NEWS: Charlotte Mason - "Downsized"

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 Michael Ryan 19 Mar 2008
News just in is that Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside once part of St Martin's College and now part of the newly created University of Cumbria, is to be "downsized", some of the buildings sold and the staff dispersed to other campuses.

Charlotte Mason College, originally known as the House of Educat...

Read more at h
 Jon Wickham 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - Hell of a shame, I know a lot of people who have gotten so much out of the outdoor ed courses over the years, including current students. Is the course being moved up to the Newton Rigg campus?
 Michael Ryan 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Jon Wickham:

Trying to get more details.
In reply to Mick Ryan -
"and when asked the reasons for the closures said that all they were told was that it was for "economic reasons"
That's code for: luxury flats set in a charming period building, with commanding views of the Lake districts finest scenery, complete with off road parking.
In reply to Mick Ryan -
> (In reply to Jon Wickham)
> Trying to get more details.

The asset will be worth millions, that will be the reason.

 BelleVedere 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

Not great news for ambleside - the students really add to the feel of the place (and some of those outdoor ed blokes felt alright too...)
 Doug 19 Mar 2008
In reply to es: & no more Charlottes' harlots (who coined that phrase, I remember it from long ago, maybe a Pete Livesey article)
 JMarkW 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Doug:

Great shame. I grew up in Ambleside and really benefited from the outdoor education people helping to run stuff. I did a lot of canoeing using CM kit and recources with the 4A's.

I haven't been in the Golden Rule for years, but they also brought a good atmosphere there. I was a cabbage munching yokel at the time.

However, they did build a load of new accomadation on a field behind my old house a few years ago, which i guess they got planning for since it was to be used for students. Bet its worth shed loads now and would never have got planning if it was just to sold as holiday flats. In fact I'd like to see it knocked down.

 BelleVedere 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Doug:
> (In reply to es) & no more Charlottes' harlots

I don't think i ever heard that - To us the CM girls were all primary school teacher Christian union types - looks like it wasn't the case....
 BelleVedere 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

On a more serious note - I worked and played alongside a number of CM students and they do fit in to the local community pretty well, not to mention the financil benefit they bring to the local community.

Also doesn't CM wall have a bit of reputation for building some of the lakes strongest fingers?
 butterworthtom 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -
This is pretty devestating news for Ambleside. It is probably going to have some big impacts on the local businesses. Somewhere like Ambleside needs all the young people it can get before it is over run by old ladies!
Do you reckon they will keep the climbing wall intact?
 butterworthtom 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -
The link to Tim Farron's web page doesn't work by the way.
 Andy Say 19 Mar 2008
In reply to es:
I ran a short talk there a while ago and suggested that it was really nice to be able to walk through the front door in daylight rather than climbing in through a window at midnight. I felt a wave of empathy from the assempled in the room.
In reply to Mick Ryan -

This is really bad news for Ambleside. The college has contributed hugely to the local community for as long as I can remember, and not just in Ambleside but the whole of the South Lakes.

A great many students have settled in the area after they had finished their courses, built business, bought houses, married other locals, had kids, and generally helped to make the place a massively better place to live than it otherwise would have been without them.

I have serious issues with the management of a National Park as it is, which has serious financial problems of its own, but I can foresee a massive long running debate ensuing over what happens next at the college site with huge costs associated with fighting planning appeals, consultants and the like.

If the property does go on the open market it will certainly fetch a lot less than it would have 12 months ago. Development costs have gone up and resale values are flat at best.
 ali_mac 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Andy Hyslop -

and that's not to mention the contribution the student teachers made to the community with their teacher training. The bus dropping the students off at the far flung schools all over Cumbria used to leave Charlotte Masons at 06:15. To venture into the worse of the winter and spring weather.

Charlotte's Harlots will be sadly missed... there's many who appreciated the good source of... umm hummm, fun.
 Carr 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Jon Wickham: in the email we got yesterday (i'm a final year outdoor studies student) it said they were basically phasing the outdoor course over newton rigg and the teaching course to carlisle. or at least that was the impression i got reading it.
shame really. also seems kinda pointless from that way as i often see the newton rigg minibus around the area at places where we could quite easily walk to from ambleside.
 Al Evans 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - Oh no! A significant part of my youth was spent with the delights of Charlottes Harlots.
 Henry Iddon 19 Mar 2008
In reply to butterworthtom:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan -
> The link to Tim Farron's web page doesn't work by the way.

Linked ok to me.
 marsbar 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - My father will be upset at the demise of the Charlotte Mason College for Young Ladies in Training.

Its all money money money....
 sutty 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

Oh dear, old ladies in sheltered accommodation will not like hairy arsed climbers climbing in their bedroom windows either.

Another sop to the great god mammon, but doubt Newton Rigg will see things improve that much.

 sjbutterworth 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

Very sad news indeed for Ambleside and the surrounding area, and of course for all the staff and students there. A decision made by beancounters no doubt ("price of everything, value of nothing" etc).

The heart of the lakes continues to be ripped out, and replaced by meaningless fluff and frills and tw*ts with city bonuses for despoiling our economy.

They are closing our hospital (Westmorland General) and undermining our health services, they are closing our colleges and schools, they are closing our police stations and now our post offices. They are raising our taxes. The New Labour experiment has been an utter disaster that is beginning to seriously unravel.

What is happening; I don't understand why, it makes no sense except a short term money grab with no eye to community or society. I feel so angry about this.
 Skyfall 19 Mar 2008
In reply to Andy Hyslop -

> If the property does go on the open market it will certainly fetch a lot less than it would have 12 months ago. Development costs have gone up and resale values are flat at best.

Agreed - I advise a lot of property developers and this would not be a god time to be selling.

Suspect Rushby would have some views...
 Skyfall 19 Mar 2008
More to the point, this seems to be ripping part of the guts out of a local community which needs to be maintained, v bad news.

Unfortunately though, I have never experienced the Charlotte's Harlots, erm, experience..
 ellpeecee 20 Mar 2008
Again as a current student at CM and member of the Charlotte Mason Montaineering Club this is a complete outrage!
We have spent the year lobying the university for a response to improve our facilities here, and this is how they repay us, by telling us that were going to be moved and all exisitng buildings sold off.
Nice to see that the university values its Ambleside students each paying £3000 each per year to be tought here alone, not including cost of living and the cheap labour we provide to local buisnesses.
Interesting to see how ambleside will cope in the off season in 10yrs time or so when its too cold for the regatta wearing troupers to parade around!

Ask any student here, forst year or final year, each feel like a part of them has died!

On another point, were in a consultation period (apparently) till the 21st April, as sch there is a meeting planned for 5pm today (20th march) at the campus in the Percival Lecture Thearter all are welcome to voice their opinions regarding the matter and to offer any ideas on how we should procede!


PS sorry re: spelling etc, just got back from boosting the local economy by plowing my student loan into the local pubs!
 Al Evans 20 Mar 2008
In reply to sutty: Hmmmm! I always a certain well known climber being suprised when all the ladeeeze started calling him 'Bumbiter Dave', when he asked. Why?
" Well, we do have communal showers dontchya know"
 biscuit 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

My wife is a lecturer at the newly formed University of Cumbria. With the name change there has been an enormous change of focus and attitude from the top management.

It would appear they see the future of the Uni at Carlisle. They have other campuses at Lancaster ( which has a rather well known uni very close by ), Newton Rigg, Carlisle and Tower Hamlets. Lancaster has direct competition from the other uni, Tower Hamlets is a teaching outpost in London and Newton Rigg is to become the new outdoor ed place. Ambleside is expensive to run and maintain in comparison and the money gained from the sell off will ( i am assuming ) go into developing carlisle campus. Where is the nearest University competition there ? For years their HQ has been at Lancaster but it is soon to move to Carlisle.

The main body of students used to be teachers and nurses and that is what S.Martin's was known for. However they now feel they have to appeal to everyone i.e. jack of all trades rather than master of a couple.

Should a university be responsible for a local economy or in these days of lack of funding can we blame them for seeking economies of scale and cashing in on their assets ? The plan is for this to take place over the next 5 years so Ambleside will have time to adapt. Should they give up their plans to grow and become profitable to keep some pubs and shops going ?

A lot of what i have said is what my wife has told me and is from her discussions with colleauges so don't take it as the whole truth.

Having said that the first she knew of it was when i showed her the news on here last night. She rang her friend who works there who had only been told yesterday afternoon. She has just sold her house to move to Ambleside - bad timing i guess !
adamgill 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

The outdoor studies course will be merged with that of newton rigg in penrith. The teachers will be filtered to lancaster and carlisle. They will be keeping the main campus building at scale how for postgrad courses and conference facilities. We have been told that the halls of residence will be sold for affordable housing, which it has to be said is the only good thing that will come out of this.
The problem is that the people who have made this decision have their heads buried in account books, and have not looked at other important factors, like the fact that people all over the world study Colin Mortlock's work, and the college is known for its outdoor studies course all over. The fact is that Penrith, whilst in a nice spot just isn't in the same league when it comes to access to the lake, the fells and Peggy's bakery. Local businesses will suffer, not only from loss of revenue but also from serious staff shortages.
 tomhull 20 Mar 2008
im devestated. absolutely gutted! the amount of work and passion the staff of ambleside campus have put in over the years..... i cant believe it.
 biscuit 20 Mar 2008
In reply to adamgill:
Local businesses will suffer, not only from loss of revenue but also from serious staff shortages.

I agree there is a serious shortage of people willing to work for minimum wage in the lake district - apart from all the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Poles and Czechs of course !

The pubs will certainly suffer though, no denying that one.
 peas65 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

Its sad to see another group of young people being pushed out of the lakes, all my friends have left in search of work and to be honest i will probably have to do the same too soon. The lakes has no industry and no well paid jobs, no hospital soon and the population age is rising quickly. No-one seems to mind as the councils pockets are lined with second home owners cash.
I love the lakes but couldnt afford to buy a house or settle here unless my parents snuffed it which to be honest isnt something i want to happen.
Growing up in Kendal is boring and there is nothing for young people to do (ones who cant drive). Its all very sad this.........
 RBK 20 Mar 2008
In reply to peas65:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan -

> Growing up in Kendal is boring and there is nothing for young people to do (ones who cant drive). Its all very sad this.........

Kendal is the centre of the universe surely! I wish I'd grown up here instead of the wastelands of the south. Sad news about the college but at least they're talking about affordable housing to replace it.
 Henry Iddon 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

Reply from an email I sent Tim Farron MP via the above link:

Dear Henry

Thank you very much for your email with regard to the early alert of the threat to the future of the Ambleside campus for undergraduate courses.

I am grateful to you for having given me such early warning of the discussions that must be taking place. Whilst I am supportive of the University developing its postgraduate and conference work at the Ambleside campus and I wish them well in that, the removal of hundreds of undergraduates and, therefore, of many well paid jobs from Ambleside will be a blow to the economic and cultural life of the village. I agree 100% with you, having worked at Ambleside campus myself in the past and I will work hard to persuade the University to change its mind on this. We are very proud that we now have a university of Cumbria. It would be a crying shame if - on the undergraduate front - it became essentially a university of North Cumbria.

I shall be attending tonight’s meeting to support you.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

 Michael Ryan 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Henry Iddon:

MORE: Reproduced with permission

Let me quickly introduce myself, my name is Luke Connolly and I'm a 3rd
year Outdoor Studies student at Ambleside.

Having just read your news piece regarding the planned closure of our
campus I felt the need to contact you to help aid your research.

To put it bluntly, the students here both past and present are
completely disheartened that the university has taken such decisions and the
general consensus between everyone here is that we feel that the
university is no longer interested in providing an academic provision and is
much more interested in increasing its self within a corporate entity.

The students along with staff were first made aware of this firstly
through a meeting held on Tuesday 18th March with all the heads of
department on campus and later through a global email sent to all students and
staff members at our campus.

The basis of the email outlined that:

The University of Cumbria's Ambleside campus could transform into a
high quality postgraduate (PG) and specialist short course facility if new
estates proposals go ahead.

As well as providing a first class post graduate facility the proposals
include the creation of new state of the art conference facilities,
high quality student and delegate residential accommodation and provide
the opportunity for residential or leisure development to benefit the
local community.

The proposed areas identified for development are as follows:

1. Main campus to be developed into a high quality facility for PG and
specialist provision

2. Phased transfer of outdoor studies provision to Newton Rigg starting
20/11/12 and ending 2013/14

3. Phased transfer over three years of teacher education. Two-thirds of
teacher education to Carlisle and one-third to Lancaster from 20/12/13

4. Develop excellent conference facilities building on the outstanding
geographic location

5. Develop high quality student and delegate residential accommodation

6. Sell Kelsick, Hill Top and off campus halls of residence from 2015
for residential or leisure as part of a planned asset disposal
programme. The revenue from these asset sales will be used to augment the
funding solution to the University's estate programmes.

Hope this is of some major use to you. The university has now started
its consultation stage with both staff and students but again there
isn't much we feel we can do as the university has basically outlined the
end for us.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you require any further

Many Thanks

Luke Connolly
Disgruntled 3rd year Outdoor Studies Student
Ambleside Campus - University of Cumbria
 biscuit 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

My wife had a meeting today at Carlisle and it looks like the Carlisle campus is to be moved also to a more central location. New build as well by the sounds of it so it'll be pretty expensive.

The sale of Ambleside assets will go some way to funding it i guess.

I guess the only bright side is the fact they are talking about things happening in 4 - 7 years time which may give people time to adapt.
 Michael Ryan 20 Mar 2008
In reply to biscuit:

From University of Cumbria "Corporate Communications & PR Manager"

As content explains these are planning assumptions that need to be made to be included in our business case which will later be submitted to the NWDA and Central Treasury. The planning assumptions were approved by the University Board at the end of last week so this was the first
opportunity to engage with staff about the proposals. As we have number of campuses across a huge geographical area we can't address all staff and students at the same time however Ambleside staff were the first group to receive the presentation.

These proposals are at early stages of development and a lot of work still needs to be done. We will engage with staff and the local community throughout this process. Please also note that if planning assumptions go ahead the University is committed to leaving a footprint of outdoor studies provision at Ambleside given its excellent location for such activity.

 Lemony 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - You might want to change your headline to something less alarmist then.
 Michael Ryan 20 Mar 2008
In reply to Lemony:

Alec Ham 23 Mar 2008
I'm a current student on the Outdoor Studies course at Ambleside. We're all in uproar about the announcement and so are the lecturers. The decision is purely financial, the college must be sitting on £20 million in terms of accomodation their going to sell off. And they'll probably get rid of "the box" climbing wall. I've seen many a famous lakes climber in there. Its a freekin loss to the Lake District
 ellpeecee 25 Mar 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan -

As part of our campaign to get the university to re-think its plans about the Ambleside Campus we (The Students) have set up an online petition.
It is available at

We would very much appriciate it if you would sign it to help us fight for our cause.

Luke C (Disgruntled 3rd yr Outdoor Studies!)

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