Kendal in the Nineteenth Century

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Wainwright became the Honorary Clerk to Kendal Museum from 1942, and whilst in charge, the museum came into possession a substantial collection of old photographs taken in the late 1800s. Many of the photos were in a sorry state and required preservation. Wainwright decided to produce a series of drawings based on these photographs. He worked seven days a week on this project and produced a new drawing daily. There were over 100 drawings in total, more than enough for a publication.

Photograph sources:
Kendal Museum (The Jack o’ Conner Collection).
Kendal Library (The Local Studies Collection).
Mr. P.S. Duff (The Margaret Duff Collection).
Dr. J. Satchell (The Kendal Civic Society Collection).

Betty helped Wainwright investigate the history behind the photos. In addition, Wainwright hired John Marsh, a local policeman in Kendal to assist with the research. This work couldn’t have come at a better time for John, as he and his wife had two handicapped children. They struggled financially, so the £400 he received for the work made a huge difference to their lives. This is one of many examples that highlight Wainwright’s compassion, and John would never forget his kindness for the rest of his life.

Wainwright thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and when the book was finally published in 1977, it became his favourite title out everything he’d produced. It was priced very reasonably for the time, and although it didn’t sell as many copies as the Pictorial Guides, it was a great piece of local history for Kendalians. Westmorland Gazette’s initial print run was 1,000 copies. Even today, the First Editions are widely available.

First Edition is identified by:

  1. Green rexine case with gold blocking on the spine
  2. £5.40 price on the dust jacket
First Edition price.
First Edition case rexine. This material was used for all Wainwright’s books during the late 1970s.
Alternative case from the 1980s.
A First Edition binding copy from the 1970s. This was used in the Westmorland Gazette’s bindery department to ensure the sections were collated in the correct order.
A limited number of copies were signed by both Wainwright and John Marsh.
Original First Edition dust jacket negative.
The £5.40 dust jacket price was eventually masked out, but is still visable when viewed closely.

The final drawing in the book features the Summer House in Serpentine Woods, Kendal. This was clearly an isolated photo that wasn’t part of the collection. Wainwright drew this back in 1944 and it appeared in both A Fifth Lakeland Sketchbook and Westmorland Heritage. This would mark its third appearance in a Wainwright book.

Unlike many of the later sketchbook drawings, the early Kendal drawings were never sold to the public. A significant number of them were gifted to Percy Duff, who succeeded Wainwright as Borough Treasurer in 1967. These were then passed down to his sons, Mike, and Paul Duff.

Serpentine Walks.
Original signature in pencil from 1944.

Original drawings from Kendal in the Nineteenth Century are very popular amongst the enthusiasts. They are rare, but occasionally show up in auctions. If you are lucky enough to own one, hold on to it.

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