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Local History

Meeting Details

Meeting DayLast Wednesday in Month
Time9.45am. tea/coffee 10.00am. start.
LocationShakespeare Centre, Kendal
Co-ordinator(s)Liz Robson and Ruth Counsel

What we do

The Local History Group was re-started in September 2008. Initially it was quite small with about 20 members but since then it has grown like ‘Topsy’ and 114 members attended our January 2016 meeting.

The co-ordinators encourage members to research subjects that interest them and share their findings with the group. Assistance is available for putting this into a Power Point presentation and if the group member does not want to deliver the talk one of the co-ordinators will do that for him/her. It is quite rare for us to have an outside speaker as we prefer to adhere to the U3A principle of learning from each other. We are all amateurs who are enthusiastic about Local History.
We try to organise an interesting programme covering a wide variety of subjects.

Once a year, usually in June, we have an outing by coach to a place of historical interest but not necessarily ‘local’. Last year, for example, we went to the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and then to the 14th century Towneley Hall in Burnley. This year the destination will be Port Sunlight, near Liverpool, built by Levers for their factory workers in the late 19th century.

Before the meeting, tea/coffee and biscuits are available up to 9.55 a.m.

There are no meetings in August and December

Regrettably, due to the large numbers of members (in excess of 100) attending these meetings, we are unable to accept any new members. However, you can leave your contact details with one of the co-ordinators who will inform you when a place becomes available in the future.


July 2017

As ever, the Local History Group is thriving. We have an interesting programme for you this season, as follows;

27 Sep: Cornelius Nicholson, prepared by Jim Muil and delivered by Jackie Hinton.

25 Oct: The History of Penrith by Ann Quintilla.

29 Nov:The lost buildings of Kendal by Richard Pealing.

March 2017

Our group continues to offer a series of interesting and informative talks, given largely by our own membership. Our last three speakers – Richard Pealing, Ann Quintilla and Jackie Hinton – are all members and have demonstrated what a wealth of talent we have in our midst! I'm sure many more of us have a local topic they would like to share, tucked away somewhere in their heads!

26 Apr – Short talks on matters of members' interests.

31 May Cornelius Nicholson - by Jim Muil and presented by Jackie Hinton

28 Jun - Summer visit – We plan to travel to Barnard Castle in a classic coach. Once there one can choose either to visit the town itself or the Bowes Museum, built by John Bowes and his wife Josephine and opened in 1892 after a great many difficulties and set-backs. (Liz will give a short talk about Bowes during our April meeting.) Lunch can either be enjoyed courtesy of the Bowes cafe – or at another of the many in the town - or a packed lunch might be preferred. In the afternoon we will travel the short distance to Rokeby Park, the home of Sir Andrew and Lady Morritt, built by Sir Thomas Robinson in 1725, where we will be given a guided tour. St. Mary's Church, the estate church, will also be opened specially for us If the weather is kind we might even have time to enjoy a pleasant stroll in the grounds! If you are interested in this trip please contact one of us for a booking form.

We now have a waiting list to join this group; please let us know if you want your name to be added. We will be starting a new membership list in September. If you have not attended any meetings this year your name will be removed from our existing list because even the Shakespeare Centre has a maximum number that can safely be accommodated and we would like new members to have an opportunity to

November 2016

Following Ann and Jackie's decision to take a break from organising this group, Ruth and I have taken over as co-ordinators. We only hope that we can do half as well as they did.

We had a good start in the Autumn season – and a very full house – with a riveting talk by Stan Aspinal on Cecilia Strickland and her daughter. Stan really kept us on the edge of our seats as he unfolded the intriguing - and possibly scandalous - tale.

This was followed in October by a very informative talk by Adrian Lees on the Roman Road from Ambleside to Ravenglass. Adrian had certainly done a great deal of research on this topic and demonstrated that even when out walking and enjoying the countryside we can also be investigating and researching the past, just be looking around us and asking ourselves questions.

Meetings for the Spring term are as follows:

25 Jan – History of Papermaking in Cumbria - Ann Quintilla

22 Feb – Ruskin - Jackie Hinton

29 Mar – The Ague: a history of indigenous malaria in Cumbria and the north - by Ian Hodkinson

26 Apr – Members' Forum – short talks on matters of interest - by our members. (Get your thinking caps on!!)

We have no vacancies in our group at present but if you would like to add your name to the waiting list, just let us know.

August 2016

28 Sep Cecelia Strickland – Stan Aspinall (Ulverston U3A) will tell us about her marriage to her cousin, in Kendal Parish Church, after 10 years of widowhood; her life in Sizergh Castle; the scandal of her daughter’s separation from her husband and much more.

26 Oct – The Roman Road Adrian Lees will tell us more about Cumbria’s best known Roman road, High Street.

30 Nov – Kendal’s Important Buildings – Richard Pealing will identify these buildings and tell us about their history.

In March I decided that having run this group for the past 7 years it was time to hand over to someone else. I was getting ‘stale’ and it needs fresh ideas. My last task was organising the annual day trip.

This year, on 29 June, 46 members went to Port Sunlight, the village built by William Hesketh Lever for workers in his adjacent soap factory. Everyone enjoyed the outing to this interesting and beautiful village. 

In April the subject was ‘The Lakes Poets’; Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. Few people realise that Southey wrote the well-known story of ‘The Three Bears’.

Jackie Hinton talked about the History of the Sunderland Flying Boats at the May meeting and members were honoured with the presence of one of the pilots.

I was very grateful when Jackie stepped in to help run the group after Tom resigned. She also decided to resign this year. Fortunately Liz and Ruth offered to take over, so the group is in good hands. Finally, I thank you all for your support over the years.

Best wishes, Ann Quintilla

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