Britain on FilmBritish HeritageKendal: The Way We Were
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This new DVD takes us back in time to the Kendal of the 19th century. It paints a fascinating picture of life in the Victorian town and uncovers the hidden stories behind many of the features for which Kendal is well known; for example, among the town’s many attractions are its quaint cobbled yards, but it might come as a surprise to hear this description from the mid-19th century: The Woolpack Yard, visited by cholera in 1832, has a large open cess-pool of about 100 feet area filled with mixed night soil and stable manure, and above, on the upper floor, is a privy and a pigsty. In fact, the yards were where Kendal’s poor once lived in appalling conditions.
It might also be surprising to learn that the one of the town’s most popular pubs was originally where the residents of the yards went to wash their clothes and take a bath. We also discover why construction of the Clock Tower caused so much controversy; why the Ring o’ Bells pub had a door facing the church; why New Shambles was once known as Stinking Lane; and why the poet Wordsworth was so opposed to the railway that he wrote a poem in protest. The DVD also looks at some of the many changes that took place in Kendal in the 19th century; the decline of the wool trade and the growth of industry; the last days of the stagecoach, when the ‘Kendal Flying Machine’ took three days to reach London; the opening of the Kendal and Lancaster Canal; and the coming of the railway that superseded both. This remarkable period in Kendal’s past is brought to life with stories of the time from the Westmorland Gazette. They describe many important local events and also provide a unique and intimate insight into the everyday lives of the inhabitants of Victorian Kendal.
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