LIKE many hundreds of people I joined the protest march at Grasmere on Saturday (Gazette, February 6, 'Protest goes down a storm').

Friends of the Lake District’s Save Our Lake District (SOLD) campaign is targeting the over-commercialisation of the Lake District and the impact it is having on this fragile, beautiful place.

My father, Frank Greaves, was born in Bowness in 1908 and was a pupil at Windermere Endowed Boys' School. In the summer 1921 edition of the school magazine, Webs, the letter below was published from the headmaster, Rufus H Mallinson.

Unfortunately, Mr Mallinson thought the Lake District would be best protected by becoming a national park. Well, almost 100 years later, and nearly 70 years after the Lake District became a national park, we now realise such designation does not protect a place from either excessive tourism or inappropriate development.

Don Greaves


"To the Boys of Bowness-on-Windermere.

"Little by little our dear, beautiful district is disappearing. This may seem a startling fact to thoughtless, unobservant people. But it is, nevertheless, a fact. There would be happy hearts among those who love our beautiful country if this process of disintegration could be stopped, - nay, even slowed down, or even delayed for a year. But it can never stop. So long as people love money better than life, so long as they look upon our hills and valleys, our flowers and trees, our streams and lakes and our mountain air in terms of miserable shillings and pence, so long will the Lake District of England continue to disappear.

"The most sacred and inaccessible parts of the district (and, incidentally, the most beautiful parts) are the subjects of schemes for their "opening-up" to the public, through roads and railways. Our valleys and lakes are sold for money to citizens far away. Our roads are "re-modelled" to fit the needs of the motorist, and our birds and animals are being quickly driven away or exterminated. Rare plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, some taken by tourists, and some killed by scum on the edges of the lakes.

"And why!

"Because we, who have inherited the Lake Country for a few years, who are privileged to reside here, and guard almost the sole-remaining piece of England that remains in a pure state of nature, are plundering it ourselves, and are allowing others to come and ravish its beauty for the sake of "business". We realise now that long ago the whole district out to have been bought by the nation and kept as a National Park in its natural state. But it is too late.

"Boys of Bowness! as boys and as men! Do your bit and protect your own country. The birds, flowers, ferns, trees, insects and animals are the invaluable treasures of the district. They are going, going, going. Protect them all you can until the county wakes up and decides to help you. Sell no natural history specimen! Keep the secret of its locality.

"Yours very truly,

Rufus H Mallinson."