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.