The Round House on Belle Isle, Windermere, Cumbria
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member flipflopnick
N 54° 21.587 W 002° 55.882
30U E 504459 N 6023554
The unique Round House on Belle Isle (private land) started construction in 1774. A good view of this Grade I listed building is possible from Cockshott Point, the above co-ordinates. The Round House was damaged by fire in 1996 and repaired.
Waymark Code: WM1EK1
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 04/21/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member The Blue Quasar
Views: 179

Belle Isle was bought by a Mr. Thomas English in 1774 who instructed the architect John Plaw to construct the unusual round house. The house was not finished when Mr. English went bankrupt and sold the house and island for £1,720. The descendants of Isabella and her husband John Christian Curwen lived on the island until 1993. When the current owners bought it.

The building was inspired by the Villa Vicenza in Rome, with a magnificent dome and classical portico. The original stone came from a quarry in the grounds of Cragwood House, (visit link) . Although work was begun in 1774 it was interrupted because of mounting criticism. It was feared that it would spoil the scenic beauty of the area. In the 'Prelude' William Wordsworth called it a "pepper-pot". In full summer you get no more than a tantalising glimpse of the distinctive round house through the trees. There have been houses on the site going back to Roman times. The island was originally known as Long Holme but when the island was bought by the husband of Isabella Curwen in the late eighteenth century it was re-named Belle Isle in her honour. Unlike on the other islands, the tree planting has been planned as part of an arboretum. It was besieged during the Civil War in the mid seventeenth century with the Roundheads or Parliamentarians firing cannon at this Royalist stronghold from the shore at Cockshott Point! The house was protected by trees and apparently wasn't hit.

When the unique three storey Round House caught fire at Christmas 1994, this was regarded as one of Windermere's largest fires, as its in the middle of Windermere lake. This set a major plan into action involving the Fire Service, the Police and the Lake Wardens. The task to get personnel and equipment onto the island involved a lot of hard work and effort and at the height of the fire, at least 80 personnel were involved. The building could not be saved, but the fittings were. Doors, windows and furnishings were hastily removed. Most are unique.

The Roundhouse is a Grade 1 listed building.

Belle Isle (visit link)
Windermere's Islands (visit link)
Interior shots (visit link)
Suggested Walk (visit link)
Building Address:
The Round House
Belle Isle
Windermere, Cumbria England
LA23 3HE

Is it open to the general public?: no

When was it built? (Approximate if you must.): 01/01/1774

What is the name of this building?: The Round House

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bill&ben visited The Round House on Belle Isle, Windermere, Cumbria 04/17/2012 bill&ben visited it
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