The Armitt holds a fascinating range of manuscripts, as diverse as plans for the Ambleside railway which, of course was never built, Ruskin’s letters to his doctor and other personal and family papers, the Beggars Entry Book for Ambleside and various documents relating to the Poor Law, landholding and property records and an eighteenth-century visitors book for the Salutation Hotel. It also holds extensive archives of the works of the political economist and social commentator Harriet Martineau and the educationalist Charlotte Mason.
The Dawson Archive
This important archive of documents relating to the Township of Troutbeck was originally deposited with Gatey Heelis Solicitors, Windermere. It consists of around 500 mostly legal documents relating to land holdings, rights of way, enclosure of the commons and other legal matters for the period from the 1590’s to the 1930’s . It therefore covers a long, crucially important and complex period in the development of land holdings within the county.
The archive also includes a number of early curiosities, the most curious of which is a letter which purports to be ‘written in the hand of God’ in 1620. It is in fact an early 18th century chain letter.