Heathwaite Mission: A Brief History
Windermere was once made up of three small hamlets called Birthwaite, Applethwaite and Heathwaite. The word 'thwaite' means a clearing in some trees. When the railway at Applethwaite arrived in 1857 bringing many wealthy mill owners from Lancashire, it was decided that visiting people to the area would recognise the location more if this small hamlet was renamed after the Lake (Windermere) so the three hamlets were renamed, and took on the "new" identity of Windermere.
The earlier names, however, are even today clearly maintained in the area, and so when a local Church of England minister decided to embark on the venture of starting a mission hall in the area, he chose the more traditional name of Heathwaite over the comparatively "trendy" new name of Windermere (which was really reserved for the tourists!)
Aside from this, we have been able to find out little about the history and development of the Heathwaite Mission. It was started in 1901, and there has been a continual body of Christian worshippers at the building ever since, except for a very brief period at the turn of the millennium when the very small congregation decamped down the road for a few months.
The building was owned by the Heathwaite mission trustees until 2001, when the building was very graciously offered to the trustees of Windermere community Church at a price that was affordable to a small body of believers. The Heathwaite trustees wanted the Christian witness in the area to continue, and so refused more lucrative offers in order to safeguard this vision. We, as Windermere Community Church, are very thankful for their faithfulness, and for God's provision of this wonderful facility.
If you have any more information regarding the history of the building, area, or mission in general, please let us know. We would be delighted to be able to update this page!