THE COOPERHUS AND THE LOG CABIN, AMBLESIDE
After a change in fortune through the commission from A&C Black, Alfred decided to build a studio in Coniston where he could exhibit his work. In 1905 he imported a Norwegian log cabin- a kit house which was assembled plank by plank and located behind The Crown Hotel. With its carved dragon heads and distinctive red roof the new studio soon drew the attention of the local tourists.
“If Alfred were to apply for planning permission today to import and erect a distinctively Norwegian red-painted wooden log cabin in the middle of Coniston, the opposition would cause furore. Planners would refuse it on the grounds that it would look out of character surrounded by Westmorland green slate. But fortunately for Alfred, planning committees had yet to be invented and his cabin was ordered, from Jakob of Trondheim.”
“Alfred Heaton Cooper, Painter of Landscape”
By Jane Renouf
In 1906 on their annual visit to Norway, a similar cabin was erected in the village of Balholm for the Heaton Cooper family. This time they stayed in Norway for fifteen months. The cabin is still called the Cooperhus, though it now acts as the annexe to a local hotel. Alfred, William and Julian have work displayed in the Cooperhus.
As the family increased in size, Alfred noticed that Coniston was not a hotspot of tourism when compared to Ambleside. This was due to many tourists travelling to the Lakes on the train, stopping at Windermere and working their way north along the east side of the lake. Savvy to this Alfred decided to move his family and studio to Ambleside. He transported his Norwegian log cabin from Coniston to a piece of land he rented on the lake side of Wansfell road. It was dismantled and carted over to the spot where it stands now.