Blackwell Arts and Crafts House


William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  Blackwell, situated above Lake Windermere in the heart of the Lake District, is a wonderful illustration of this philosophy taken to its ultimate expression in architecture, furniture and art work.  The Main Hall is reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall with its huge fireplace, inglenook window and overhanging Minstrels Gallery.  The contrast between this room and the bright and airy White Drawing room is made all the more impressive by the journey one takes to get from one room to another.


Photo by Blackwell

Baillie Scott’s design echoes another of the Arts & Crafts movement founders, John Ruskin, who said, “Good art flows from the craftsmen who create it.”  Each of the many rooms has its own distinct personality and there is an artistic gem wherever you turn; a leaf-shaped door handle, a curvaceous lamp standard, a rowan-berry wall frieze, an elegant flower glowing iridescently in exquisite stained glass… The furniture is either original or in keeping with the Arts & Design ethos of that period – the house was built between 1898-1900.

Rowan berry

Blackwell offers more than most historic houses; several of its first floor rooms have been adapted for use as galleries, and exhibitions are held throughout the year. The Gallery Rooms show contemporary work by established as well as emerging craft-makers and often display exhibitions that explore different aspects of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Water pipe detail

After you have had your fill of the architecture and history what could be better than a tasty baguette, a delicious pastry, a scrumptious scone and a refreshing cuppa at the Blackwell café – and if the sun is shining you can sit on the terrace overlooking England’s longest lake, Windermere.


Photo by Blackwell

When asked what is special about Blackwell Arts & Crafts House  is think of the graceful sweep of a casement stay outlined against the winter’s sky.  What is a casement stay, you may ask. It’s the arm that keeps the window open – an everyday object that we all take for granted; except that here it is a “thing of beauty and a joy forever”.  No photo – you will have to go there yourself to see it – and the many other lovely things that the treasure trove of Blackwell will share with you.

The house is open all year round.  Further information Blackwell and the Lakeland Arts Trust

Zoë Dawes lives in NW England.  She shares her lifelong love of travel on her popular blog The Quirky Traveller, on Face Book and Twitter @quirkytraveller


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7 Responses to “Blackwell Arts and Crafts House”

  1. Laura
    January 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Wht a beautiful place and somewhere I’d not heard of but would now love to visit as I adore the Arts & Craft style and followed William Morris’s mantra when I first decorated my house. (Of course, it’s full of clutteer now and he’d be most ashamed of me.) Thanks ofr highlighting Blackwell and I’ll put on my ‘must visit’ list for this year.

    • Zoe Dawes
      January 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Next time you come up to the Lake District I’d be happy to take you round. There is a lot of A&C heritage up here.

  2. Paul Steele
    January 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #


    • Zoe Dawes
      April 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      One of my absolute fav places in Cumbria – and the tea shop has delicious food too …

      • Alison
        April 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

        Hi Zoe – really enjoyed reading your blog on Blackwell. I am quite an A&C fan but have only had opportunity to see some of Rennie Mac’s houses (also wonderful). I will be visiting the lakes in June for a weekend and am looking to book trains from and to Edinburgh. My orginal plan had been to spend a couple of hours in Kendal before I get train home ( my friend will drop me at station on her way south) but an alternative would be to ask her to drop me at Blackwell then get train from Windermere instead. I’ll probably have a bit of time in Kendal when I arrive there but not to have a proper wander as will be waiting for my friend to arrive and we’ll be heading straight on to our B&B. Will I be missing out if I don’t see much of Kendal or would you say I’m better to visit Blackwell? We’re staying in Borrodale, I think it’s called, near Keswick so am sure we’ll visit Keswick which is a market town so maybe similar to Kendal though smaller. I’m kind of already making my mind up to visit Blackwell instead and give myself 3 -4 hours there to really take my time plus enjoy tea room and garden. Do you think I’d be able to get a taxi from there to the station quite easily – it looks very near so maybe just 10 -15mins journey?

  3. Edinburgh Property
    January 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    such a beautiful work of art. A huge thumbs up!

  4. yanna
    April 9, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    lovely pics.

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