Monday, 21 January 2013

Bridge House

By the way, I'm not finished with the Lake District; it's just that the holidays sort of intervened. I'm not finished with those either, but I'm putting that aside for now.  

Ambleside's traditional stone buildings

If you've never been to Britain (or even if you have) I can tell you that there isn't a huge variation in the topography. Sure, there are flat bits and hilly bits. The west side of the country is even wetter and greener than the east, which is saying something. But it's not like, say, the difference between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, or the contrast between the humid Deep South and the arid Utah desert. However, one thing that does distinguish one area from another is the building materials used.    

Tyneside is mainly red brick or (ugly) beige pebble dash. Up around Morpeth village you see a lot of cream coloured stone and some white plaster. Edinburgh has a pale-ish stone largely covered with coal soot. This colour as well as the row upon row of towering terraces makes the city seem very dour and imposing. Wales has distinctive purple slate roofs (like on my house) and of course the Cotswolds area is full of thatched roofs.  

Tudor-bethan buildings in the background, a tourist in the front


Ambleside grabbed my attention with its two story buildings that looked like nothing but thin, dark grey stones just stacked with no mortar in sight. Perhaps they are held together with gravity plus a bit of ivy or green moss.

One house in particular was especially startling. It was originally built as an apple store (as in storage, not selling) for nearby Ambleside Hall. Its position over the beck made it exempt from land tax. Bridge House is said to be possibly the most photographed building in the village and a popular subject for artists.    

At one point, a family with six children lived in these two rooms.

It is now owned by the National Trust and used as a (rather cramped) shop. I would imagine it's damp and chilly as well!


Carolyn said...

I love all that beautiful stonework :)

Shelley said...

Carolyn - Yes, I love the texture that stone work creates. Wouldn't it be great to have some lush fabric with that print? I don't normally go for prints, but I could make an exception for something like this!

Beryl said...

I took all the changes in elevation for granted before I moved to Oklahoma and found out how flat a place can be. I never thought of England being the same.
Your purple slate roof sounds very attractive. And before I read an Agatha Raisin book, I didn't realize thatched roofs still existed.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I've heard so many great things about the Lake District. Can you imagine raising a family in that little home? My husbands family raised 6 kids a tiny flat here in Aberdeen & it amazes me how they made it work. It shows you how spoiled we all are now. I'm sure they thought nothing of it at the time. Take care Shelly and thanks for sharing all your wonderful photos and stories.

Shelley said...

Beryl - I wouldn't say England was flat like Oklahoma. It's more rolling hills, with not much difference in the size of hills except perhaps in Scotland and the Peak District. I've not been to the later, so I'm just guessing really.

Shelley said...

Deb - Living abroad does open a person's eyes, doesn't it? We Americans are terribly spoiled! That said, I'm sure there are small houses that raised large families in the US and suffered hardships along the way. I think the size of the US and the way the 'good' and 'bad' parts of towns tend to be separate sometimes hides poverty from the better off. Here in Britain it is harder not to see.