The Coledale Inn, Braithwaite, Cumbria, England

by Veronica

Close to the Scottish border, a traditional, family-orientated, old inn in the northern Lake District nestles in amongst lakes and mountains to provide the perfect welcome.

In its time, The Coledale Inn, Braithwaite, Cumbria has been a woollen spinning house, a private house, a pencil works and a village inn. We returned from our annual visit today.

The Coledale Inn stands on the mountain, above the village of Braithwaite in the Coledale area of the village. It is my favourite village in the English Lake District.

The Inn was built during the reign of King George 1V, before Queen Victoria so would be classed as Georgian in English monarch dynastical terms. It has been added to during its life.
Except for the Inn photo itself, all photos were taken by me.

The Coledale Inn

Coledale Inn - A Genuine Country Inn, Hotel & Restaurant situated in Braithwaite, Cumbria ( 

Looking at the Inn from the front, it is easy to see how it has been built on and added to over the centuries. The left appears to be the Georgian side, the middle is the Victorian side and the single-story on the right is the 20th Century build. 

Look at the difference in the style of the windows from the Georgian era  (left) to the Victorian era, (centre) then a 20th century addition on the right. 

The main entrance is through the porched entrance in the centre of the Victorian annex, although you can just see the Georgian doorway behind the bushes in the left part of the Inn. 

Some history

Georgian bar
Georgian bar

Georgian bar

The bar is housed in the Georgian part of the house but the bar itself seems Victorian in its intricacy. 

The door gives testament to the approx. age of the house. 

Uncovered on the wall of the Georgian Bar, is a mural of a Cumberland wrestling scene. The scene is believed to have been painted in the 20th Century but had been covered over previously. 

Cumberland Wrestling mural

Wrestling picture uncovered
Wrestling picture uncovered

The bar itself

Very intricate workmanship
Very intricate workmanship

Famous Pencil Works

1894 West Cumberland Times

The West Cumberland Times, in 1894 gave a lengthy account of the development of the Pencil Company. 

It stated that the  Coledale Pencil Company was started in 1858 but was purchased by Mr Thomas Wilson in 1890 when it was named the "Black Lead Pencil and Penholder, Coledale Pencil Works". He had been the agent at the Pencil Works.  This area had a long history of pencil making due to graphite naturally occurring in the rocks in the area. Joseph Banks had started his company decades before in Keswick. 

Mr William Hodgson valued Mr Wilson's Pencil Works, building and outhouses at the princely sum of £1,000. It was stated to be a good business because pencils made in Cumberland (now Cumbria) were deemed to be superior to any made elsewhere in the world, even those in Germany! Indeed, the company was estimated to be capable of producing even more pencils than it was currently doing. 

Fire at Coledale December 1898

Newspaper; The English Lakes Visitor 1898

A terrible fire, totally destroyed the pencil works at the house on December 17th 1898. 

Mr Shadrach Barnes, returning to Braithwaite saw a light in the upper room at Coledale whilst he was still half a mile away. When he reached the pencil works,  he rang the fire bell and the fire brigade was summoned by telegraph from Keswick. Owner, Mr Wilson was returning from Glasgow by train and was understandably distressed to see the fire. A sluice was cut from the mill dam and water poured into the building but to no effect. The fire was extinguished at approx 10.30 pm. 

The business was destroyed but this remarkable house stayed standing to be repaired. 

Victorian Lounge

In the Victorian part of the building
In the Victorian part of the building

The date 1899 suggests that this was rebuilt after the fire. 

Four months after the fire, Mr Wilson's Coledale House, with its stables, lofts, remains of the mill building, coach house and more had been put up for auction on May 6th, 1899. The property was then owned by Mr Henry Skelton who died in 1927. 

Grandfather clock

Clock in the hallway
Clock in the hallway

Blackburn Rovers Football player

Edward Stokes Swift
Edward Stokes Swift

Edward Stokes Swift, Coledale House.

A famous Cumberland sportsman who had played for well-known football team Blackburn Rovers celebrated his Golden wedding anniversary at home at Coledale House in August 1956. 

Edward Stokes Swift celebrated at home with his wife and sons, Lyndon, Randal, Gilbert and Elaine.

Some census details 1911


Henry Skelton and his wife Sarah lived here with their granddaughter Ruby Collier Jenkinson and 1 servant, Isabella Tunstall.

Coledale Inn


Coledale Inn, Braithwaite.

By 1972, Coledale House was advertising itself as Coledale Inn. 

Today, Coledale Inn is still a fine house with wonderful managers and staff, great rooms,  excellent food and a wonderful welcome. 


Delightful period features

old fireplace
old fireplace

Beautiful Victorian dresser

Victorian dresser in the entrance hall
Victorian dresser in the entrance hall
Updated: 10/29/2021, Veronica
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Veronica on 11/20/2021

The frontage is every bit as beautiful or even more so. Sometimes when the light catches the cream walls of the building, it is absolutely stunning. I agree that it is an interesting lesson in architecture going from Georgian through to the Victorians Through to 20thC. I wanted to show this idea in one photo.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/20/2021

Veronica, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
Does the front of the inn look as attractive in reality as in your photo? It looks to me like a seamlessly attractive lesson in architectural and cultural history, what with how Georgian moves gently into Victorian and Victorian into 20th century.

Veronica on 11/01/2021

Writer artist
Ty. It is quite an experience walking into a place which is hundreds of years old. It adds to the experience.

WriterArtist on 11/01/2021

Love your nostalgic reviews of old inns. England is a happy place for wanderlust and tourists. I would love to visit such places.

frankbeswick on 10/31/2021

Well observed!

Veronica on 10/30/2021

A" Roman Britain Legacy " article would be interesting...roads included.

Veronica on 10/30/2021

Think about how straight it is though. It runs alongside Wythenshawe Park under Altrincham Road, comes down from Malandra Castle in Glossop.
Yes it makes sense.

frankbeswick on 10/30/2021

Thanks, I didn't know about Altrincham Road, but it makes sense. Several roads would radiate from Chester, which was a legionary base, unlike Manchester, which was merely the base of an auxiliary cohort.

Veronica on 10/29/2021

Frank, Altrincham Rd which runs through Cheadle is also on the site of a Roman road which went to Chester. Chester was a major fort.
The area where we stayed in the Lake District is full of Roman remains as it is very close to the site of the Hadrian's Wall, the Roman Wall built approx AD 121. It split the country between what is now Scotland and what is now England.

Veronica on 10/29/2021

Good morning Henry.
Yes. Plus, our Record and Source keeping here are generally very well preserved so I can access e.g... old newspapers etc with ease for a reasonable cost.

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