History of the Lake District

by David Murray on 18 June 2008

in Books, History

Twenty-five years ago and more I was spending a large proportion of my professional life in the Lake District, driving up most days from Blackburn where I then lived and often staying overnight in Carlisle, or Keswick, or over in the west of the region at Eskdale Green.

Collingwood, The Lake Counties, revised by William Rollinson, ISBN 0460047582I’d known the southern areas and fringes of the Lake District, the parts in Lancashire and Westmorland, fairly well from a very young age as my family came from there and I spent many childhood holidays by the Duddon and on my uncle’s farm at Gawthwaite. Now, however, in the early-80s my involvement as an adviser to several large clients, including major aspects of the economic and administrative development of the ten-year-old county of Cumbria, meant that I had to learn about it from a wide variety of other perspectives.

The late Dr. William Rollinson of the University of Liverpool was immensely helpful to the team that I was leading, briefing us on the economic and social history of the region. On my Lake District Squidoo lens I’ve given some prominence to one of Bill’s later books, his updated edition of Collingwood’s classic, The Lake Counties, sadly now out of print but sometimes available on the secondhand market. Click above on the title to see if there’s a copy available on Biblio.com. If not, try here at Amazon.co.uk

Marshall and Walton, The Lake Counties, ISBN 0719008247A book which I bought at the time and devoured as part of my personal briefing was by two other academics, John Marshall and John Walton, both from the University of Lancaster. The Lake Counties from 1830 to the mid-twentieth century is 300 pages of concentrated information and insight on the development of this part of the country and, unlike much academic output, is highly readable.

Click on the link above to see whether there’s currently a copy available. If you want to understand the Lake District and the past couple of centuries of its development this is, in my opinion, a “must-read”.

[Note: I have never had a problem in buying secondhand books from any book dealer over the internet, but please note carefully what the seller says about the edition and the condition.]

– David Murray –
England’s Lakes

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