1940s Nostalgia In Cumbria

Posted on: 16 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Get in the mood for celebration at Townend's 1940s party.

The clocks might have gone forward for British Summer Time, but they are definitely being turned back at Townend, in Troutbeck, near Ambleside, as the National Trust-owned property celebrates its 60th Anniversary.

Echoes of 1948 will fill the courtyard of the 17th Century yeoman farmer's home on 19th April 2008, when Townend has a nostalgic look back at the year it opened to the public, sixty years ago.

Staff and volunteers will dress in 1940s costumes, ready to greet visitors who will be admitted at the 1948 entrance charge of just one shilling - 5 pence in decimal currency.

The information room will be playing digital sound recordings of the reminiscences of local Lake District people, as they re-call a post-war period when things had not quite got back to normal, but new hope was on the horizon.

To symbolise this mix of wartime legacies and new concepts, a 1942 Willys Jeep and a Dodge weapons carrier will jostle for attention with a 1940s MG sports car, as members of the Women's Institute serve up 1940-style refreshments to the strains of the popular music of the time.

There will also be 1940s memorabilia and artefacts on show and some expert 1940s enthusiasts on hand from the South Cumbria and North Lancashire Military Vehicle Trust.

Townend - National TrustMeanwhile, younger visitors will be entertained with a traditional Punch & Judy Show, or can learn all about life in the Browne family home centuries earlier. For £1 extra, they can also participate in family craft activities of making a wooden glider or a peg doll.

Townend is famed for its realism as a 17th Century Lakeland home. It also has beautiful woodcarvings, rare books and period furniture, as well as a fascinating kitchen filled with domestic tools from the 17th Century. All of this can be explored by following a children's trail, which introduces youngsters to life in the household, from both the family and servants' viewpoints.

Lovers of the 1940s will relish this 60th anniversary, 1940s themed occasion and, to keep things real, visitors are being urged to make the short hop from Ambleside by foot, cycle or bus. There is a wonderful 90-minute walk, of moderate difficulty, from Ambleside to Townend via the Skelghyll Woods. This provides terrific views across Lake Windermere and a chance to see bluebells out in all their glory.

Those wishing to travel by bus can catch a 599 from Windermere station, alighting at Troutbeck Bridge and walking the 1.5 miles to Townend. Alternatively, the Stagecoach 555/6 service can be taken. Cycling to the event will also be great fun and the journey from Windermere to Townend is just 2.5 miles.

The game of Scrabble was introduced in 1948 and words of wisdom from visitors with tales to tell of the year Townend opened will have the chance to contribute to a Reminiscence Book. It is hoped this valuable source of oral history will help Townend understand more about the era in which it opened.

Those wishing to stop off en route to Townend can find some welcome cheer at the famous Mortal Man, at Troutbeck, one of the Lake District's most famous hostelries.

Visitor Information

Townend will be open from 10.30 am until 5pm on 19th April, with last admission at 4.30pm. The property will also be open throughout the season, five days of the week - Wednesday to Sunday - from 1pm to 5pm until 26th October 26, and to 4pm from 29th October until 2nd November.

Normal admission costs £3.80 for an adult, £2.10 for a child and £9.50 for a family, or slightly more if a Gift Aid donation is included.

For more information about the event, or how to contact reminiscences to it, call 015394 32628. More information about Townend can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

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