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In the 1960s Broad How, still owned by Theodora (TC) and Mary (Min), was used as a holiday home by them, TC's two daughters and their growing families. Here is a family tree showing TC's descendants at that stage (plus two other family members who were regular visitors to Broad How):

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TC and Min in 1961

1960s Family holidays 

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Jane and William Wynne Willson were both teachers, so their branch of the family were able to come to Broad How every school holiday. TC and Min always came too, and Judith when she had annual leave. TC's other grandchildren, Delia and Christopher, sometimes joined their cousins for part of the summer holidays. In 2016, Jane, Ruth, Pete, Tom, Emma and Delia talked about their memories of staying at Broad How in the 1960s and 1970s, and here are some of their memories of that time: 


Jane and William always slept in Arnison, Ruth in Helvellyn View, Pete and Tom in Mill Moss, Emma in Goldrill, Judith in Fairfield, Min in Crook-a-beck and TC in Silver Bay. When Delia and Christopher were there Christopher would go in with Pete and Tom, and Delia would share with Ruth.


TC and Min always had a kettle and a tray their rooms so they could make early morning tea and drink it in bed. Pete remembers being encouraged to go and chat to Min in her room if he woke early in the morning , rather than disturb Jane and William.

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Honey the cat on one of the beds


'Pete: Most of them were the same beds as now but they were painted white' 

TC and Min

TC and Min were in their late 60s and 70s at this point, and Min had a heart condition, so they didn't go for strenuous walks. Delia remembers them 'pottering along the back road'. She also remembers helping to pick fruit and vegetables from the garden and 'Sitting round the kitchen table with Min shelling peas.' TC and Min always sat in two chairs either side of the fire in the living room and in the early evening would have a sherry and listen to the news on the 'wireless'.  Tom: It was a single speaker - a wooden box of enormous size.' There was no TV at Broad How in those days. 

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JPWW, Molly, Tom and Pete on the steamer 

One regular visitor was William's father Jack Wynne Willson (JPWW), usually known in the family as Grandpa. From 1961 onwards he came every Easter until 2001.

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JPWW, his spaniel Fitz, Pete and Ruth

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Min in her chair (with the radio behind)

Molly and Cherry How

Molly Pattinson lived at Broad How in the early 60s, her mother having died in 1956. Ruth and Delia both remember Molly having the small living room and sleeping in a bedroom which is where the shower room is now. 

In 1962, TC and Min commissioned George Bell and sons to build Cherry How and Molly moved in there. Emma remembers going to visit her and borrowing the little bell she kept on the mantelpiece. Molly used to do some cooking for the family as well as being the school cook at Patterdale School. 


The site before Cherry How was built

Cherry How was built in a part of the garden that the family used to call 'Cowslip Corner'

Cherry How in 1962

Emma remembers that every morning there would be a discussion about what we were going to do that day - 'never just loafing around!' . We used to go for a walk or a picnic, or to the lake. 

Outdoor activities

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Jane and William

Pete and Tom

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Ruth: We often used to go up Boredale Hause, and the path was grassy - not eroded like it is now.

Pete, William, Tom, Ruth, Delia, Judith

In the winter we used to go sledging in Side Farm field. Emma sprained her ankle badly and TC and Min had to fetch and carry for her - Emma: They were quite old  by then... staggering across to get me something!


Tom at Side Farm

Tom, William and Ruth

One year we all learned to skate when Lanty's Tarn froze over.Pete and Jane remember trying to skate on Little Dove Tarn, but there was too much snow on it. Emma: It was really scary and we had to slide down on our bums.'

Ruth: One year there was so much snow we couldn't go home the day we were supposed to go and we had an extra day's holiday.

In the summer we often went to the Lake, for a picnic or to swim. In the 1960s we had a rowing boat that we kept tied up to Walter Burnett's jetty, near Grisedale Bridge. Tom: It was quite a dilapidated jetty with bits of wood missing. Our first boat was called The Seagull, then later we had Red Fox. 

Ruth: It always seemed a long way across the fields carrying life jackets, oars and picnic equipment. Often the boat was full of water and we had to bail it out before setting off.

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Emma in Ullswater


Jane in Seagull

Mary Mordaunt

Indoor activities

Up until the 1980s the small bathroom had two doors, which meant it was possible to complete a circuit of the upstairs of Broad How. That meant it was ideal for playing Kick the Can - a noisy and energetic version of Hide and Seek. Delia remembers finding a really good hiding place in an old fireplace behind a chest of drawers in Crook-a-beck. I was up there for ages and everyone else got bored of the game. Jane had to come and find me to tell me my bath was ready.

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William and Emma

Quieter indoor activities included cooking, particularly baking meringues, brown cake and castle puddings which were served with warm golden syrup.


Ruth and Pete remember that the piano in the smaller living room was a pianola, and used to play itself: It worked with things that looked like paint rollers that were kept in the tall cupboards where the windows are now, either side of the chimney breast.   Pete to Jane: Can you remember any of the tunes?  Jane: Yes, 'Any um-ber-ellas, any um-ber-ellas!

Ruth, Pete, Tom and Emma all remember playing card games and backgammon with Min. Jane: Min was endlessly patient. TC wouldn't play games, she couldn't bear them. TC sometimes used to read aloud in the evenings, often P. G. Wodehouse. We all remember particular books that we read as children at Broad How:

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