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Historic Lake District Research Facility Brought Back To Life After Devastating Floods

Stripping out the internal structures before beginning the luxurious new apartments

[A]n historic building, once a place where some of Britain’s most eponymous scientists undertook international cutting-edge freshwater research, became derelict in an ironic twist when it was damaged by Cumbria’s 2009 ‘extreme’ flood event.

Mitchell Wyke Bay, which formed part of the Freshwater Biological Association’s (FBA) research site at Far Sawrey had been used over the years for research, storage and accommodation for visiting scientists.

While the rest of the complex – including the FBA’s head office remained damage-free – Mitchell Wyke Bay was left abandoned after the disastrous and notorious floods which battered Cumbria in 2009.

But now, The FBA – a charity, which was founded in the Lake District in 1929 – has breathed new life into Mitchell Wyke Bay, transforming it into 7 holiday homes, which will help to generate income so support the work of the FBA.

Work started on the holiday-let transformation of Mitchell Wyke Bay in 2016, eight years after it was forced to close.

And together with Lake District holiday letting company Lakelovers, the FBA has opened the doors to Mitchell Wyke Bay once again as exclusive holiday homes, with the first guests having just stepped  through its doors in May 2017.

It is hoped that the 3-bedroom cottage and 6 single-bedroom apartments on the western shores of Windermere will attract FBA members, scientists and tourists visiting the Lake District.

Simon Pawley, the FBA’s project manager, is excited that the historic building is being brought back to life.

Adds Mr Pawley: “By staying here, not only do you enjoy spectacular views and ease of access to both the lake and the surrounding areas, your visit also helps to support the FBA in our mission to promote the sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems and resources, underpinned by the best available science.”

The new development has flood resilience measures in place for the building and the new annexe is 350mm above the highest recorded lake level in 2009, along with sub-floor ventilation and raised electrical sockets.

Green energy will supply the heating and hot water via the FBA’s new biomass boiler system, installed in the Pearsall building in winter 2015.

The homes will be named after illustrious scientists and former FBA staff with each home containing a photograph and information about the eponymous scientist and their contribution to freshwater knowledge.

They include High Gilson, Winnifred Frost, T.T. Macan, Winifred Pennington, W.H. Pearsall, Rosemary Lowe-McConnell and John and Hilda Lund.

Paul Liddell, managing director of Lakelovers, which will be letting the homes, says it is an exciting and unique development for the Lake District.

“Holiday homes on the shores of Windermere are very few and far between and Lakelovers is delighted to be a part of this exciting opportunity to showcase quality and contemporary lakeside exclusives homes.

“The uniqueness of this select development has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It has a unique view of the lake as it is the only holiday accommodation with a north facing view along this magnificent section of the lake.

“We have welcomed our first guests this month and we think they will be extremely impressed with Mitchell Wyke Bay.”

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