Kendal Oral History Group is compiling a picture of the past through memories of older residents. Charlie Gibson, who was the son of the head gardener at Levens Hall Estate for many years, was born in 1903 and interviewed in 1977.

Lady Bagot’s club room was known as 'The Welcome'. We used to have a lot of fine old dances in the Welcome. We probably only had the fiddle and the piano but we used to let our hair down and have some right good dos.

I know there used to be an awful lot all through the winter. We used to get ham sandwiches and Kendal tea cakes when we were children.

Lady Bagot used to have a bible class in there and there used to be lectures, and an awful lot of Conservative meetings in there, of course, during the time that Captain Bagot was a member of Parliament for South Westmorland.

I remember him being returned as an MP the first time. The farmers met him at the top of the hill and they took the horses out of his carriage and they drew him to Levens Hall by hand. He was a very nice gentleman and he was a wonderful employer.

We had a choir at Levens, a boys’ choir. Lady Bagot founded it when my grandfather made the present choir stalls in 1912. He did the carving on them. We had 12 choir boys and we rehearsed a special hymn for the funeral of Sir Jocelyn Bagot at Heversham Church in 1913 before World War 1.

We had some quite famous people come to Levens in those days. I can remember the Earl and Countess of Rosslyn and their two children being here. They were here during World War 1 and the retired First Lord of the Admiralty, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord Charles Beresford and Lady Beresford. They were here for a time, as was Winston Churchill in 1907. Another famous lady who used to visit Levens was Vesta Tilley, the Vaudeville actress.