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The Victorian era, from 1837 to 1901, was a period of great change throughout England, and Cumbria was no exception.
The Cockermouth-Keswick-Penrith Railway opened for passenger traffic in 1865 and this brought many more visitors to the Lake District. Tourism grew significantly, and the popularity of the area with artists and writers, combined with the work that their experiences inspired, contributed further to the attractions of the Lake District. There is a proposal to restore the railway line to Keswick, renewing its Victorian-era attraction and boost to travel and tourism.
Many hotels and B&Bs in the Lake District are in beautiful Victorian buildings, built by wealthy industrialists, particularly in the South Lakes. The Victorian legacy can also be seen in the steamer boats on several of the lakes in the National Park.
The photography pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot, rented Barrow House for several months of the year in 1850 and 1851, and his family continued to visit the house throughout the nineteenth century. His inventions allowed images of the Lake District to circulate more widely.
As well as learning about Cumbrian life during the Victorian times, we will investigate the legacy of the Victorians on the landscape of the Lake District, examining positive and negative impacts on the local community and its visitors.
- Visit Keswick Museum and Art Gallery: the museum was founded in 1873 and it is known as a Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities. It underwent a major refurbishment in 2013 and contains lots of interesting artefacts, art work, and information.
- Walk through Dodd Wood: the Old Sawmill Tearoom and coach park contain information about the Victorian period. Dodd Wood caught fire when a hot air balloon from Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations came too close to the trees!
- Go on the Victorian steam-powered yacht on Coniston Water
- Visit the Pencil Museum: in 1851 there were four pencil factories recorded in Keswick - a boom time for pencil manufacturing in Keswick!
- Walk or cycle along the old railway line, and look at the bridges over the River Greta.
- Learn about Victorian mining and mining-family life at Honister Slate Mine.
Group trips on the Keswick Launch
Birmingham University Wilderness Medicine Students
Working together on Derwent Water
Self catering kitchen
Barrow Cascade: the waterfall in our grounds
Classrooms in the forest
Raft building (and floating!)
Be a Viking for a day!