Revealed - the people in the famous Joseph Hardman sheep picture in Kendal

The famous Hardman photograph

The famous Hardman photograph

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

History will repeat itself in Kendal this weekend when a 61-year-old photograph is recreated.

The picture, Kendal Rush Hour, was taken by Joseph Hardman in 1953 and shows 150 sheep being herded down Allhallows Lane as locals go about their daily business.

It will be painstakingly recreated at 8am on Sunday to promote the Kendal Wool Gathering and the Westmorland County Show.

Organisers Cliff Dixon and Mike Glover made a plea for anyone who recognised people in the original picture to get in touch - and they have been blown away by the response.

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Cliff said: “When we embarked on this, little did we know how many people involved in the original photo, or their relatives, would volunteer to take part in the re-run. It was 61 years ago.

“We have had an absolutely fantastic response from the public and it underlines the strength of sheep and wool heritage in Kendal, which can only be good news for Kendal Wool Gathering in October.”

For many years it was thought the sheep were on their way to market, but the farmer who owned the sheep, William Dargue, now 91, told the Gazette this was not the case.

He had more than 2,500 sheep but not enough land to house them all so he would move them around other farmers’ fields. “In the photo I'm returning the sheep to Forest Hall from the Lyth Valley where they had been over the winter months,” he said.

“I would do this twice a year; once to the Lyth Valley at the beginning of winter and once on the way back for spring. It would take two days to do this journey.

“The sheep were collected from the various farms in the Lyth valley, walked over Scout Scar and through the town. At that point they had a rest in a field behind the laundry on Shap Road. Then they continued up the A6 to Forest Hall and back onto the fells.”

William was just one of many who have a story to tell about Hardman’s ‘snapshot in time’.

Until now, the identity of the people in the various cars parked along Allhallows Lane was a mystery.

However, Andrew Cannon got in touch to reveal that his father William was Hardman’s driver - and he was waiting in the Ford in front of the delivery truck. He founded Beetham’s Taxis, which were based at Kendal’s Fleece Inn Yard.

Andrew said: “My father was sitting in the car waiting for the picture to be taken. As soon as it was done, Hardman would raise his right hand which was the signal for my dad to collect all of his photography equipment.

“Hardman used my dad because, as a taxi driver, he knew all the nooks and crannies of Westmorland.

“I remember Hardman being a tall, stern chap with a twinkle in his eye. He would wait for ages to get the photo right - he was an absolute perfectionist.”

The boy stood near Eastmans is 72-year-old Edward Acland, who was just 11 at the time. The Land Rover with the learner plate belonged to his parents and his older brother was learning to drive it at the time.

The man unloading a van is Fred Greenhow, who worked for Powell’s fruiterers - his wife Trudy recognised him because she has the photograph in her living room and calls it ‘Fred’s claim to fame’.

In front of the grocery van are two women. They turned out to be sisters, Barbara Greenbank, 92, of Carlisle, and Joan Thornborough, 94, of Kendal.

Barbara said: “We used to watch the sheep coming down the hill - it was a marvellous thing to watch.”

Cliff and Mike are going to extraordinary lengths to make sure the recreation is as similar to the original photograph as possible.

All the vehicles in the original photo will be replaced with their modern versions. Ford are providing a new Fiesta ST and Land Rover are donating a new Defender, complete with learner plate. The old bus will be replaced by a modern Stagecoach vehicle.

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