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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)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.


August 2018

In April we had Jackie Hinton’s talk on The Border Conflict. Exciting times! Well brought to life.
Then in May we learnt from Ann how Jonathan Dodgson Carr established the biscuit factory in Carlisle which bears his name.
In June, Kathy Webster treated us to a talk on some Cumbrian products and the founding, 200 years ago, of the Westmorland Gazette.

Next term’s talks are:

26 Sep – The Families of Holker Hall – Janet Smith

31 Oct – A Crying Game – Richard Mathews

28 Nov – The History of the Lancaster Canal – Peter Jones

No meeting in December.

Ruth urgently needs volunteers to join the co-ordinating group. Please contact her if you could help run this successful group.


May 2018

We rounded off 2017 with Richard pealing’s talk on Kendal’s Lost Buildings, illustrated with old photos (naturally) and maps. This talk showed us what a pity it is that these buildings are lost to us, and what the 60s and 70s did to Kendal.
In January we had an excellent talk by Peter Holme of the Oral History Society. Life in the yards in the last century was vividly evoked by photographs and recordings of people born in the early 1900s telling their stories.
The February meeting was cancelled due to snow.
We look forward to Adrian Lees talking about William Gilpin’s connection with the South Lakes.

25  Apr: Border Conflict – Jackie Hinton 
30 May:  The Biscuit Maker – Ann Quintilla
27 Jun:  To be arranged
No meetings July and August.

HELP! Ruth needs people to help with the running of the group. Please let her know if you are willing to assist.
This group is full and has a waiting list.

November 2017

We had excellent talks in September and October. Standing for Jackie, Ann gave the presentation on Cornelius Nicholson – an important man in Kendal’s history, but now almost forgotten. This was researched and written by Jim Muil, who brought him to life.

Then in October, Ann gave her own talk on the History of Penrith from the earliest times; its changing hands between England and Scotland, the Norse influence and the connection with the Nevilles and Richard III. Again, very interesting and instructive. We now look forward to Richard Pealing’s talk in November on The Lost Buildings of Kendal.

Programme for the New Year:-

31 Jan Oral History of the Kendal Lanes – Jean Turnbull

28 Feb History of the Sizergh Gardens – Susan Condor

30 Mar William Gilpin’s South Lakes Connection  - Adrian Lees

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

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