“Swallows and Amazons for ever!” Welcome to the ART Website
Swallows and Amazons For Ever!
Welcome to the Arthur Ransome Trust (ART). ART exists to help people discover, re-discover, appreciate and enjoy the life and works of Arthur Ransome (1884 – 1967), author of Swallows and Amazons. The Trust is working to establish a permanent Arthur Ransome Centre in the southern Lake District. On the way to achieving this we are also developing a range of other projects, including exhibitions, displays and resource materials.
Please use the selected links on the right, or the main links above, to find out more about Arthur Ransome and the Trust’s activities and plans.
We hope you enjoy your visit to our website.
Ransome is today best known as the author of the twelve Swallows and Amazons novels, five of which are set on a fictional “lake in the north”, modeled on Coniston Water and Windermere, in the English Lake District. It has been said that the Swallows and Amazons novels “changed British children’s literature, affected a whole generation’s view of holidays, helped to create the national image of the English Lake District, and added Arthur Ransome’s name to the select list of classic British children’s authors,” (Peter Hunt, Approaching Arthur Ransome, 1992).
These are major achievements in themselves. But there was far more to Arthur Ransome’s life and works than the Swallows and Amazons series alone.
In total Ransome published over 40 books and contributed to many more. He also wrote over 1,500 articles for newspapers and magazines on a range of subjects reflecting his varied careers and interests as an author, illustrator, story teller, critic, essayist, editor, war reporter, political journalist, amateur diplomat, suspected spy, bohemian, romantic, sailor and angler. Perhaps it is no surprise that he once wrote he had “lived not one life but snatches from a dozen different lives”.
We believe that many of those lives are reflected in and help to explain his works, just as his dedication to writing helps us to understand his life. The Arthur Ransome Trust aims to explore the links between Ransome’s works and his “dozen different lives” in ways that are interesting and accessible to all.
The Lake District
Arthur Ransome moved house many times. During his life he occupied twenty-five homes in Britain alone. He had close attachments to his birthplace, Leeds, to the places he knew in his Bohemian youth in London, and to the East Coast around the River Orwell. But Ransome was most deeply attached to the southern Lake District around Windermere and Coniston Water.
Not counting many holidays and time at school in Windermere, he lived in this area for some twenty-three years in four different properties. We see this area as the logical place to establish a permanent Arthur Ransome Centre.
An Arthur Ransome Centre
Our long-term goal is to establish a permanent public “Ransome Home”, to serve both as a centre for learning about Arthur Ransome and as a memorial to him in his spiritual home.
We envisage such a centre offering an exhibition space. Depending on its facilities, location and the Trust’s resources, it could also serve as a base at which, or from which, a range of Ransome-themed projects can be managed and run. These may include mobile exhibitions, public lectures, seminars and practical activities.
We recognize that this is an ambitious and long-term goal. We are, therefore, also working towards a range of shorter term projects, acting where appropriate with other interested organisations such as museums and literary groups.