AN iconic photograph of sheep descending a Kendal street is to be replicated to help promote the town’s links to the wool trade and agriculture.

Joseph Hardman’s legendary picture Kendal Rush Hour was taken in 1953 and shows Kendal-ians going about their daily business as 150 sheep were herded down Beast Banks and Allhallows Lane on their way to market.

At 8am on Sunday, August 24, 150 sheep will be released from an enclosure on Queen Street while some specially selected local people stand in exactly the same positions as those in the original photograph.

The sheep will be guided down Greenside and on to Beast Banks under the watchful eye of Alison O’Neill, Sedbergh’s barefoot shepherdess.

The photo will be taken from the balcony of the Town Hall before the flock moves down Lowther Street and into two transporters.


Kendal’s motto is ‘wool is my bread’ and the re-enactment is to promote the Kendal Wool Gathering and the Westmorland County Show.

Cliff Dixon, managing director of CNJ Media Events, one of those organising the event, said: “We want to remind people how important sheep and wool were to the people of Kendal prior to industrial-isation.”

Once the sheep start making their way down Beast Banks there is no going back and everyone involved will only have one chance to make sure the picture is perfect.

“To recreate it is like a bank raid - the timing must be perfect, the people must be looking the right way and the animals have to be in the right place.”Photographer Helen Isaac will take the shot and hopes her recent work at the Commonwealth Games may help.

She said: “I had to capture Usain Bolt flying down the track so that might give me an advantage.

“There’s a lot of pressure to get it right. I’ve done wedding photos before and if something goes wrong you can get insurance to cover it but this is something that can’t be recreated.”

Cumbria Police has granted permission for several roads to be closed. It is expected the shoot will take 15 minutes.

Police said some people would be able to watch the re-enactment from behind barriers near the town hall.

* Do you know anyone on the old photograph? Contact Patrick Christys on 01539 790258.