The Blackwell Project: An Arts & Crafts Story

Main Hall

Main Hall - Credit: Archant

The fascinating story behind one of the country’s most beautiful houses will be told thanks to a cash injection

Rowan Stained Glass

Rowan Stained Glass - Credit: Archant

The glory of Blackwell, the arts and crafts house beside Windermere, is there for any visitor to appreciate. But the story behind one of Britain’s finest houses is almost as rich and complex as the building itself.

Now, Blackwell will be brought to life through a series of new displays and activities following a £66,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

‘The Blackwell Project: An Arts & Crafts Story’ will unfold over the next two years as Lakeland Arts, the trust running the property, sets out to attract a new generation of admirers through engaging displays, interpretations and activities.

With help from experts at organisations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, they aim to inspire more people to explore and enjoy Blackwell’s history and its beautiful architecture.

The Arts & Crafts Bedroom at Blackwell

The Arts & Crafts Bedroom at Blackwell - Credit: Archant

This will be through new displays of high quality arts and crafts objects and interiors and exhibitions telling the story of the people who lived, worked and went to school there.

The project, which will also lead to the creation of a new educational area, will not only have support from the V&A, but from other specialists in the arts and crafts movement, local schools and volunteers.

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Blackwell was designed by leading British architect, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built in 1899-1900. The House survives with almost all its original decorative features intact mainly thanks to the fact that none of the more recent owners could afford to ‘improve’ it.

The carved timber panelling, stained glass, drawn metalwork, carved stone, moulded plasterwork and furniture highlight the strong traditional skills of the Lake District and Lancashire. It was originally built as a holiday home for Manchester brewer Sir Edward and Lady Holt, and their five children.

White Drawing Room Columns

White Drawing Room Columns - Credit: Archant

The project will tell the story of the family, their industrial links, charitable work and social life. It will also explore the story of Blackwell during World War Two when Huyton College, a girls’ school in Liverpool, evacuated to the safety of the Lake District. This period is rich with personal stories and memories from former pupils and teachers.

Helen Watson, director exhibitions and collections, said: ‘This is brilliant news for Lakeland Arts and a new chapter in the life of this internationally important icon of arts and crafts architecture and design. The funding will help us to inspire more people to explore Blackwell’s rich history and the arts and crafts movement.’

Sara Hilton, had of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, added: ‘Already a real gem in the Lake District, this project will open up the rich collections and fascinating stories of the house, ensuring they can be enjoyed by everyone who visits.’