Drawing 321: Brockhole, Windermere

Direction of view: E

Notes: Will be best mid – late afternoon in summer, to get sun on both faces of the house.

This scene does not appear elsewhere in Wainwright’s published works, but the photograph from which this sketch was drawn is in the County Archives at Kendal, reference WDAW/4/1/1/2/33.  The very top of the buildings is cut off in the photograph.  It is interesting to see how the sketch matches exactly the growth of creepers etc. on the buildings.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film in May 1984 (image 1).  I have no note of the circumstances, but it was the only photograph I took on that day.

I had visited Brockhole only rarely since then, but did so with Sheelagh Hughes Hallett around lunchtime on 23rd February 2013, shortly after a controversy about the felling of a monkey puzzle tree in the grounds.  Fortunately, the tree was not in the sketch!  The scene is little changed (image 2), though an extension has been built at the back of Brockhole, which now appears on the far left of the picture.  The shape of the flower beds in the foreground has also changed.  It was a day of occasional weak winter sun and a few snow flakes.

One of the themes of this website is landscape history; and for Brockhole it is richly documented.  Prior to 1896 the site was fields and patches of woodland, but in that year it was bought by William Gaddum, a silk merchant from Manchester.  He commissioned architect Dan Gibson and landscape gardener Thomas Mawson to create a house and garden in their distinctive Arts & Crafts style. Brockhole is one of only a few examples of them collaborating.  The Gaddum family moved in in 1899, and remained until William died in 1945.  In 1948 the house was converted to a convalescent home; in 1969 (only shortly before the publication of A Fifth Lakeland Sketchbook) it became the UK’s first National Park Visitor Centre.  It is Grade II listed, and fully described on the English Heritage website.