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Introduction & History

from lakeside family retreat to powerboat racing club

Broad Leys is one of the best and most important examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.  Commissioned by the wealthy Yorkshire colliery owner Arthur Currer Briggs and his wife Helen in 1898, it was designed by the renowned Arts and Crafts architect C.F.A.Voysey and is considered to be one of his masterpieces.

With its stunning location overlooking Windermere in the Lake District World Heritage Site, it ensures a lasting legacy for Voysey.  It would have been radical and revolutionary in design, very different to the typical Victorian villa.  Ground breaking!

Broad Leys on Windermere from the Lake

Voysey was very particular about his buildings; he designed and did all the drawings himself and managed every detail of the construction without need for a site manager.  Voysey also very much wanted to use locally sourced material and use local craftsmen, such as Arthur Simpson of Kendal, who did the wonderful wood carving you can see all around the house.

C.F.A. Voysey architect perspective of Broad Leys

The building work was done by George Pattinson, coming from a long established firm of local builders. The house was completed in 1899.
Voysey’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in his near-daily letters to Pattinson.  This task was no doubt made easier by the fact that Voysey was also building the nearby house, Moor Crag, at the same 

At Broad Leys, Voysey incorporated many of his typical design features such as the double height curved bow window at the front of the property overlooking the lake, the steeply pitched overhanging roof, and vernacular Cumbrian elements such as the chimney stacks and the white rough cast walls.  A veranda was built onto the south wall of the building which has since been enclosed.  The entrance porch at the back is low and wide; its fine oak door with shaped hinges leading to the Hall.

The lodge at the entrance gates was built in 1899 for the staff and remains in the ownership of WMBRC.  It was initially planned to incorporate a stable block and coach house but this was abandoned.

WMBRC racing at Broad Leys today
Bob, Capt Hastings & Hercule Poirot arrive at Broad Leys

Broad Leys has three reception rooms: the Hall, the Drawing Room [now the bar] and the Dining Room.  There are now six public bedrooms, three with en-suite bathrooms.  Although Voysey planned the outline of the gardens, they were most likely designed by the great local Arts and Crafts garden designer, Thomas Mawson, who also designed gardens at Langdale Chase, Holehird, Brockhole and Blackwell.

The fact that Broad Leys was bought by Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club in 1950 has meant that the house remains largely unchanged, and much of Voysey’s original design, fixtures and fittings can be seen all around us today.

To the Garden
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