the bottom to let out the finished product. Layers of limestone, coal and wood were built up and set alight from the hole in the bottom. Locally found materials in the surrounding hills and Axe Edge, were collected for this process. The kiln was left to burn for three to five days, and then cooled for a further two days before it was drawn out and shovelled into baskets to load onto pack horses. Ash and unburnt coals were piled around in spoil heaps. It took ten tons of limestone and ten tons of coal to make 3 tons of lime powder.
However getting back to Solomon’s Temple, it is thought that back in Victorian times when Buxton became a popular spa town the temple became a popular destination for a restorative stroll after taking in the healing waters for people coming to the area.
It is believed that when the stone tower was constructed a local Archeologist undertook an excavation at the site which is known as Grin Low, a “Low” is an old word indicating a small hill or mound. Such hills or mounds often turn out to be burial places as in the case of Grin Low which is the reason that the Archeologist found stoneware and human remains at this location. Some of these items can still be seen in Buxton museum and Pooles Cavern Visitor Centre which is nearby.