Keswick Museum & Art Gallery


Purpose built in 1897, Keswick Museum & Art Gallery was founded by the local Literary and Scientific Society. After an initial collection of random and local finds, the museum soon started acquiring important literary collections, entomological collections and various artefacts of local significance. The museum houses a good archaeological collection of local pre-historic stones and axes, including examples from the Langdale Axe Factory sites, and the Medieval ceramic collection from key local sites such as Lords Island, seat of the Earls of Derwentwater.


The museum is also home to a good industrial history collection. Keswick School of Industrial Arts taught local people the skills to produce high quality hand crafted objects for over 100 years. The school gained national recognition for its work and sold bronze, copper and silver to support costs. The school was founded by Canon Rawnsley, who was the vicar of Crosthwaite Church and a founder of the National Trust, and his wife Edith.


Inspired by John Ruskin, Canon Rawnsley rejected mass produced objects in favour of true hand crafted pieces of work. The school adopted the motto: “The Loving Eye And Skilful Hand, Shall Work With Joy And Bless The Land.” The school moved to a purpose built site near Greta Bridge in Keswick in 1894 where it continued until its closure in 1984 due to competition from cheaper goods from abroad.


The Keswick Museum Donations Box (above) proudly sits in the centre of the main exhibition space and was made by Richard Kennedy. The model was hand painted by Mary Kennedy at Ram Workshop in Kirklinton, Carlisle. The beautiful architectural model of the museum is exquisitely detailed.

KesMusArt9     KesMusArt10

A wonderful chair sits in the corner of the main exhibition room which was originally on display in Peter Crostwaite’s Museum, who opened the first museum in Keswick, in the 18th century. The well used chair is adorned with the arms of Sir John Ratcliffe, who was the Earl of Derwentwater, and died in 1527.


On display on the ground floor is a First World War memorial window (above). The window once adorned the Royal Oak Hotel which was the main pack horse and coaching Inn of the town for almost 300 years. The window was made by Abbott Brothers of Lancashire and is thought likely to have been erected in 1929. The memorial was dedicated: “In honour of the patrons of this hotel, who made the supreme sacrifice.”


The beautiful window has the dates 1914 and 1918 on the outer panels and has a central inscription which reads: “The shrine of honour. Who goes there? I have no name. I died for my country. Pass unknown warrior.” A plaque on the stairway (below) between the ground and first floor is inscribed with the names of local people who lost their lives in the Great War.


Pontinscale: Nichol End Marine


Within the Lake District National Park is the quaint village of Pontinscale. Deriving from the Old English “portcwene” (harlot), the harlot’s hut village is under two miles from Keswick.


The historic Nichol End Marine is located right on the edge of Derwentwater and is a family run business. There are seven lakeside marinas around Derwentwater all offering spectacular views of the surrounding fells.


Nichol End Marine are licensed by the AALA and offer permanent moorings, holiday moorings, a chandlery, rigging service, engine and boat repair workshop.


The various activities offered at the marine include raft building, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing.


The Keswick Launch Company operates cruises on the lake shore of Derwentwater starting from the Keswick boat landings and cruises around the lake stopping at seven lakeshore jetties where you may embark or join the various boats.



The Dandelion Cafe & Formal Garden

Although there are catering facilities at the marine, The Dandelion Cafe (above and within walking distance) stands on an elevated site above Derwentwater and offers the delights of a formal garden and breath-taking views of the scenery.


Nichol End Marine is open 364 days of the year and is a wonderful spot from which to enjoy the Lake District National Park.


Madingley Hall: Murals Room


Madingley estate was acquired by Sir John Hynde, the fourth Baronet, in 1543. He began to build a new hall in the same year which he surrounded with a hunting park. The oldest parts of this brick built manor house are the south and east ranges.


The Murals Room is accessed from the polygonal turret stair at the south east corner of the building. The staircase is oak with solid block treads and the room may have been used as a withdrawing room by the Hynde family who owned the Hall for many generations.


The upper rooms at the south end of the main range contain many original features with some panelling dated to the construction of the building.


The Murals Room has original, perhaps re-used, roof timbers which are of false hammerbeam construction with stoutly moulded beams.


A welcome addition to the university buildings of Cambridge, Madingley Hall was acquired in 1948 and converted for the use of the Extra-Mural Board, research students and visiting scholars.


The wall paintings were discovered in 1906 under layers of tapestry by Colonel Harding, owner of the Hall at that time. It is thought that the murals were commissioned between 1605-1633 for Sir Edward Hynde, who was a great hunting enthusiast, and it’s likely that the scenes show activities in the park at Madingley.


The murals depict scenes of hunting, hawking and bear-baiting. As a means of procuring food and as a sport, hunting was the mark of gentility. The bear hunt below features hunters on horseback and servants on foot with mastiffs and greyhounds. Madingley Hall may have been a hunting lodge before it became a permanent home. Bear baiting remained a popular past time in Britain until the 19th century.


The murals underwent restoration in 1960 and this wonderful room is a hidden gem, only open by prior arrangement.


Penrith: Black Angel Memorial


On elevated ground over-looking Penrith Castle stands the war memorial known locally as The Black Angel. The monument was originally unveiled in 1906 in Corney Square and is dedicated to the men from Penrith who died during the Boer War in South Africa (1899−1902).


The monument was moved to its current position in Castle Park in 1964 due to concerns from pollution damage. The central panel lists the names of those who lost their lives and is surmounted by a winged angel holding a wreath. The name, The Black Angel, also refers to the book of the same name by Colin Bardgett. The book details the stories and letters written by men of the Penrith Volunteer Company who fought during the Boer War. Not only is the book a military record, it contains a Roll of Honour and valuable information relating to local history. The Black Angel, both book and monument, are a memorial to the Volunteer Companies of Cumberland and Westmorland.


With little camera exposure (below), the monument lives up to its name by taking the physical appearance of The Black Angel.


Sedbergh: Frostrow Wesleyan Methodist Chapel


Located along the A684 near to Sedbergh is Frostrow Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Constructed of coursed rubble and sandstone, the Chapel was built in 1886 to serve the spiritual needs of the local population. Wesleyan chapels were built in honour of John Wesley, a Christian Church of England priest who founded the Methodist Movement.


Frostrow Chapel features an entrance porch with arch and central keystone above the doorway, nave with west bellcote and simple fenestration. The outer walls of the nave are now finished in pebble dash. A plaque above the doorway indicates that the Chapel is Wesleyan and bears the date of construction.


Kedleston Hall: Memoria Corona


As part of the In Place exhibition held at Kedleston Hall was Memoria Corona. Occupying the centre of the magnificent Marble Hall, the crown resonated with the presence of the British Crown in India over the last two hundred years. Modelled on Elizabeth II’s crown, it is topped with a Kohinoor diamond which was lost by India to the British during the Raj. Made from Ivory duco paint on fibre reinforced plastic, Memoria Corona is the work of the Indian visual artist Reena Saini Kallat. As part of the Frank Cohen collection, the work is a memorial to the Indians who fell during the fight for independence and the surface is covered with their names.


Lanercost Priory Church: Lanercost Cross


Standing in the now blocked doorway at the west end of the aisle in Lanercost Priory church is the shaft of the Lanercost Cross. Originally standing outside the church, the carved cross shaft contains a central inscription dated to 1214. Although the cross has suffered much damage, the full text was recorded by the English nobleman Lord William Howard in 1607. Part of the inscription was hacked off so that the burial of two year old Robert could be recorded on 20th July 1657 (top). The full inscription was:

“In the 1214th year from the Incarnation, and the seventh year of the Interdict, Innocent III holding the apostle see, Otto being emperor in Germany, Philip reigning in France, John in England, William in Scotland, this cross was made.”

The cross has been in its current position since 1888.


Sizergh Castle: The Great Barn


Sited near to the southern approach to the castle, the impressive Great Barn stands amid several other estate buildings. Constructed of limestone rubble, the Barn is reputed to have been built by Walter Strickland in the 1560’s. This early example of a two-storey Lake District bank barn features stone chimney stacks, flattened arched heads to either side of the projecting central block with recessed arch which is surmounted by a lead cupola. A bank barn houses animals at ground level and hay and grain are stored on an upper level which is accessible from a ramp or a bank. In 1569 ‘the new barne’ contained wheat, barley and oats together with a large number of agricultural implements. The Barn measures over 100ft in length and has two ramps and two sets of double doors to the upper level. The Great Barn is now converted to houses and is Grade II* Listed.


Lanercost Priory: Outer Gatehouse


To the west of Lanercost Priory stands the remains of the inner arch of the priory gatehouse. Forming a link between the outside world and the canons inside, the surviving part of the outer gatehouse above would have faced into the precinct and the building would have extended to the edge of the road. Dating to the early 13th century, the gatehouse was constructed of squared calciferous sandstone and coursed rubble which was taken from the nearby Roman wall. The gatehouse remains feature a chamfered segmental arch of three orders, hood mould and moulded corbel stops with fragments of fan vaulting. The current gates reflect the Arts & Crafts interests of George Howard, ninth Earl of Carlisle, who erected them during his restorations. The surviving inner arch of the gatehouse is Grade I Listed.

Sedbergh: Farfield Mill


Farfield Mill is situated near the Howgill Fells between the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District. One of thirty seven designations within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Farfield Mill was given conservation status in March 1993. The first mill building was constructed in 1837 for Joseph Dover, who was originally a merchant from Keswick, to card and spin wool. Farfield was one of five water powered woollen textile mills which were an important part of the economy of the Sedbergh area in the 19th century. The associated cluster of historic buildings, cottages and owner’s houses were also added during the 19th century. The Dover family continued to run the business until 1935 when Edward and Thomas Dover both died with no direct descendants.


Level 2 Heritage Display

In 1937 the complex was sold to Thomas Histler, a builders merchant, and Robert Johnson, a carpet manufacturer. The mill was subsequently used for manufacturing crankcases for Airspeed Oxford Trainer planes during World War II and the buildings were requisitioned by the Admiralty for storage. The mill was then returned to a West Riding based spinning company, Batty Bros, in 1953. Textile manufacture once again resumed in 1965 and continued until 1992. One building, and two working Dobcross looms it contained which had been installed in the 1960s, was purchased by the then Sedbergh and District Buildings Preservation Trust in 1998 and now houses an Arts and Heritage Centre.


Level 2 Heritage Display

Typical of the period in which the buildings were constructed, the architecture reflects the social hierarchy and function. The stone buildings consist of simple detailing and regimented rows of windows which provide well lit open spaces. The original mill building is three bays wide and nine bays long and is built into the slope being two storeys high at eaves level and three storeys high at the edge of the river. Many of the original iron support pillars, by Lound foundry of Kendal, survive as do many of the wooden floors. The coursed rubble building features a queen truss roof capped with Westmorland slate and sandstone lintels.


Level 2 Witney Blanket Loom

Within the Heritage display on Level 2 is a 300 year old Witney Blanket Loom (above). One of the earliest of its type, it has a flying shuttle and was invented during the Industrial Revolution. It is a timber framed four heddle hand loom with the flying shuttle mechanism added around 1800. The loom was used to weave horse collar check and woollen blankets since 1702. The loom stands over 9 feet high and was donated by The Early’s Archive Trust who closed in 2002 when the loom was offered to Farfield Mill.


Level 2 Howgill & Dover Galleries

Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Level 2 displays the Living History Heritage exhibition created by local people and dedicated to the rise and eventual demise of the Victorian woollen and textile industry in the Sedbergh area. Examples of the processes used at the mill from 1911 onwards are displayed throughout Level 2 and the dangerous conditions those employed at Farfield are highlighted. The Howgill, Dover and 2K Exhibition Galleries are also located on Level 2 and feature changing exhibitions throughout the year.


Level 4 Demonstration Area & collection of Looms

Level 4 (above) is home to a numerous collection of floor and hand looms which have been loaned, donated or acquired since it opened to the public in 2001. The mill uses wool from Rough Fell sheep on its looms and local lace-makers and rag-rug makers regularly demonstrate their craft during each month.


Level 1 The 20hp Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Turbine 1896

The machinery at Farfield Mill was powered by a big waterwheel when it was first built by Joseph Dover. The water came along a millrace from the nearby River Clough and was led into the mill under an arch half way along the side of the main building. The main waterwheel was replaced in 1896 by Joseph’s grandsons Thomas and Edward. The wheel was replaced with a Vortex water turbine which was manufactured by Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon of Kendal. The company helped to restore the example at Farfield. A steam engine provided extra power from 1911 with an engine shed and its chimney once standing beside the current building. When the insurance became too costly to continue, the building was demolished in the 1960’s.


Restored during 2010 with advice from other weavers , a Douglas Andrew 4 shaft counterbalance floor loom with 6 treadles (above) is now in operation at the mill. With the assistance of green threads at each end (holding the shafts steady), initial problems with the loom when working on narrow warps have been solved. The loom has a universal tie up which enables you to work on any pattern without the need to re-tie the treadles.


A plaque celebrating the restoration of Farfield Mill reads as follows:

“Our restoration of the building celebrates the achievements, not only of those who lived in the valleys of the Clough, the Rawthey, the Dee, but of all those who lived in the valleys of the northern uplands where the water of its rivers drove the water-wheels which powered iron monsters making cloth for slaves in Jamaica, for coolies in India and for horses in English royal stables.

It celebrates men like Will Stainton, who lost the skin off his back while cleaning out the wheel pit and the lining of his lungs from inhaling dust, but who laboured in this mill for 85 years.

Yet out of the toil, the tedium and the sorrow came a sense of comradeship and purpose and artefacts of value and of beauty. The tradition is here today where artists work, not in isolation, but in a community: where the work of an artist inspires work of a ceramicist; the work of a weaver inspires that of a goldsmith.

We who undertook the task of restoration and transformation did so in the hope that the building would remain a monument to mankind’s unique capacity to work together tirelessly to produce objects that provoke, delight and astound.”

The Past Serving the Future.