Blackwell – The Arts & Crafts House
Location : Bowness-on-Windermere
Grid Ref : SD 401945
Newby Bridge Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3JT. Tel 015394 46139.
Blackwell is one of England’s most important surviving houses from the turn of the 20th century. It was designed by M H Baillie Scott between 1897 and 1900, and is a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture, with most of the original decorative interiors still intact. The house is of international importance, standing at the crossroads between Victorian and Modern architecture. It was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.
Having assimilated the philosophies of John Ruskin and William Morris, Baillie Scott brought a new approach to the design of the house. He dismissed the victorian plan in gavour of a modern open plan design, utilising space and light to form the large, yet comfortable and adaptable living spaces. Baillie Scott also designed every detail within the house. His use of traditional craft skills and simple enduring local materials is evident in the intricate carved oak panelling, stained glass, decorative plaster work, metalwork and fabric designs.
Blackwell was restored in 2000-2001 and is now open to the public as a gallery providing a national and international focus for high quality Arts and Crafts. The aim is not to create a static museum, but to bring back to life a very special house that was designed as a place to be enjoyed. Works of fine and applied arts have been brought from Abbot Hall’s existing collections. The project is being organised by the Lakeland Arts Trust that runs Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal. They supplied some of the photographs used on this page.
The gardens were designed in 1902 by Thomas Mawson, the international landscape architect based in Windermere. There is little left of the original design, but one of Britain’s top landscape designers has been commissioned to come up with a suitable replacement.
Photographs by Julian Thurgood, Jan Fialkowski and The Lakeland Arts Trust.
Related Links: www.blackwell.org.uk