Melbecks is a small hamlet of three dwellings – High Melbecks, Low Melbecks and Melbecks Farm where we are based.

Aerial shot of Melbecks circa 1960

Melbecks as seen from the air circa 1960.

History of Melbecks

Melbecks is Grade II Listed and is, in essence, is two houses, one standing in front of the other with large attached barn. The front house is a late 18C Georgian style Cumbrian farmhouse with high ceilings, short wide doorways and 12-paned sash windows. This part of Melbecks would have been added to the original farmhouse during the late eighteenth century. The original farmhouse has a beamed ceiling, thick stone walls with deeply inset windows and probably pre-dates the Georgian addition by 150 years.

Bill Peascod – Artist & Climber

Bill originally came from the mining community on the west coast of Cumbria. He was born in 1920 near to Maryport. At the aged of 14, he followed his father down the mine. From the age of 17, Bill escaped the from the harsh realities of his working life by journeying into the Lake District. His exploration of the fells quickly led to him becoming a rock climber. In 1940 he teamed up with Bert  Beck, a local school teacher, and together they began their climbing career.

By 1950, Bill had become a lecturer in mining and as such went to Australia for two years. It was during this time that he took up painting. His abstract depiction of the mountains of the Lake District was much admired and he quickly established a national and international reputation. During a visit to Japan, he met his second wife Etsu. Bill and family returned to the Lake District in 1980, settling at Melbecks. Here Bill continued to climb and paint. Eventually, he established a small art school in one of the old cow barns.

In 1984 Bill partnered with Chris Bonington to repeat one of his early routes, Eagle Front, which was filmed by ITV. Bill died in 1985. His legacy lives on through the many paintings which are now highly sought after.