To hook a big carp is like being jerked out of bed by a grapnel from an aeroplane. (Rod and Line)
... a thought for today ...

Introducing Arthur Ransome…

Arthur Ransome, aged 5

“Mine has not been a life of consistent effort towards a single end. It seems to me that I have been like a shuttlecock bandied to and fro by lunatics. I seem to have lived not one life, but snatches of a dozen different lives…”
The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome

Arthur Ransome wrote Swallows and Amazons and eleven other classic novels. Together they made him the leading children’s writer of his day, and one of the foremost of the 20th century.  But there is far more to Ransome than Swallows and Amazons and its sequels alone.

In total he wrote over forty books, contributed to many more and wrote extensively for newspapers, including the Manchester Guardian. His subjects reflected his interests and his life. As a young man he was a romantic Bohemian, fascinated by the art of story-telling. Folklore took him to Russia in 1913. Once there, war and revolution turned him from romantic fiction to war reporting, political journalism and amateur diplomacy. Among many other adventures Ransome played chess with Lenin, discussed Shakespeare with Karl Radek, married Trotsky’s secretary and helped Estonia gain independence.

Perhaps it is no surprise he attracted both MI5 and MI6’s attention. Or that he once wrote I seem to have lived not one life, but snatches from a dozen different lives.

A keen fisherman and sailor, with a life-long love for the Lake District, Ransome was above all an accomplished and professional writer. In addition to children’s literature, he made significant contributions to sailing and angling writing, literary criticism and political journalism.

…and welcome to the Arthur Ransome Trust

The Arthur Ransome Trust (ART) exists to help people discover, explore and enjoy Arthur Ransome’s fascinating life and works. We’re working to create a Ransome Centre in the Lake District via exhibitions, events, educational materials and publishing.

Scroll down to see why that matters, and how you can help to create Ransome’s legacy in the 21st Century.

Swallows & Amazons Changes Lives

The Swallows and Amazons’ flags
Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons novels have inspired generations. They ignited Dame Ellen MacArthur’s desire to sail and led David Bellamy to champion conservation. For Norman Willis they were a source of sanity whilst General Secretary of the TUC. In Maurice Rowlandson they inspired a lifetime’s service organising youth sailing cruises on the Norfolk Broads. By the turn of the century over 30,000 had taken part and the cruises continue to this day.

They are just a handful of the many thousands for whom the Swallows and Amazons have been enduring mentors and friends.

Together, Arthur Ransome’s novels changed British children’s literature, affected a whole generation’s view of holidays, helped to create the national image of the English Lake District, and added Arthur Ransome’s name to the select list of classic British children’s authors,” (Professor Peter Hunt, Approaching Arthur Ransome, 1992).

A Legacy for the 21st Century…

Captain Nancy gives instructions
Winter Holiday

Arthur Ransome was born in the 19th Century. His Swallows & Amazons novels are set in the 20th – a world without air travel, the internet, or mobile phones.

Yet they remain as relevant today as they were when first written. His insights into childhood imagination and play are timeless. So are his attitudes to adventure, which provide a refreshing challenge to excessive risk-aversion. His characters’ emotions, aspirations and failings remain real. They remind us all of the value of common sense, co-operation, hard work, the acquisition of skills and mutual respect as they combat adversity and fulfil their goals. Their attitudes are surprisingly modern, democratic and meritocratic.

As Peter Hunt observed: Ransome presents not so much an ideal world in which children can play, but a world of ideals to which his readers can aspire: a world of equality and respect.

…a Home to Create…

The Arthur Ransome Trust is a small charity with a big vision: to help people discover both the fiction and reality of Arthur Ransome’s fascinating life.

“No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my mind’s eye, could see the beloved skyline of great hills beneath it.”
Author’s note for Swallows and Amazons, 1958

Our major goal is to create a dedicated Arthur Ransome Centre in the Lake District, Ransome’s spiritual home. His novels touched many subjects – not only sailing, camping and fishing, but also geology, astronomy, conservation, exploration, social history, folklore, farming, bird protection and much more. They have already been shaping lives and careers for over 80 years, and we believe that a dedicated centre will help them continue to inspire generations to come.

…and Ransome’s Future Today

‘All four of them had been filled at once with the same idea. It was not just an island. It was the island, waiting for them. It was their island. With an island like that within sight, who could be content to live on the mainland and sleep in a bed at night?’
Swallows and Amazons

We know that ART’s potential will only be fulfilled though a vibrant Ransome Centre. But this hasn’t discouraged us from making a start on a number of worthwhile projects, including:

  • Republishing out-of-print Ransome works;
  • Ransome-related exhibitions, displays and events; and
  • A free-to-use Swallows and Amazons explorer app.

Together with our other projects, these are stepping stones on our journey towards a permanent Ransome home.

Adventure Ahead…

‘The prospect before them was too vast for chatter’
Swallows and Amazons

Any expedition can feel that way. Just as any worthwhile project needs planning, preparation, people and provisions.

Only people can provide imagination, energy, enthusiasm, determination and encouragement.  As a small charity we do not have paid employees, relying instead entirely on volunteers. People who believe that helping others discover and enjoy Ransome is a worthwhile goal.

People make a difference. Will you?

…Be a PART of ART…

Get involved – and make a difference

“No, no, no,” said her mother. “You can’t do that. Send out your pioneers and find the right place.”
Pigeon Post

By joining PART – Pioneers of ART – you can help to create Ransome’s legacy. Your support will encourage us to plan and develop ART’s projects and your generosity will help us to fund them. And as a pioneer you may have other opportunities to help, for example discussing ideas, helping with a project or volunteering at an event.

Joining is straight-forward. It costs £25.00 per annum or £3.00 per month. You are of course very welcome to give more, if you wish.

We will send you a (very) simple Welcome Pack when you join. But the main thing we will send are our heartfelt thanks for your support.


…Every Heave Helps

With provisions, pemmican and biscuits

Two crabs sharing a ship’s biscuit
Peter Duck

Yet people alone are not quite enough. As John observed:

‘…all expeditions need provisions, pemmican and especially biscuits.’ (Swallows and Amazons)

Volunteers’ goodwill greatly reduces our costs. But it can’t remove them completely. We too need provisions, pemmican and biscuits, for example to maintain and develop the Swallows and Amazons App, to prepare displays and artwork for future exhibitions, such as Swallows and Amazons, as Seen from Abroad, and to continue planning for a future Ransome Centre.

Can you help us to provision our projects today? Every biscuit makes a difference.

Donate Now

Grab a Chance

“Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might-have-been” (We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea)

Whilst you are here, why not grab this chance to stock – or restock – your Ransome bookshelf with:

  • The twelve Swallows and Amazons novels;
  • Our Buried Treasure publications;
  • Other books by or about about Arthur Ransome; and
  • Swallows and Amazons greeting cards and postcards.

Ransome Today

I am... you need not believe it unless you want to but it's perfectly true... writing a romance. (Letter to Dora Collingwood, February, 1915)
... please keep exploring! ...