THE OLD BRIDGE HOUSE

The best known and most photographed building in Ambleside is the Old Bridge House. No one really knows it's origin, but the most likely suggestion is that it was some sort of summer house in the built in the grounds of the Ambleside Hall which was demolished many years ago. No one alive now remembers it, neither could the previous generation.

The main Rydal Road is a fairly recent addition, the old main road was the North Road across the river over the bridge by the Old Mill, and the land was built over to become Millans Park, or the mill lands which would then have been part of the estate.

In my memory the Bridge House was Tishy Cullingworth's cobblers shop, a small antique shop, and is now a National Trust centre. We believe that at some time in the past a family lived there life must have been very difficult with only one room downstairs and one up and an outside staircase connecting the two.

The old photograph with the trees was taken before I remember, although I do recall a small gate beside it with steps down to the river. As you can see in the later photograph it hasn't changed much since the new Rydal Road was constructed, but recently the mill across the river has been opened up, and the mill wheel installed.The mill machinery was blocked up for many years, but as children we found a way into it through a small opening. In the 90's there was a great surprise when it was "discovered". They should have asked the "oldies" we had always known it was there.