Who we are

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House is owned and operated by the charity Lakeland Arts. We are one of the most significant arts and heritage organisations in the North of England with a national and international reputation for the quality of our historic buildings, collections and programming. We have a diverse portfolio of attractions including Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Kendal and the new Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Abbot Hall Art Gallery opened in 1962 and is one of Britain’s finest small art galleries, where works can be seen and enjoyed in elegantly proportioned rooms of a Grade I listed building. The Gallery has a national reputation for showing contemporary and historical works with one of the strongest exhibition programmes outside London. Artists exhibited recently include Claude Monet, Elisabeth Frink, Grayson Perry, JMW Turner and Paula Rego. Within our collection of over 6,000 works, we have one of the most important collections of art by George Romney. Our modern collection also features works by Ben Nicholson, Kurt Schwitters, Bryan Wynter, Sean Scully, David Hockney, LS Lowry, Graham Sutherland, Victor Pasmore, David Bomberg and many others.

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Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

Across the courtyard from Abbot Hall, in the old coach house and stable block, is Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry. The Museum displays important pieces from an extensive collection of over 30,000 pieces relating to the social and industrial history of the Lake District and Kendal. Step back in time and discover how the people of Cumbria lived, played and worked through a wonderful mixture of exhibitions, period rooms and a chance to wander down a Victorian Street Scene. Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry is a must see if you are interested in the history of this beautiful World Heritage landscape.

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Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories

Windermere Jetty will be the major new visitor attraction in the Lake District in 2019. Through interactive displays and exhibitions, you will see and learn about historic steamboats and the stories behind their place in the Lake District’s history. Designed by Carmody Groarke, the Museum is in a stunning modern building that brings the lake inside so steamboats can be seen in and out of the water. When you visit, you will also you will discover an active, publicly viewable conservation workshop, boathouse with boats on the water, learning centre and excellent café and visitor facilities on a stunning site beside lake Windermere. Unique heritage boat trips on beautifully and lovingly restored steamboats will make a visit to Windermere Jetty extra special and memorable.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is the main funder of the project and we have raised £4 million match funding from the Regional Growth Fund, South Lakeland District Council, trusts, corporate sector and individuals which are helping us to complete the project.

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Lakeland Arts

Our learning and activity programme focuses on developing access to the collections and engaging local people and visitors to Kendal and the Lake District. The programme includes creative workshops, lectures, events, family activities and concerts and involves working with schools, colleges, community groups and other agencies. Some of the work with the greatest impact is supporting health and wellbeing, for example for people living with dementia and where collections and activities are taken into local communities.

As we look to the next few years, our strategy is to grow Lakeland Arts significantly by opening Windermere Jetty as a world-class visitor attraction. We will improve the quality and variety of our artistic, heritage and learning programmes to create rewarding experiences for all our visitors and users.

We will also make Lakeland Arts more resilient by strengthening our business model and investing in the skills of our workforce and the organisation’s leadership.

Lakeland Arts is a company limited by guarantee which is registered in England and Wales with company number 8162578 and a registered charity, registration number 1153001.

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