Sports and Pastimes - a view from the 1950s

Banner Image: Gathering Peascods, from Chronicles of Patterdale, with thanks to Patterdale WI

Extracts from Chronicles of Patterdale, by Miss Elizabeth A. Little, 1957

With thanks to Patterdale WI

"The village is very lucky to have the Patterdale King George 5th playing field and its two good pavilions. It is used by the Ullswater United Football Club and the Cricket, Bowling and Tennis clubs. The children of Patterdale school use it for their organised games and there are swings, a seesaw and other apparatus to amuse them. The Sheepdog trials and Hound trails, the Mayday celebrations and Fêtes are all held here."

The Cricket and Football clubs have been organised for a long time. First on the old ‘green’ of Patterdale near the Patterdale hotel then by permission of the Marshalls on the Hagg field which, as already stated, was bought from Patterdale Hall estate by public subscription.

With thanks to James Sowerby

The Tennis Club was formed just at the start of the 1939 - 45 war and the Bowling Club after the war.

Wrestling. There used to be a Wrestling Academy in the village near the Patterdale hotel and wrestling in the Cumberland and Westmorland style has been a popular Lakeland sport for centuries.

Fell and Flat racing are also popular sports at the Lakeland gatherings.....Robert Pool, known as ‘Bobbie’, was a mason by trade, when he won the Fell race at Patterdale. The sports arena in those days was in the Side Farm pastures, and he won the race to the top of Place fell, and back, in the incredible time of 25 minutes!

Trout fishing is popular with most of the menfolk, and until recently all the fishing in Ullswater and the becks was free. In the last few years, licences for fishing have to be taken out, and much sport is greatly enjoyed. Messrs J. D. Thomson, J. Pool, J. Hamilton and many others are all very keen. Young John Burrell and Colin and Benny Bell seemed to be able to catch trout from the Becks almost any time!

J Poole fishing on Ullswater, from WI archives

Cock fighting at one time would be a favourite sport, and there are traces of cock pits at Glenridding and Hartsop.

The Airedale beagles pay an annual visit, and there is a week-end spent and exciting bursts of giving tongue by the hounds, and as this visit coincides with the Ullswater Hunt Ball, a pleasant time is had by one at all.

The Carlisle Otter Hounds used to hunt at the head of the lake and up Goldrill Beck.

Foxhunting is the greatest sport of that kind in Patterdale, and has long been a popular and necessary way of waging war on the fox, that arch enemy of lambs and poultry. The present Ullswater Hunt is the amalgamation of the old Bald How Hunt, Matterdale and the Patterdale Foxhounds. The Patterdale pack dates back to the trencher fed days, when each farmer kept a hound or two, and when the huntsman wanted his pack, he blew a blast on his horn summoning the hounds to the meet.

Skating is a sport which may, or may not, be available in this part of the world, but when the tarns and Lake freeze, it's surprising how many people turn out with skates. In the winters between 1927 – 32, we seemed to have very hard frosts, and Mill Moss, having been cleared of reeds and floating islands, and the dam in working order, was the first to freeze and we had weeks of skating, and the children of those years learnt to skate well.

The best skaters on Mill Moss at this time were three elderly ladies, Miss Spence (who will be 100 this month), Miss Albright, and Miss Jupp, but it was not long before a number of people could skate sufficiently well for exhilarating games of ice hockey!

Mill Moss Frozen 1929, from Chronicles of Patterdale

The Patterdale Women's Institute had a very keen folk dancing class in the 1920s.

From 1948 - 1956 a Mayday festival was held and a May Queen crowned.

Patterdale WI folk dancing class, from Chronicles of Patterdale
Dancing round the May Pole, from Chronicles of Patterdale
May Queen and her attendants, from Chronicles of Patterdale

Extracts from Chronicles of Patterdale, by Miss Elizabeth A. Little, 1957. With thanks to Patterdale WI

Other Topics you may find of interest