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img842 How do you get from Ambleside in the Rothay Valley to Patterdale in Ullswater Valley?

Well, you have to have this photograph or actually travel the Kirkstone Pass, which connect the two towns. The Kirkstone Pass is about 1500ft above sea level (460m) and located in Cumbria (the Lake District) in what is generally considered the most beautiful part of England. I am telling you this because I have two photographs, one is signed H. Bell (Herbert Bell) and the other one carries a handwritten note, the Kirkstone Pass.

Now, on to brother Google, I typed the words Kirkstone Pass and arrived at the most wonderful rugged, forlorn images! I highly recommend doing this Google search. The colorful inages make a completely different impression upon the viewer. Guess what the oldest photograph of these Google’s images is? There is a very similar scene with the road unpaved to the one from our archive shown above. Our photograph appears to have been taken from a slightly higher elevation. Their photograph is signed by a Mr. Herbert Bell (1856-1946), the famous Lake District photographer and the photo belongs to the Armitt Collection, a private, semi- public Museum and Library.

Who knew that among other things this was the countryside where the very famous author Beatrix Potter lived. Many English poets lived and worked in Cumbria, a very mystical place, once inhabited by Druids (Celts), Romans, Angles, as well as, Norsemen or Vikings, each leaving their mark on locate history and the landscape . Visiting the Northern part of Cumbria we bump into Hadrian’s Wall, built by Romans to keep those wild Scottish and Saxon tribes out of the Roman Empire.

One of the other interesting areas certainly is Windermere. “Mere” meaning lake, and what a lake it is. It is the largest natural lake in England. Many creative people worked or lived nearby in this inspiring part of Cumbria. Along the lake you will find some of the best Country Houses designed by Charles Voysey (1857-1941), the Arts and Crafts architect and designer. One of his best works, Broad Leys is near the town of Windermere and the only Voysey house you can stay in.

img843This is the albumen photo from our archives done by Herbert Bell probably around 1890’s. I will let you guess where Bell’s archives are? They are in the Armitt Library. He photographed the entire Lake District in great detail as well as the local people and their customs. On top of all things, he became the librarian for many years. Who else lived in the district you might want to know? How about John Ruskin or Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), the very famous German Dada Artist, who fled to England in 1940 after his art was declared “degenerate art” in his homeland Germany. Schwitters created the short lived typographical magazine MERZ and elevated the two dimensional collage into a three dimensional art form and called it Merz.

His only surviving sculpture is called the Cathedral of Erotic Misery or Merzbau and very much worth seeing at this fabulous link