AMBLESIDE NEWS –  14 January 2022

New local book – “Fine Lines – William Green’s Ambleside.”

A fascinating new book, illustrated with etchings of Ambleside from 200 years ago, has been published by Black Powder Press entitled “Fine Lines – William Green’s Ambleside.” The artist, (1760-1823) was born in Manchester and trained and worked as a surveyor before coming to live in Ambleside permanently. Green’s detailed landscape and architectural sketches of the town inspired the historian, writer and archaeologist Deborah Walsh to produce a book celebrating the achievement of Green’s simple etchings, which enable readers today to link past with present-day Ambleside. The book contains almost 40 of Green’s drawings of Ambleside, which were mostly executed around 1821 in a period of change: “Green witnessed the end of an era; the decline of the water-powered industries that the area had relied on for centuries and the rise of a new enterprise, tourism. The Ambleside of the 17th and 18th centuries was fast disappearing under a relentless tide of gentrification. Two centuries later, Green’s meticulous etchings remain almost our only glimpse into that earlier world, with its rattling mills bounding Stock Gill and rambling galleried buildings clustered between rocky outcrops”, Deborah recounted.

A While working as a surveyor in the Lake District, William Green was first struck by the beauty of the area in 1778. “At the root of all this was Green’s ability to record detail with a painstaking accuracy probably best seen in his numerous sketches of buildings in and around the towns of Ambleside and Keswick,” Deborah writes. “Combining the skills of the surveyor, the aesthetic eye of the artist and a certain native curiosity he created a record of what he described as ‘ancient domestic architecture’. These buildings, which largely dated from the 16th and 17th centuries, were increasingly falling foul of the 19th century developers. Many were lost before the age of photography and few survive to the present day, yet by virtue of William Green’s book, we can almost reconstruct them, stone by stone.” Having visited Ambleside over two extended periods, Green finally arrived permanently in 1800 to spend the last 23 years of his life as an artist and engraver, living with his family in a handsome house in the Market Place, sadly no longer there. At the heart of his work was accuracy and his aim was always to ‘adhere as faithfully as possible to nature’. His views of Ambleside, mostly published in 1821 are interspersed by Deborah with early photographs, and despite the numerous changes in Ambleside since then, many images he depicted such as How Head, St Anne’s Church, The Salutation Inn, The Slack, the Kelsick buildings in Church Street and the Market Place are instantly recognisable today and still remain as familiar sights.  The book is packed with historic facts and lively background detail, and thanks to William Green’s etchings, even readers who know Ambleside well will be inspired to look with fresh insight at its older buildings and architecture. The book, “Fine Lines”, is available from Holdsworth’s bookshop in Ambleside, Sam Read’s in Grasmere and the Langdale Co-op in Chapel Stile. Also through Black Powder Press at blackpowderpublishing@gmail.com


Grasmere Players Pantomime

Grasmere Players present their “Little Red Riding Hood” panto this week for 3 nights, starting 7.30pm from tonight, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 13-15th, plus Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets £10 adults, £5 juniors, from Barney’s Newsbox or on the door.


St Mary’s Monday Meet-Up in Church is back after the Christmas break , meeting 2-4pm weekly, and welcomes anyone who’d like to drop in for tea/coffee and cake, and a bit of a chat.


Parish Council

Lakes Parish Council has a new website, at www.lakesparish.co.uk which has the names of individual councillors serving each of the five wards, plus links to other local council services including SLDC, the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council. It also has a calendar showing meeting dates for 2022, plus past minutes and agendas, links to many community services and contact details for other essentials such as utilities, social care, health, waste disposal and recycling and planning matters. The Council represents the electorate at grass roots level and works in partnership with local organisations to ensure that the views of residents are heard, while initiating appropriate action on Parish matters of public interest. One of its major items of expenditure is the running of six public toilets, and the Council also scrutinises all planning applications (approximately 200 each year) and makes recommendations to LDNPA, which is the planning authority. The Parish Council is consulted by local, regional and national agencies on a wide variety of issues such as traffic management, highways, environmental matters, rural issues, structure plans, local plans, conservation projects, lake administration, footways, rights of ways and other Parish business, and this busy workload frequently involves council members making site visits. The Parish Clerk, Mrs Charlene Iredale, can be emailed on lakesparish@icloud.com , tel 015394 32656. She is in the office on the first floor of Ambleside Library, Kelsick Road, every Monday, 9am-3pm and several other days, and can also be contacted to book an appointment either in person or digitally. A full council meeting took place last night (Wednesday January 12) and there will be a Plans meeting on Wednesday February 2 followed by the next full council on Wednesday February 16.


Christmas shop window winner

This year’s winner of the best decorated Christmas shop window in Ambleside is Detail, in the Market Place. The competition is organised by Ambleside Christmas Lights Committee, who invite local shoppers and visitors to vote for their favourite window among the participating shops. Detail, which sells a wide variety of gifts, cards, home accessories, puzzles and crafts and decorative items received 39% of the votes. In second place was Freshers Café of Rothay Road with 26%, and third place went to Granny Smiths of Market Place with 11%, whilst Herby Jacks in Lake Road and Rattle Ghyll Fine Foods in Rydal Road shared fourth place with 7% each. All participating shops received votes, with 164 votes cast in total. Organisers Liesl Williams and Richard Attenborough thanked all participating shops and all the voters for their support. Two entrants, Emily Robinson of Ambleside and Victoria Kirk of Shrewsbury who were among those who voted for the winning shop were each selected at random to receive a  £20 shopping voucher. The Christmas lights will stay on each day until January 30th from 3.30 – 10pm, to help create a cheerful atmosphere in the town.