Mansions like these were built by northern industrialists and ship owners as summer residences where they could escape the pollution of the cities and mill towns. The above is Langdale Chase, now a hotel. Also built around this time were Brathay Hall, home of the Harden family, Huyton Hall, Dove Nest, the Croft and Wanlass Howe at Waterhead (now Ambleside Park), home of the MacIvers, shipping magnates. Several more were built further south around Bowness.

With the owners each summer came a retinue of servants and much of the contents of the city household, as the stay was usually long for the families, while the head of the house would return to attend to business. These homes were useful sources of income to local traders and tradesmen.

None now exist as private homes. Between the first and second world wars that way of life disappeared as labour costs rose and fortunes diminished. The mansions are now hotels or apartments, or in the case of Brathay Hall, a residential training establishment.