Legend has it that in the early 1500s, a violent storm in the Borrowdale area of Cumberland led to trees being uprooted and the discovery of a strange black material underneath. This material turned out to be graphite, and shepherds began using it to mark their sheep.
The factory has had various owners in its 175 year history, but became the Cumberland Pencil Company in 1916. The Lakeland children’s range was launched in 1930, followed by the Derwent brand of fine art pencils in 1938. Since then, a huge variety of artists’ materials has been developed, from traditional to highly innovative. The product range may have expanded beyond recognition but our commitment to excellence remains the same
See the world’s longest coloured pencil, made here in Keswick. Fascinating exhibits and film reveal 170 years of pencil heritage and how pencils are made today. Follow the quiz trail, learn artists’ techniques and browse world famous products in the gift shop. Free parking.