Ellen Sinclair's childhood memories of Patterdale
Ellen Sinclair spent her early childhood in Patterdale where her parents, Peter and Dulcie Merrett, ran the Post office from 1937 - 1944. Ellen was born at the Post Office and only 6 when the family moved from Patterdale, but she remembers life in the village well.
I have clear memories of living at the Post Office as a small child. Our neighbour Mrs. Harrison and her son Billy, who took over the Post Office. The township houses opposite the White Lion, where some schoolmates lived. The primary school with teacher Mrs Hadwin – we had a percussion band, but only the boys were allowed to play the drums, much to my rage! Watching the hounds at the New Year meet. Summer events on the playing fields, including fancy-dress parades. And of course, special memories of Christmas even though it was war time, and most presents were home-made, including two lovely dolls. I could go on!
During the war my father Peter was a Special Constable. Although he was young and fit he had psoriasis, a skin complaint, and so was considered unfit for the forces. As with other young men in reserved occupations, he was appointed as a Special Constable as part of the wartime police force, which they did as well as the full-time day job. One of the duties was to climb Place Fell when a German bomber plane, heading for the dockyards at Barrow, crashed and they had to look for any trace of the pilot or evidence. This is all well documented in the Carlisle Archive Centre. He was given a medal for his Services.
PC Clarke was the resident policeman at Patterdale. There was a huge chestnut tree in the garden, and John and I were the only children (officially) allowed to pick up the conkers – we were very popular at school for that.
Although we moved away when I was very young, I have always kept up my contacts with Patterdale and Glenridding, and remember many friends from the past, including Miss Macbeth of artistic fame and memory.
Fifth generation to live in Patterdale
My grandfather, Revd G H J Baily, was inducted as Rector of Patterdale in 1930, (the exact date would be in the church and diocesan records), and lived in the rectory with his wife Mary Hope, known as Molly. Of their five sons and two daughters, the eldest was then 25 and in the army. The others were still based at home, the youngest was 14. My grandfather moved to Kirkoswald in 1938, by which time the family had grown up.
The elder daughter, Dulcibel Mary, always know as Dulcie, was my mother. It's a long story – how she met my father Percival Cresswell Merrett, by his own adult choice known as Peter. Dulcie from Patterdale met Peter from Gloucester in British Columbia, Canada but they returned to England and were married in Patterdale church on 05/03/1935.
They then managed The Queen's Head in Hawkshead, but Dulcie came back to Patterdale rectory for the birth of my brother John, Nicola Sproson's father, on 25/04/1936.
They moved to Patterdale post office early in 1937, but I do not know the exact date, and I was born at the Post Office on 27/11/38. Both John and I were christened in Patterdale Church. When Rosie Lightfoot (née Burrell) left school she came to work with my parents to help with the children and the business. We moved from Patterdale in 1944.
Peter had always wanted to become a priest in the Anglican Church. Bishop Neville Gorton, Stephen's father, was then Bishop of Coventry. He made this possible and arranged for Peter's training and ordination.
It pleases me to think of members of my family who are the fifth generation to live in Patterdale.