Lawson Park Library was established by the artists' duo Guestroom during the site’s extensive refurbishment in 2009 to become Grizedale Arts’ headquarters. Bespoke shelving, a central reference table, and screen-printed wallpaper reflect ideas of crossover and fluidity, based on a pattern of interacting lines and colours.

Lawson Park’s buildings and grounds are used as a professional residency base and induction point for anyone visiting and working with Grizedale Arts. The site is also used for independent research purposes including archival, literary, artistic, historical and horticultural research by a range of visiting practitioners – whether visiting in groups or as individuals.

The best way to familiarise yourself with our interests, influences, history and expertise is to visit Lawson Park and to browse the library shelves in person. When this is not possible, this website provides an opportunity to view the material included, and to read and view as much as we are able to make available online.

The books and films in Lawson Park library are grouped into broad, contingent categories that continue to evolve, as reflected in the sections below.

Books are included on the basis of the same policy that informs the Design Collection: They might relate to our projects, reference ideas that have contributed to our ethos, be intended to generate conversation or to inform and suggest avenues for future projects and research.

We also have a large collection of instructional books, including many cookery books and a selection of manuals, encyclopedias and D.I.Y guides. These cover architecture, art, gardening, craft, dress-making and medicine – all of which are included not only for their brilliance in practical advice and application to daily living at Lawson Park, but also for their capacity to demonstrate the ways in which various practices and disciplines are developing (or in fact, sometimes stagnating or vanishing).

Beyond this we receive a good number of books as gifts from colleagues, friends and strangers. Whenever relevant these are integrated - but due to limited space - only if their content to be genuinely illuminating, or vitally useful.

The library is furnished with interesting examples from the Lawson Park Collection, integrating with the bespoke table and shelving.

We are always looking for new material to include, and especially welcome suggestions for material that could further diversify and radicalise our informal syllabus. We are also interested in hearing about potential projects and collaborations with other libraries, archives and estates. If you would like to know more about the library, or suggest material you think we should include, please be in touch with us at

The library:

  1. Instigates connections and relationships hitherto unrealised for the benefit of reinvention
  2. Documents and archives the local and lost
  3. Is a useful resource for learning and unlearning
  4. Is a hybrid of local and national, pointless and purposeful
  5. Is an active working social hub
  6. Exhibits, highlights and stages activity and interests
  7. Is complex, confusing, expansive and random
  8. Causes debate, provokes compliance and revolt, and galvanises action
  9. Holds past, present and future, and passes them round a bit
  10. Is a shelter from the storm in a time of need
  11. Is a work in progress with no end but life itself