FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

History

1904 | Blencathra was originally a ‘Sanatorium’ and was opened in October 1904 for 20 patients. The Cumberland branch of the “National Association for the Prevention of Consumption and other forms of Tuberculosis” selected Blencathra, which was reported as having perfect drainage, ample shelter, sufficiently isolated from any town or village and having a view over “one of the most striking bits of scenery in the Lake District”. The rainfall was sufficient to ensure the removal of dust from the air and to give a good supply of some of the purest water in England. The site was also found to be free from “stagnant moisture”, which ensured a low humidity; and even today although the clouds may lie on the mountains above, or mist in the valley below, the site itself is very rarely obscured. As we know today it was the discovery of streptomycin which effectively dealt with tuberculosis and replaced the need for sanatoria. However, those original site location factors were ideal for providing the environmental education base which we enjoy today.

Dr William Goodchild and his staff at the Blencathra Sanatorium in the 1920’s

1993 | The Blencathra Centre has a national reputation for fieldwork and was established by the Field Studies Council in 1993 in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority. The remainder of the site utilises the original farm and Sanatorium buildings for teaching, accommodation and ancillary use.

2013 | The site was purchased in 2013 by the FSC and substantial improvement has been made to the building infrastructure as part of the renewable energy project, including a comprehensive district heating system, door and window retrofit and insulation. These unique buildings provide field courses for schools and universities at all levels as well as courses for individuals and families. It is primarily a residential Centre with increasing numbers of day visitors partly as a result of a close working relationship with the YHA.