Despite the heavy rain and threat of the River Eden flooding, Jean Turnbull's illustrated presentation of ‘The Turnpike Roads of Westmorland’ attracted a large crowd.

In her address at the Appleby-in-Westmorland Society, Ms Turnbull shared how important new and improved 19th-century roads were for the development of turnpikes.

The creation of trusts to oversee such roads, along with the formation of accommodating residences for turnpike keepers, who collected traveller charges, were key developments.

She said such changes were often mirrored with the building of bridges, described as ‘commodious’, many of which still exist today such as those at Levens.

Ms Turnbull also discussed the effects turnpike roads had on communities, using Beetham as an example of a place where one such keeper’s cottage was situated.

These cottages, described as having a protruding porch with windows on both sides, were strategically designed to help keepers spot incoming customers, often in stagecoaches.

The expansion in stagecoach travel happened as advances in turnpike road networks made it feasible to journey from Kendal to destinations like London, Liverpool, or Leeds.

Ms Turnbull said: "They reduced travel times."

She added that they also led to an uptick in long-distance traffic which fuelled the rise of blacksmiths to attend to the horses, as well as growth in the number of inns and hotels for the travellers.

The meeting ended with a call for 'IT savvy' volunteers to help with cataloguing artefacts and documents in the Appleby Archive.

Members were also reminded of the March 17 meeting ‘From Peasant to Estatesman’ which will be held at 1.30pm.