House and History

Charles FAVoysey was born in Yorkshire in 1857. He first studied with J P Seddon until 1874 and later with George Devey for a year. Voysey's early work was as a designer of wallpapers, fabrics and furnishings, but he made his name as an Arts and Crafts architect designing a number of outstanding country houses. These typically exhibit white rough rendered walls with horizontal ribbon windows and large pitched roofs and are recognised as his distinctive style by their simplicity and originality.

Broad Leys, a superb example of Voysey's design lies just south of Bowness on Windermere in the English Lake District.  According to Pevsner it is his masterpiece with extensive front terraced gardens and three distinct large curved bay windows, stretching from the ground up to the first floor, providing magnificent views over the lake.

It is where the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club is based. This is a private members club that was set up in 1925. Members of the public have access to this magnificent building when there are no formal club functions or private functions taking place.

Voysey's fame was a result of his total disregard of contemporary design at the time. He drew away from the ornate and intricate look that so many architects and designers favoured during Victorian times. He used straight lines, gentle curves and open spaces. He took something of a minimalist approach and held firm in the belief that less is more, an attitude we often come across today.The hall is a true reflection of his desire for open space.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, another influential architect of the same period concentrated his efforts around Glasgow. He is accredited for the formation of "The Glasgow Style" ; one of his most famous accomplishments being The Glasgow School of Art.

Included in his portfolio are both private residences and churches. In a similar vein to Voysey he opted for white walls and straight lines adhering to simplistic designs, which was revolutionary at the time. Many of his works are within two and a half hours of Broad Leys, which means that those interested in the architectural trail of the turn of the century can easily experience the works of both these architects.

As if that isn't enough, barely ten minutes away from Broad Leys is Blackwell, a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture by H. Baillie Scott. It has been restored and is open to the public.  

Broad Leys Country House Photo Gallery
Broad Leys Book