THE Armitt in Ambleside made its own little bit of history at the weekend as it took centre stage in a BBC documentary.

Former Dad’s Army actor Ian Lavender – best known as Private Frank Pike – was at the library and museum to front the one-off Cumbria's Dad's Army Artists programme, broadcast on BBC One on Sunday at 10.25pm.

The programme coincided with the launch of a related Hidden Paintings website, a major new arts initiative from the BBC.

In the programme, Ian discovered ‘hidden’ Lake District artworks painted by World War II evacuees from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA) who were among those evacuated from its home in South Kensington to Ambleside during the bombing of London in 1940.

Some 150 students and teachers from the RCA stayed in Ambleside and the work of many of them features in the Armitt’s Bohemians in Exile exhibition.

Included are pieces by notable artists such as Charles Mahoney, Frederick Brill, Percy Horton and Gordon Ransom.

During his Armitt visit Ian came face to face with Brill’s work The Ambleside Home Guard (1943).

The BBC show also popped into Grasmere, where Ian met well-known local artist Rebecca Heaton Cooper and called in at the Wordsworth Trust.

Armitt manager Deborah Walsh said he was charming and amusing and ‘put everyone very much at ease’ during the filming.

She continued: “He has a particular interest in the Home Guard, obviously as a result of Dad’s Army, but clearly he’s done a lot of research.

"We filmed my interview in the Bohemians exhibition. It took about an hour and a half to film what’s likely to be a couple of minutes in the programme.”