Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ruskin Lace

Our caravan holiday last week was to Coniston in the Lake District.  We had 2 days of really awful weather, the other days were better.  On the second day of rain we took the four children (mine and my cousin's children) to the Ruskin Museum in Coniston village because it includes lots of interesting items relating to Donald Campbell's water speed records, Arthur Ransome of Swallows and Amazons fame and John Ruskin the Victorian thinker and teacher.

My little girl was fascinated by the collection of Ruskin lace which they had in special vertical drawers which you pulled out to view (so the lace was in the dark most of the time for preservation).  It was all behind glass, so we couldn't touch it, but we could see the amazing detail.  John Ruskin helped revive the Lake District lace making industry to help local people and the distinctive Ruskin lace is the result.

I was allowed to take photos (they had a photo licence for a £1) so long as no flash was used.  I prefer not to use flash anyway, especially when glass is in the way, however my photos aren't that great.

There were also some model houses made of slate showing the workmanship and illustrating the local industry of slate quarrying, a model of the Steam Yacht Gondola (which is owned by the National Trust and takes passengers on Coniston water every day), and the actual yacht Amazon, which was the boat Mavis which inspired Arthur Ransome to write his famous adventures for children.  We'd seen Amazon before at the (now closed) museum at Bowness on Windermere, and it was lovely to see it again.

The Donald Campbell gallery was a new addition since we had last been in Coniston 4 years ago and was a very poignant tribute to the man who gave his life to speed.  It included a replica of his teddy Mister Whoppit who was with him on Bluebird during the fateful crash in 1967, and several models of Bluebird itself which was raised from the lake and is being restored.

The Ruskin museum is well worth a visit (or two) as there is so much to see and appreciate. So if you ever get to Coniston village be sure to go to the museum.
A little porcelain doll in a knitted lace dress
Ruskin lace and an embroidered smock dress
Amazon (previously called Mavis)
Model of the Steam Yacht Gondola, the real yacht still takes passengers on the lake every day
Model slate house
Mr Whoppit
My girl watches the video on how to do Ruskin lace

3 comments:

AuntLou said...

Oh, how nice to see the Amazon! This looks like a place I would enjoy visiting. I got my introduction in Winter Holiday. That and Swallows and Amazons have remained favorites. :)

Dee said...

Very interesting post and great photo's.looks like a good place to visit.

Sharon said...

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your holidays and this looked like a great place to visit. I have Swallows and Amazons on my Kindle to read, I read it as a child and one day intend reading it again. I never knew that the boat was once called Mavis!
Hugs Sharon in Spain x