During the 19th Century due to the abundance of local slate and much writing about the area, many rich families contracted local builders to build summer houses. The arrival of steam was the main factor for many of the summer mansions to be built such as Broadoaks.
It was built for a rich military man to reside during his summer breaks and was approximately resided in for six weeks of the year in its first forty years of life. It was sold in the late 1890’s to Dr Charles and Fanny Hodges. They gave the house a new lease of life by building the music room with its acoustic barrel vaulted ceiling and delicate plaster relief work designed by William Morris. This is where the original Bechstein Grand Piano purchased by Charles Hodges sits today having been recovered from Leeds in 1993.
Broadoaks is believed to be one of if not the first residence in the Windermere area to benefit from the installation of Electricity. This was supplied by Windermere Hydro-electric Company, based at Troutbeck Bridge (now Scottish Power) who purchased the land and the rights to draw water from the beck below. If you walk up the road and look down you will see the remnants of the original building.
Broadoaks was turned into a hotel in 1992 by its previous owners. In 2007 they retired and it was bought by current owners Tracey Robinson & Jo Harbottle.
Tracey and Jo have treated Broadoaks to some wonderful additions and refurbishments with many more exciting enhancements planned for the future. They lead very busy lives between London and Cumbria so if you can catch them, ask them what’s next!
Did you know? Our music room was decorated by Mr William Morris an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris called in at ‘The Mortal Man’ in Troutbeck and met owner Mr.Hodges where after a few jars he was commissioned by Mr.Hodges to decorate the Music Room he planned to create….its not often a drunken plan turns out so well!
The music room now hosts some new faces so please do have a look at the beautiful portraits hanging around the room. You’ll find Joe Scullin and Mary Toohey 1936 on their wedding day in Liverpool (Grandparents of Tracey Robinson). Granddad Joe was a keen piano player and loved to sing, it is such a shame that he didn’t make it to Broadoaks before it became part of the family.
Oh and if you can guess how many hours the ornate plaster work took to paint (within 5 hours either side) we will buy you a drink…