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Thirlmere Before The Dam

Ian Hall


In 1849 the Reverend Basil Ranaldson Lawson became the parson of Wythburn parish, a beautiful Lakeland Valley containing two little gems of lakes holding hands in the middle, spanned by the three iconic bridges above. In the forty-one years he served the parish it changed – at first subtly as Manchester Waterworks Committee bought up more and more of the farms and cottages and the threat of inundation grew – and then climactically as hundreds of navvies descended on the defenceless dale and built a mighty dam across the river mouth. In 1894 the water began to rise and cottage by cottage, farm by farm, his parish sank below the expanding reservoir.
By then Parson Basil Lawson had been dead a couple of years, spared the sight of his vanishing parish and the distress of those evicted. He left behind two invaluable sketchbooks detailing many of the properties. Along with contemporary paintings and photographs these sketches bring to life a long-lost exquisite Lake District valley, available only now to us in the mind’s eye as we turn the pages of memory.
In this lavishly illustrated book are well over a hundred contemporary paintings, sketches and photographs which bring the old valley to life in a way not before attempted, using some drone photographs and a computer generated image to illustrate how the drowned farmsteads would have looked.









Publication Date:

2021 November


275mm x 225mm, hardback