Bark House is a very old, one-room stone building owned by the National Trust. It’s set near Ashness Bridge – an iconic place where tourists come to take photos.
Bark House was originally used to store oak bark before it was sent to the Keswick tannery. But no longer, as tanneries across the country have been closing down over the past 100 years. Leather has been hugely replaced with evil synthetic materials.
In the sixties it was used by the Scouts to sleep in (an original bunk bed is still there). Many visitors have wonderful memories of this time.
More recently the National Trust occasionally opens it up for visitors. This gives them a space to come and warm up by the fire and eat their sandwiches. During some of these days artists and craftspeople are invited to demonstrate and sell their wares. A beautiful place to work and meet interesting people.
So, how did the Bark House get its bark back? Simple really. I peeled some oak last week and took it to the Bark House whilst demoing my leather work at the weekend. I’ve left it on the window sill ready to be used in a tanning time of crisis!
The National Trust also asked me to make them a visitors book, bound in tough cowhide, and a guitar strap for their “Please play me” guitar!