New book focuses on Kendal - a town steeped in history

The Westmorland Gazette: The King’s Arms with a stage-coach in a painting featured in Andrew White’s book The King’s Arms with a stage-coach in a painting featured in Andrew White’s book

TALES of Kendal’s opium addict-ion in the 1800s and other facts about the town are expected to see a new book rocket to the local bestsellers’ list this Christmas.

Taking nine years to research and write, A History Of Kendal by Andrew White has just been published and aims to become the ultimate compendium of the town.

It sets out to prove there is more to Kendal than cloth and mint cake, and with its hundreds of old photographs, maps and illustrations the book aims to tell the human story of the town. Half a dozen photographs are believed never to have been printed before.

Author Mr White, 65, from Hornby, said: “I’m particularly interested in the people of Kendal. What did they originally do?

“There were lots of them in a very small space and had you gone into one of the yards in 1800s and made a lot of noise, a lot of people would have appeared and all would have been employed in a unique trade.”

The book features a census of the Woolpack Yard in 1861 listing nailmakers, rag gatherers, hawkers and muffin bakers, as well as a 14-year-old ‘factory hand’.

And, during his years of research where he was on first-name terms with staff at Kendal Library, Mr White even discovered an ancient recipe for Kendal Black Drop – an opium-based medicine which was widely used in the town.

Mr White, an archaeologist, building historian and former curator of Lancaster Museum, said: “There’s a famous quote that Kendal has produced more history than it can consume locally, and that is true – it’s bigger than its footprint.

“I found out about a woman who died in 1817 aged 90 and her famous thing was selling butter at tuppeny ha’penny to the Jacobite rebels — she ripped them off!

“I’d like people to buy it, read it, and realise what a fantastic place this is.”

Published by Carnegie Publishing Limited of Lancaster, the book is available for £18.99.


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