"The industrial revolution" Top 5 Page for this destination Ambleside Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

Ambleside Things to Do: 7 reviews and 11 photos

  Back of the Bark Mill
by iandsmith

The forestry skills of the local people, developed over the centuries in the production of charcoal , were exploited to coppice hundreds of acres of woodland. These were ideally placed to supply the demand for millions of bobbins for the new spinning mills. Harnessing the motive power of that commodity which in the Lake District is never scarce, water, bark and bobbin mills sprang up along every riverside, giving birth also to machine tool manufacture, mainly in the form of lathes to turn the wood for bobbins. A thriving trade in carrying and carting also developed and at last the area's road system evolved from muddy rutted tracks to reliable roads.
Alongside Stock Beck, in Ambleside, as it rises towards the waterfalls in Stock Ghyll Park, are tall dark walls among the trees, in which you can see holes which used to support the axles of waterwheels. From North Road bridge, you look upon a replica of the wheel which once served the bark mill. Local bobbin manufacture declined towards the end of the 19th century, when cheaper sources were found elsewhere, but at the same time the gunpowder industry was growing, with the main local factory at Elterwater, supplying mines and quarries.
This shot shows the back of Bark Mill, these days a noted supplier of sheep skins.
The famous Herdwick breed of Lake District sheep is said to have been introduced by Vikings. It is held by local historians that the name 'Ambleside' derives from a Viking named Hamel who owned land here known as his 'saetre', a Norse word for farm or pasture.

Address: Bridge street

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 1, 2006
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