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CFA Voysey (title in Voysey typeface)

Iconic design by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey FRIBA RDI

With its stunning location overlooking Windermere in the Lake District World Heritage Site, Broad Leys is a lasting legacy for Voysey.  It would have been radical and revolutionary in design, very different to the typical Victorian villa.  Ground breaking!

Broad Leys on Windermere

Broad Leys on Windermere by C.F.A Voysey

The building work was done by George Pattinson, coming from a long established firm of local builders.  The house was completed in 1899.

Voysey’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in his near-daily letters to Pattinson.  This task was no doubt made easier by the fact that Voysey was also building the nearby house, Moor Crag, at the same time.

C.F.A. Voysey architect perspective of Broad Leys

C.F.A. Voysey architect perspective of Broad Leys

The lodge at the entrance gates was built in 1899 for the staff and remains in the ownership of WMBRC.  It was initially planned to incorporate a stable block and coach house but this was abandoned.

Broad Leys has three reception rooms: the Hall, the Drawing Room [now the bar] and the Dining Room.  There are now six public bedrooms, three with en-suite bathrooms.  Although Voysey planned the outline of the gardens, they were most likely designed by the great local Arts and Crafts garden designer, Thomas Mawson, who also designed gardens at Langdale Chase, Holehird, Brockhole and Blackwell.

Voysey was very particular about his buildings; he designed and did all the drawings himself and managed every detail of the construction without need for a site manager.  Voysey also very much wanted to use locally sourced material and use local craftsmen, such as Arthur Simpson of Kendal, who did the wonderful wood carving you can see all around the house.

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941)

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941)

At Broad Leys, Voysey incorporated many of his typical design features such as the double height curved bay window at the front of the property overlooking the lake, the steeply pitched overhanging roof, and vernacular Cumbrian elements such as the chimney stacks and the white rough cast walls.  A veranda was built onto the south wall of the building which has since been enclosed.  The entrance porch at the back is low and wide; its fine oak door with shaped hinges leading to the Hall.

Bob, Capt Hastings & Hercule Poirot arrive at Broad Leys

Bob, Capt Hastings & Hercule Poirot arrive at Broad Leys

Broad Leys has been home to WMBRC since 1950 which has meant that the house remains largely unchanged, and much of Voysey’s original design, fixtures and fittings can be seen all around us today.


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