Langdale Pikes from Loughrigg

Allan Bank

LA22 9QB

Tel:- 015394 35143

  • A medium sized Georgian house of historical importance, overlooking Grasmere village and Lake.

  • Once the home of William Wordsworth, one of three houses that he and his family occupied during their time in Grasmere.

  • 100 years later it became the last dwelling place of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the co founders of the National Trust.

  • Despite being owned by the Trust and open to the public, there is an air of informality about Allan Bank. Don't expect lavish drawing rooms and priceless works of art when you step through the door. The N T don't want you to simply stand and stare at the fixtures and fittings. They want you to have fun. Or as the their Web site puts it:-

"The chairs are there to be sat on, the books are there to be read and the walls are there to be written on… yes that’s right, we want you to write on the walls.

  • Families are encouraged to enjoy Allan Bank as a family home and not a stuffy heritage house, so family fun and freedom are the order of the day.

The Garden

There are two walks that you can enjoy, one through the woodland part of the garden, and the other through the remains of the main garden and walled garden.

The woodland path is quite strenuous in places, but includes a viewing tunnel and carefully placed seating.

Potted History

Allan Bank was built in 1805, and immediately incurred the wrath of Wordsworth. He was an outspoken critic of the house when it was being built, finding fault with it's aspect as well as it's design. However, pragmatism took over from his aesthetic disgust when he needed a larger house for his ever growing family, and in 1808 he became it's first tenant!

The house lived up to his expectations. It was highly susceptible to the biting north westerly winds and poor design meant that the fires did not draw properly, making it expensive to heat. In 1811 he decided that he could no longer afford to live in the property and the family moved to a house opposite the Church in Grasmere village. Allan Bank was subsequently let to a less famous, yet presumably more agreeable tenant.

In 1915 the house became home to arguably one of the most influential characters in the modern history of not just the Lake District, but also the country as a whole, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.

Although little known, Rawnsley's influence can still be felt to this day. A student of social reformer John Ruskin, he influenced and encouraged a young Beatrix Potter to continue to study and draw, and also to publish her books. Along with his wife Edith he founded the Keswick School of Industrial art, and was a founding member of both the Friends of the Lake District and the National Trust.

He remained at Allan Bank until his death in 1920, and bequeathed the house to the National Trust. It was rented out to private tenants until it was gutted by fire in 2011. After extensive repair work was completed, it was opened to the public in 2012.



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