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Ambleside


Church Street

See also
Roman History
Ambleside dates back to the early years of the Roman occupation of Britain (approximately AD80). The site of the Roman fort 'Galava' lies just off Borrans Road near the north shore of Lake Windermere. After the Romans left in about AD406 Ambleside entered the 'Dark Ages'. Not until approximately 900 with the invasion of the Vikings did Ambleside gain its name as the town began to have some local importance. Ambleside, then as now, was a fairly prosperous little town. It did not suffer in the way that many of the county's towns did at the hands of the raiding Scots, and even escaped the successive Plagues. The establishment of a market, a charter being given in 1650, added to the town's modest affluence, and a successful trade developed in cloth, bark, corn and paper. A bobbin mill was powered by the water rushing down Stockghyll Force from the Fairfield Horseshoe, the range of mountains encompassing Ambleside's northern horizon. There were at one time twelve mills in the town.

The interest in the Lake District generated by the 'Lake Poets' Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge led by the mid Victorian times to an established tourist trade bringing increasing numbers of visitors to Ambleside and Lake Windermere.

This new source of income wrought a fundamental change in the town's character and future economic make up. Before the growth of tourism the town, like most in Cumbria of a similar size, would have been relatively isolated from outside influence and probably by modern standards quite introverte. The more traditional industries were beginning to die out anyway so the new business was most provident.

 

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