Traditional Crafts And Their Beginnings In The Lake District Cottage Industries


Traditional Crafts and Their Beginnings in the Lake District Cottage Industries

Traditionally known for its breathtaking beauty and wonderful natural lakes, the Lake District was actually a hotspot during the Industrial Revolution. However, the real hidden gems of Lake District arrived long before that. Herdwick sheep are thought to have been brought to the region by Viking settlers in the 11th century and are a key component of the thriving cottage industries that once allowed the area to thrive economically. When the Industrial Revolution arrived in the Lakes, people began to use the local natural resources to create new jobs and expand their general craft-making capabilities by taking advantage of local materials.

Water-Powered Cottage Industries

As was the case with many industries a few centuries back, people in the Lake District also had to make use of nearby water to fuel mills, transport goods and wash certain textiles. Seeing as the region is home to numerous lakes, rivers and becks, the area was ideal for both corn mills and fulling mills, which was where workers would wash and process woollen cloth to craft warm wool material that could either be sold or practically used in order to stay warm during the cold winter months. The mills were later used to cultivate products such as cotton, paper, and flax. The Lake District area also participated in other cottage industries such as pencil making, tanning, iron manufacturing and the cultivation of gunpowder.

Carrying on with Tradition

While you won’t find water-powered mills still in service today, you can immerse yourself in the wonderful Lake District tradition of crafting special high-quality materials by visiting Woolfest, which is Britain’s largest wool festival that is held each year in Cockermouth, Cumbria. Here you’ll be able to experience some of the country’s finest fabric creations while also indulging in a bit of Lake District history and tradition that has been carried over even centuries after the Industrial Revolution has ended. You’ll learn about just what makes Lake District wool so special and even a bit about the famous Herdwick sheep that have been roaming the land for over 1,000 years.

Rich History Meets a Sustainable Future

While people often visit the Lake District for amazing views, the abundance of outdoor activities and even the delightful accommodations that are peppered throughout the area, it’s actually a site filled with rich history and a deep culture that was responsible for a boom during the Industrial Revolution. Learning about these historical facts can make a visit to the Lake District even more enriching and help you understand the past in order to help craft a thriving, sustainable future.

Article written and published by Jane Upson