Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Blackwell: An Arts & Crafts Masterpiece

Blackwell Exterior -®LATBlackwell was built in 1900 as a holiday retreat for a wealthy Manchester brewery owner, just south of Bowness overlooking Windermere.  (About 30 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage on the eastern side.)  The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.  So, although it’s quite expensive to visit – 2017 Admission prices : £8.80 Adults (without donation £8); Children up to 16 and full time students Free – it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts. The last family I recommended the place to stayed all day!

It is a truly wonderful example of Arts and Crafts architecture, with many original decorative features still intact and there is a school of thought that Blackwell is such a complete vision precisely because it was built as a holiday home in the Lake District rather than a day to day residence.  Think about it: who could live up to the designer’s perfect vision 24 – 7?

BW dining room stained glass -®LATThe rooms are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts and early country-made furniture advocated by Baillie Scott, containing many pieces by the leading Arts & Crafts designers and studios – furniture by Morris & Co and Voysey, metalwork by W A S Benson and ceramics by Ruskin Pottery and William de Morgan.

The curators want you to experience this first hand and, deliciously, visitors are encouraged to sit and soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful fireplace inglenooks and are free to enjoy the house as it was originally intended, without roped-off areas.

Blackwell The White Drawing Room -®LAT

The house also run a series of well curated exhibitions and displays, usually with an Arts and Crafts feel, throughout the year and have a lovely Tea Room.

Every day, 10.30am – 5pm. Tea Room open from 10am Winter closing time: 4pm (Nov – Feb). Closed 25 & 26 Dec and probably first 2 weeks of January 2018.

Further details can be found by visiting Blackwell’s own site here.


Easter Holiday Ideas

Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite Easter activities.  These include:

  • A trip on thratty2e Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway.  Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country.  They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside.  Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
  • This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Easter Weekend, muncaster2they are running a Teddies Go Free promotion – free entry for every child with a teddy and there’s the
    Muncaster Giant Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday and Monday.  Click here for more details.
  • And of course if anyone needs anymore chocolate, you could always find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at various NT venues including: the Coniston Steam 1152337Gondola (are they floating?); Fell Foot at Newby Bridge; Claife Viewing Station on the west bank on Windermere; and Wray Castle at Ambleside.  Click here for more details and opening times.


Sails at Windermere Jetty

sail

Just discovered this lovely blog post by Windermere Jetty about preserving and conserving the old sails in their collection.   Their oldest sail (pictured here) belongs to 1934 17ft Windermere yacht, Dawn.

If you want to read more about their work click here.

The museum is committed to conserving, saving and sharing the internationally important Windermere boat collection and their focus is on telling the stories behind these boats and they want to actively involve visitors in the crafts and tradition that built them.

Windermere Jetty, designed by Carmody Groarke architects, is due to re-open in 2017.  In the meantime the museum is ‘Just Visiting’ Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre.


Windermere Weekender

Windermere Weekender

boats_with_legs08A Celebration of Boats, Steam and Stories from Windermere Jetty at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 August, 10.30am – 5pm

Our very favourite Arts and Crafts house is planning a marvellous weekend of interactive arts and crafts for the last weekend of August.  In the grounds, there will be innovative sculptures, live music, craft activities, and a large scale creative weaving project and much more.

A great fun Lancaster-based theatre company called Inner State who seem to specialise in “Boats with Legs” will be performing and Dan Fox’s Sound Intervention will be creating some marvellous sounds.

Admission includes entrance to the house, exhibition and all activities.  Adult £8.50 (without donation £7.70), Children FREE.  More details about the event, click here.


A change of air and exercise

celia fiennesIn c17th, when travel for its own sake was unheard of, Celia Fiennes roamed around England on horseback “to regain my health by variety and change of aire and exercise.”  Sometimes she travelled with relatives but she made her “Great Journey to Newcastle and Cornwall” of 1698 accompanied only by one or two servants.

Fiennes took notes to entertain her family and never intended to publish. So it is lovely that we can now all read her frank, vivid and unvarnished opinions in “Through England on a Side Saddle” as her writings provide an entirely unmannered portrait of the Lake District – unlike later Romantic writers.

char fishingShe talks of “Charr ffish … they pott with sweete spices”, oat Clapbread (easier to digest than the more common rye bread) and the “great Lake Wiandermer” into which trickling springs give “a pleasing sound and murmuring noise.”

A full transcript of her journey can be read at the delightful Vision of Britain website created by the University of Portsmouth’s Geography Department.


Windermere Jetty

windermereIf you read many of our posts, you will realise we are fascinated by all things industrial in the history of the Lake District and so we are thrilled about The Lakeland Arts’ new development, Windermere Jetty.  This is the new name for the Windermere Steamboat Museum and will house a unique collection of historic vessels with a working and possibly viewable (yes, please) conservation workshop.  Scanning through the publicity, it looks as though “the Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories” will be a fun and inspiring experience and a great addition to a visitors’ itinerary.

windermereThe opening of Windermere Jetty is scheduled for completion in 2016 and, in the meantime, Lakeland Arts are “Just Visiting” at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, where you can find more information this exciting project.  Click this link through to the Lakeland Arts main website.  And this link will take you to their informative WordPress blog.


Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Stott_Park_Bobbin_Mill_Steam_EngineThis is a fascinating mill run by English Heritage.  They fire up the Victorian Steam Engine the first weekend of every month and bank holidays from April through September (they are open from April til the end of the October half term) and there are family friendly guided tours around the mill.

It’s small, personable and even I can understand what most of the moving parts are doing!  You can really get a sense of what it must have been like for the 250 men and boys who churned out a 1/4 million bobbins a week – wading through waist deep discarded shavings to keep warm in the winter.  And it’s a great way to inspire budding engineers – or potential industrial historians!

Stott Park Bobbin Mill is about a 1/2 hour drive from the holiday cottage, just north of Newby Bridge.  For more details click here for the English Heritage website.