Ambleside museum becomes UK's largest mountaineering library

The Westmorland Gazette: Alan Hinkes is the special guest at the grand opening Alan Hinkes is the special guest at the grand opening

The biggest and best collection of fell and rock climbing literature in the UK has come to Ambleside.


The Armitt Museum received 2,000 books documenting the history of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club from Lancaster University.


Inside the shipment were a few surprise items of real historical value.
Deborah Walsh, curator of the museum, discovered a series of glass lantern slide show reels.


Amazingly, they document the preparation for the 1921 expedition to Everest and the first ever use of oxygen in climbing.


They will be projected onto the walls of the museum when the collection officially opens to the public on Friday.


She also unearthed a book written by a one armed sea captain in 1792.
Captain Budworth’s book ‘A Fortnight’s Rambles in the Lakes’ is the first codified example of somebody walking for pleasure.

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The grand opening of the new library will take place on Friday, April 6, during a visit by special guest Alan Hinkes - the only Briton to climb all 14 of the world’s highest mountains.


Deborah, originally from Kendal, said: “It is of great satisfaction to both the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and the Armitt Museum and Library that the most significant collection of mountaineering books in the country has come together in the heart of the Lakes and is now accessible to all.


“I’m still finding out how rare some of the items are. It’s brilliant to have Alan here too.”


The Armitt already boasts the largest collection of Kurt Schwitters paintings outside of the Tate and 450 works by Beatrix Potter.


For more information on the collection visit www.armitt.com.

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