Malcolm Wheatman, of Kendal, recalls meat pies sold in the town in the 1940s


Around 1943, as an after school hours grocery boy, I once made a delivery to Helm Lodge at Kendal, then the home of Colonel Crewdson.

I went to the front door. A maid answered the bell, took the box and gave me a strange look.

I later realised that I ought to have gone to the tradesmen’s entrance, as presumably only family and gentry used the imposing main portico.

I had never thought about the class system and my own position in it.

Some years later, apprenticed at Bateman & Hewitson, Stramongate, on an individual’s special occasion, it was customary for that person to provide hot pies and coffee for the entire staff (about 12) in the morning of the event.

On my 21st birthday I went to collect the order from Threlfall’s cafe, also in Stramongate and next door to the Commercial Hotel, where thriller-writer Desmond Bagley was born. Both buildings are now beneath Blackhall Road.

Threlfalls had a wall-mounted penny-in-the-slot ‘Polyphon’, an ornate Victorian musical box with large circular steel discs, each capable of playing several tunes. I never heard it playing.

The place was always dimly lit and never seemed to have more than a couple of people sat at tables.

The pies were always tasty but different from those of both Robert Brennands in Stricklandgate and William Brennands in Finkle Street.

Whatever the time of day the Finkle Street shop always had a queue of customers. Since they closed down, others have endeavoured to re-create the unique taste of their meat pies and also their meat and potato pies.