Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House
Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House
A striking Arts and Crafts house overlooking Lake Windermere, finished by architect MH Baillie Scott in 1900. Blackwell is one of the best surviving unaltered examples of the Arts and Craft style buildings in England.
In 1898 a successful brewer from Manchester named Sir Edward Holt called in Baillie Scott to design a holiday home for himself and his family, overlooking the lake. The style is very much in the William Morris mode; a Lake District manor of projecting gables, rounded chimneys, and mullioned windows.

The interior is based around a great hall, in typical medieval fashion. Baillie Scott designed around the idea of a warm hearth, with fireplaces acting as a focal point to create a sense of home and family. The interiors are an absolutely fascinating mix of Art Nouveau fittings acting as a display space for the Holt collection of 17th and 17th century period furniture.

In places this creates an odd sense of bare rooms, which seem scarcely furnished at all, and somewhat arid. The fittings are simplicity itself, but beautifully crafted, and offer a very interesting glimpse into the Arts and Crafts mindset. One of the most unusual features is a Manxman piano, which looks like a hidden cupboard.

To my eye the most interesting chamber is The White Drawing Room, with a frieze representing a forest scene and flowers. Even the fireplace fittings are shaped like living plants, and above the fireplace is a a stained glass window with birds peering out from more foliage. The effect is staggering, and unlike any other English house I've ever visited. But, then, Blackwell is very much unlike any other house!

Note: When we visited photography was not allowed inside the house. That's a real shame, for the interior are what makes Blackwell so fascinating. It really is worth a visit if you have any interest in the Arts and Crafts movement, for the interiors are truly unlike anything else in the the Lake District.

The main entrance
The main entrance
The house from the garden terrace
The house from the
garden terraces