A note from Edwin Bowlas

In October 2012 Edwin Bowlas, having come across the Crosthwaite and Lyth web site, wrote to me at some length about his memories and upbringing in Crosthwaite and Lyth. With his permission I have copied what he wrote as I thought it would be of interest to others.

John Sceal
South Low

I was born on the 1st March 1932 at Plane Tree cottage in the Row, the eldest child of Norman Bowlas amd Mary Elisabeth Bowlas (née Park) and the tenants were my grandfather Thomas Edwin Park and his wife Mary, who I believe, according to my mother who sadly died at the age of 86 in 1998, had previously lived for some period at the Toll Bar. Although I have lived in Stockport with my two sisters for most of my life, my mother, my eldest sister and I would spend a month or so periodically most years during the second world war with my grandparents. My grandfather died in December 1952 and my grandmother in November 1958. She left "Plane Tree" around 1955 to live in Milnthorpe. My father was interested in buying the cottage but it was valued at £400, and anyway it was not for sale being attached to "Row Farm".

I was christened at St Mary's Church Crosthwaite in April 1932 and soon after moved to Stockport. My mother, who was in service at Kentmere Hall, had moved with a family by the name of Stevenson to Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport, and met my father who was a plasterer and the result, me, followed by two sisters in 1938 and 1948.

My mother had three brothers, George Barber Park, Robert Edwin, William Edward and two sisters Margaret Agnes and Brenda, all of whom have now passed away.

On looking at the website, I find that I knew most if not all of the people quoted in the text. I particularly remember Sam Strickland and his wife Sarah who I, at a very young age in the 1940s, was very frightened of due to her having very wrinkled skin on her arms and face, although I later found out she vas a very nice person.

Mrs Woolstencroft, the post lady, also comes to mind as do the Ellerys, Harold and Albert, Tomkinsons, Grearsons, Billy Millburn. My grandfather's sister, Auntie Ciss (Graveson), lived round the back lane. Also the traveller who took the orders from Leighton's grocers, Bill Sagar, was later to become my uncle due to his marriage to my Auntie Margaret. He was well known in Kendal for prize-winning Bantams. Kit Simpson I also remember with bluebottles flying around the van and chasing them off the meat (Ugh!).

My memories of course are mainly about the time of the second world war and the evacuee who stayed with my grandparents. His name was William Lyon from Newcastle and his sister Alice who stayed with a neighbour just lower down, Mrs Gardner and her friend Mrs Wilson. Lighting and cooking was by paraffin oil lamps, electricity not being provided until 1955. Drinking water was obtained from "Tommy Well", but this was discontinued due to contamination, and this resulted in daily treks to Jacksons who had a clean water tap. One of the things that took place during that period was the making of illegal farm butter, the top of the milk kit being skimmed of each day. It had a peculiar taste but served its purpose.

I knew most of the Jackson family at Row Farm, father Jimmy and his wife, their children, Bob, Bertha, Betty, John, Olive and Walter, and also a boy called Darwin, who had drowned early on in a horse trough before my time. We used to play games together, one of them being "Tin Can Lurk It" where you would throw a baked bean tin as far as you could, and then the person nominated had to chase after and pick it up, then go and find the others who had hidden in the various barns under the hay. That's something of how we passed the time away then. Don't think that would work today.

I last remember Alan and Ivy Jackson at Row Farm in 1987, soon to be leaving to live in Kendal Green, and I believe Ivy died not too long after the move. Alan continued to have an interest in Damson management for a while after. I took a short video of them in 1987; Ivy was quite a character.

Lower down was "Michael Yeat" which was farmed by Johnny Wilson and his wife who had a daughter Minnie and also a son I think John. Minnie who married Joe Walker was my mother's cousin and was still alive I remember in the middle 90s and we would visit her from time to time.

Brenda, my mother's youngest sister, married into the Wilson dynasty by marrying Norman Wilson of Burneside, an agricultural contractor at St Oswald's, Burneside, in 1946, and then lived on Ratherheath Lane, Bonningate, where my uncle, well retired, still resides age 90.

A little story form the wartime. As I say, we used to go and stay with my grandparents for up to a month at a time, which meant that we were missing school. Anyway my grandfather took me on a walk round the area and, finishing up on the "Howe", he was showing me various dwellings, and we came across the School, telling me that this was "Howe School" he said and this is where you will be attending from Monday for the next three weeks. No questions. Whether he had a special arrangement with the schoolteacher I don't know, but that is where I attended for three weeks. He wasn't going to have me missing my education. One week holiday OK, but that was enough.

I believe Plane Tree is up for sale at the moment at £325,000, but I am about £320,000 short so I'll pass on that one.

I hope I have managed to fill in a few gaps, and if there is anything further you feel I can contribute please be free to ask.

Regards, Edwin Bowlas