Outside the Ruskin Museum
The John Usher Miniature Village
The John Usher Miniature Village is not the only interesting feature outside the Ruskin Museum. There is of course the specially built dry-stone wall, which is discussed on another page. The building itself is also worth close inspection. As well as the obvious use of slate, copper has been used for the gutters and downspouts as a link to Coniston's most important industry of the past, the extensive coppermines of Coniston, Tilberthwaite, Seathwaite and Greenburn. Over time, the copper will develop shades of green and blue - secondary mineralisation. This is a strong feature of the disused mines today.
Artist & Blacksmith Chris Brammall
The artist/blacksmith Chris Brammall, who has worked on a number of projects inside the museum, produced two metal gates and a bollard for us with a farming theme. Tremendous skill has been used to produce a Herdwick ram's head from a single piece of metal. At the other end of the gates, there is a shepherd's crook. These gates need to be seen to appreciate the workmanship involved.
Halifax Bomber LL505
On a sadder note, we have a V12 Merlin aero-engine from a Halifax bomber. On October 22nd 1944 at 20:15 hrs precisely, Halifax bomber LL505 crashed into Great Carrs at 2,300 feet and burst into flames. Eight servicemen lost their lives. Seven were Canadian and one British.
In June 1997 a Chinook helicopter made its way to the crash site with the intention of recovering two engines; one for the museum at RAF Wyton and the other for the Ruskin Museum. A third engine stays in situ as a mark of respect. Although having suffered years of Lakeland's harsh weather and crash damage, the engine is in remarkably good condition. Newspaper cuttings are encapsulated behind the engine telling of the sad accident and later recovery.
Next to the Reception entrance you may notice the large 'CONISTON' sign. This sign, which we are very proud of, is from the old Coniston Railway Station. The railway came to Coniston in 1859 as a means of transporting the copper ore for smelting and also for carrying slate. As with many branch lines, the railway was axed in 1962. The sign (and a railway seat in the museum) were kindly donated by Major John Hext of Holywath.
Dry Stone Wall
Outside the Museum (next to the John Usher miniature village) is a fine example of a traditional Lakeland Dry Stone Wall. These walls can be seen all over the Lake District. This one was specially built as a "show wall" to illustrate the different techniques and features of a Cumbrian Wall. It was built by Andrew Loudon, a master waller and regular competitor in walling competitions. He lives at Bowmanstead, Coniston.