Businesses in Keswick Towns and Villages of Cumbria

Keswick

(See also Cars of the Stars Motor Museum , The Bond Museum , Cumberland Pencil Museum , Keswick Museum and Art Gallery)

Keswick Moot Hall by Alexander P KappIn the north lakes area, Keswick (the name means cheese farm) looks up to massive Skiddaw and Lonscale Fell to its north and the calming waters of Derwentwater on the southwest. The market town gained its original charter from Edward I in 1276. The area first settled was called Croswaithe, the western part of the town. Here sits the oldest building in Keswick, the 7th century (parts are 12th century) Croswaithe (St Kentigern) Church.

Keswick former courthouse and prison by Kenneth AllenIn the 16th century the Company of Mines Royal, a joint venture between Queen Elizabeth I and mining interests, open a dozen mines in the Keswick area. Gold, silver, copper, and lead were mined. Keswick soon became the centre of smelting in the Lake District. The woodlands in the area were decimated to provide charcoal, needed for fuel in the smelting process. Except for one mine, a black lead one in Borrowdale that produced up into the 19th century, most of the mining had disappeared by the 18th century.

Mining brought money, and architecture in the main street reflected this with the building of the Moot Hall in 1571 (19th century rebuilding). Other older buildings pasted on false facades in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Keswick Cumberland pencil museum factory van by Kate JewellGraphite (black lead), discovered at Seathwaite, in 1555, was used in pencil manufacturing from the 18th century and still continues today at the Cumberland Pencil Factory. Visits to the factory itself are not allowed. However, a video presentation at the Cumberland Pencil Museum, next to the factory, explains the manufacture of the Derwent pencils. The Museum is entered through a replica graphite mine. Displays, photographs and once-used machinery demonstrate the history of graphite mining and the manufacture of pencils. The factory now imports its graphite.

Keswick Hope Park by David NixonThe Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway came to the town in 1865, bringing tourists to the area. The Keswick Hotel dates from this time, as do other hotels in the nearby valleys. Travellers once had to pay a toll to go from Kendal to Cockermouth, as evidenced by Toll Bar Cottage on Main Street. Porch Cottage was once home to the Ruskin Linen Industry, exporting its goods worldwide. The Teapottery is a combination shop and production area where teapots are handmade in many different and eccentric styles and sizes. You can view the teapots being made and watch a video explaining what is happening.

Greta Hall courtesy Greta HallPoet Laureate Robert Southey and Samuel Coleridge, Lake District writers, spent part of their lives in Keswick. Sadly, the place they both called home, Greta Hall, was turned into a school dormitory. Greta Hall is now (2003) in private ownership. The owners are in the process of renovating the hall and bringing back its original features. They hope to open it to the public in a few years. A marble memorial to Southey lies in the Crosthwaite Church, one mile (.6km) from the town centre. The same church is the burial place of a man that all countryside and stately home lovers are thankful for-Canon Rawnsley, the vicar from 1888-1917, was a cofounder of the National Trust.

Keswick St Johns Church by Alexander P KappThe local history museum, the Victorian Museum and Art Gallery, contains original manuscripts and memorabilia of the Lake writers, poets Southey and Wordsworth, and novelist Hugh Walpole (15 volumes of his diaries are in the museum). Walpole was buried in St John's Church, designed by Anthony Salvin. The pink sandstone building, altered in the late 1800's, was built in the Old English style. An unusual item among the Museum's exhibits is a set of musical stones. The Lake District topography can be seen in a relief model, made in 1834, on a scale of 3 inches (7.6cm) to the mile (.6km). Minerals found in the area are on show.

Keswick from the summit of Walla Crag by David AlexanderThis poor lytle market town' (as described by John Leland in the 16th century) is now a bustling centre for fell walkers and Lakeland tourists. John Ruskin said Keswick was ‘a place too beautiful to live in’. Not so. Thousands of satisfied permanent and part-time residents have proved they can have their cake and eat it too.

Keswick station treet by Roger CornfootThe Keswick Launch Company has a water taxi service from Keswick around Derwentwater.


Photos courtesy of Alexander P Kapp , Kenneth Allen , Kate Jewell , David Nixon , David Alexander , Roger Cornfoot

Keswick is on the A591 A66 16 miles (26km) W of Penrith.

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