'Anchorhold 1' is a hollow timber structure of about 4m x 4m x 4m. Although set in the Woodland Garden that is part of the wardens' private garden, it is visible from many vantage points around the site. It was originally designed and built to host a collectively-organised artists’ programme, as part of a wider project with Hai Art in Hailuoto, Finland. ‘Anchorhold 1’ was rebuilt at Lawson Park in 2015.
The name ‘Anchorhold’ refers to the history of Anchorites, the term for religious hermits or living saints who were particularly widespread during the early Medieval period. Anchorites would withdraw from secular society in order to lead an intensely prayer-focused life, and were bound to a single space of enclosure; typically an individual cell, attached to a religious building. In many cases they were sustained by the church and community of which they were a part, and provided counsel to members of the public and wider community.
Anchorhold was built in homage to these cells, and to the early traditions of contemplation and counsel. The original project was a collaboration led by Grizedale Arts with Charlie Sutherland of Sutherland Hussey Harris architects, artist Marcus Coates and the Finnish host organisation Hai Art, built in collaboration with local artists and the Hailuoto community. The structure has since hosted a wide range of uses; as a space for holding one to one support sessions (from primal scream therapy to crit sessions with artists), as an apple store installed in 'The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind' at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, and as a study space for individual writing practices.
Prior to returning to Lawson Park, it had been included in the exhibition 'The Politics of Craft: After Ford 151' at the Glasgow School of Art in the same year. A newly designed wooden stepped pathway was built by in 2017, and the structure is currently used an individual study space, overlooking Coniston Water through a lateral squint window.