Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District

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.

The Ruskin Museum

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Ruskin Museum

The Coniston Room

The Ruskin Museum, down a side street and hidden away, is a huge cabinet of curiosities.  I felt like some sort of Alice wandering around a Museum Wonderland, each area as intriguing as the next.  It’s delightful toy box of memorabilia, informative displays and original artwork.   After a relatively recent revamp, its collection is split into three rooms to help visitors navigate their way around such a disparate yet fascinating collection: The Coniston Room including the small sailboat “Mavis” the original “Swallow” from “Swallows & Amazons”; The new Bluebird Room with lots of details about the World Speed Record attempt; and the Ruskin Room, a lovely Victorian parlour crammed with watercolours and other memorabilia of Ruskin and Collingwood.

What I truly like about the museum is that there is such a variety of objects that, if you are with a family, then everyone will find something of interest – although, I must confess to getting overwhelmed at so much on display.  I’ll have to come on my own sometime.  The boys loved the “Mavis” and the miniature stone houses from the John Usher collection.  I was fascinated by the Neolithic finds and copper mining display whilst Bill spent time in the Bluebird Room, staring at grainy black and white photographs of the speed king, Donald Campbell.  We all loved Ruskin’s slightly rusting and used watercolour paint boxes and dog eared sketch books.

Bluebird Room

The Bluebird Room

Ruskin sketchbooks

The Ruskin Room

You need an hour at the very least to sample its delights.  The museum’s own (quirky) website is here to check on exact location in Coniston, prices and opening times.

If you want to read my post about a young boy’s encounter with Donald Campbell, click here.

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Blackwell : Baille Scott’s masterpiece

Blackwell Exterior -®LATRecently restored, Blackwell 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 of Windermere.)  The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.  So, although it’s quite expensive to visit (£7.20 Adults; Children up to 16 Free), it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts.

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 – 7Blackwell dining room stained glass -®LAT?

The 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 White Drawing Room

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.

The first show of the year is called New Glass – Ancient Skill, Contemporary Artform.  With a selection from the UK and Europe, the selling exhibition includes the work of established and emerging makers as well as drawings, models and photographic documentation of processes.  Works will be shown in the exhibition galleries and through the house itself.  The show is the first collaboration between the Lakeland Arts Trust and the Contemporary Glass Society and runs from 31st January to 12th May 2013.

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