Armitt Museum

2 mins read
The Armitt in Ambleside
The Armitt in Ambleside - Image Source: Vivienne Crow

The Story of Ambleside

The Armitt Museum, gallery and reference library was established in Ambleside in 1912 to “foster an exchange of ideas in the local community”. Today, it continues to tell the story of both the town and the surrounding Lake District.

The Legacy of Mary Louisa Armitt and Armitt Sisters

Mary Louisa Armitt, born in 1851 in Salford, Lancashire, England, was a multifaceted English polymath known for her work as a teacher, writer, ornithologist, and philanthropist. She, along with her sisters, established a school in Lancashire, leveraging their extensive education. Armitt, notably, engaged in a variety of pursuits, including contributing to the Manchester City News, writing on music history, and being a music critic.

Resistance from Ruskin

Her profound interest in natural history and the arts led her to compile a significant collection of books and manuscripts, culminating in the founding of the Armitt Library. Despite initial resistance from figures like John Ruskin, she pursued her intellectual passions, contributing significantly to the cultural and educational landscape of her time.

Treasured Collections of Potter and Ramsome at The Armitt

The Armitt Library contains books and manuscripts donated by authors such as Arthur Ransome, Harriet Martineau and Beatrix Potter. When she died in 1943, the latter also left her large collection of watercolours to The Armitt. Covering fungi, natural history and archaeology, these meticulous works are on permanent display in the museum on Rydal Road, just inside the entrance to the university campus.     

“Kurt Schwitters’ Art and the Abraham Photographic Collection at The Armitt Museum

Visitors to The Armitt Museum will also find an important collection by German artist Kurt Schwitters. Forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1938, he spent the last three years of his life in Ambleside.  Among the photographic collections are images and glass plates created by the Abraham.

More information

Address: Rydal Road, Ambleside, LA22 9BL

Website: https://www.armitt.com/