The Rutland Arms in Bakewell, once acclaimed as ‘Derbyshire’s most famous inn’, was built in 1804 to meet the needs of the aristocracy, gentry, and other wealthy folk on their visits to enjoy the countryside delights of the High Peak district. It was constructed as part of a wider development that redefined the town centre. Together with its grand stable complex, akin to that of any stately home, The Rutland Arms succeeded in attracting inter-city coach operators who were persuaded to adopt new routes with Bakewell as staging post, bringing much-needed business to the town.
For 90 years from its opening, two generations of the Greaves family ensured the success and consistent high reputation of the hotel. Numerous achievements of individual family members were headed by that of the original hostess, Mrs Ann Greaves, who is credited as the creator of the now world-famous Bakewell pudding. Her husband William and her sons James and William were noted agriculturalists of one sort or another and were instrumental in the establishment and early development of the annual Bakewell Show, now promoted as England’s largest one-day agricultural show.
Famous frequent visitors to The Rutland Arms included Greaves-family friends, Sir Humphry Davy, recognised as the nation’s top scientist, and Sir Joseph Paxton, the designer and builder of the world-famous Crystal Palace that housed London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. An associate of Paxton was the author Charles Dickens who published a brief memory of a visit to the hotel. Dukes and duchesses of Rutland and Devonshire were frequent visitors, and for two nights the hotel hosted the King of Saxony and his entourage. Since the early 1900s The Rutland Arms has served a much wider audience of visitors and it continues to adapt to customers’ changing needs and tastes.