Throughout the 1950s the family used Broad How as a holiday home. Jane and Judith were both students, and Jane brought several ‘reading parties’ to stay at Broad How..
Esther and Molly Pattinson
Esther Pattinson (known as ‘Mrs Patty’) and her daughter Molly lived at Place Fell Cottage (the cottage on the left as you go through the gate that leads to Place Fell). Mrs Patty’s husband, Tom, had died in the flu epidemic after the First World War, and she was left with three daughters. She had a lot of different jobs, taking in washing, baking bread for people and cleaning the church, but she could not manage to support all three daughters so the middle one, Florrie, went to live with her aunt and uncle at Eagle Farm in Glenridding.
Molly and Mrs Patty both worked at Broad How, cooking for the family. Molly was also the cook at the village school in Patterdale. As Mrs Patty became older she was struggling at Place Fell Cottage, which was not well-maintained by the landlord and needed modernisation, so in 1956 Mrs Patty and Molly came to live at Broad How. Mrs Patty died in 1956 but Molly continued to live at Broad How until the early 1960s.
Family friends Biddy Spiegel and Lucy Fry talking about Mrs Patty and Molly in 2011 said:
Biddy: I’ve got a very nice photograph of dear old Mrs Patty holding Emma.
Lucy: We were very fond of Molly and Mrs Patty.
Biddy: She was lovely. She had these wonderful stories of when the lake froze over and the ‘moanin and the groanin’.
Lucy: Molly had the most beautiful auburn hair, didn’t she.
Biddy: Yes, and a rich contralto voice, and she sang to us.
Lucy: Yes, when she was cooking she would give tongue.
This is the picture Biddy is referring to, taken in about 1956. Emma, the baby, is Biddy's oldest daughter, Molly is on the left and Mrs Patty holding Emma.
Mary, Whitsun 1956
Mary by Ullswater
Min, Michael and Mildred
Side Farm floods, November 1954
Mary on her honeymoon and the floods at Side Farm, November 1954
Jane married William Wynne Willson in August 1955. They had met when they were both students in Cambridge. They actually met in the summer holidays in 1954 on a trip to Greece, as part of a group of students who were travelling together because they could get cheaper tickets that way. Most of the group, like Jane, were studying classics, but William, who was a mathematician, joined the party because it was organised by a friend of his.
William, Easter 1955
William and Jane, Easter 1955
Jane, summer 1956, below Hayeswater
Jane on 3rd island on Ullswater
Jane on honeymoon, Bowscale Tarn
William and Jane's wedding
William on Helvellyn, 1956
Late 1940s and 1950s
In autumn 1943, TC and Min felt that there was no immediate prospect of the war ending and they needed to go back to as normal a life as they could. So they went back to their home in London with Mary, Jane and Judith, and Broad How went back to being a holiday home.
On their return to London, they lived in Dorking. Min, who had given up working as a GP when her father died in order to help TC to bring up Jane and Mary, worked two days a week as a doctor at the Infant Welfare Clinic in Bermondsey. TC became a magistrate on the Mortlake bench and also worked one day per week as a ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ at the Citizens Advice Bureau at New Malden in Surrey.
When the war ended TC and Min were amazed to be contacted by Judith’s mother, Hela. She had survived incarceration in Auschwitz concentration camp and came over to England in spring 1946 to be reunited with her daughter. Judith’s father, Artur, had died in one of the other camps. Judith, then aged 13 had by then spent seven years in England and become part of the family. She was no longer able to speak Slovakian, having had no opportunity to use it. She went to Czechoslovakia with Hela for the summer. The visit was sadly not a success, as Judith found it very hard to relate to her mother or other relatives. She returned to England in the autumn on the understanding that she would complete her education here.
Judith at Hela and Tivvi's wedding
Mary left school in 1948 and did a secretarial course followed by a cordon bleu cookery course. She then got a job in administration at the BBC. She was based at Bush House and worked in the BBC’s Far Eastern department.
Jane left school in December 1951, having secured a place at Girton College, Cambridge, for the following Autumn. Mary took unpaid leave from the BBC and the two of them spend the summer in Grenoble, improving their French.
Judith, who was the same age as Jane, had left in the summer and gone to New Zealand for a year to stay with her mother, Hela, who had re-married and emigrated there. Judith studied at University College Christ Church for a year, living with Hela, her new husband Theodor (Tivvi) Kun and her two young half brothers Bill and Maurice. Judith had always enjoyed fell walking, but her time in New Zealand gave her a passion for mountaineering that continued throughout her life, climbing in the Alps, the Himalayas and Mount Kilimanjaro as well as the Lakeland fells.
During the 1950s both Mary and Jane got married, and they both spent their honeymoons at Broad How.
Mary married Michael Mordaunt in November 1954. He was the son of Mildred Mordaunt, who made friends with TC when they were both lawyers at the Inner Temple in London. She later worked for the legal department at Esso, and her son joined the merchant navy, working on an Esso tanker. Mildred was also a regular visitor to Broad How, and Michael first visited the house with his mother in 1951.
Mary and Michael’s honeymoon at Broad How coincided with an unusually rainy spell resulting in dramatic floods in the valley. Side Farm meadow was completely under water as can be seen in these photos.
The next generation
At the end of the 1950s the first members of the next generation were born. Jane and William’s eldest daughter, Ruth, in January 1957, followed by Mary and Michael’s daughter Delia in September. Jane and William’s eldest son Peter was born in January 1959. The swing in the photos below used to be in the Broad How garden outside the kitchen window. One of the photos also shows the old wooden high chair which is still here, originally bought for Lucy and Biddy Fry in the late 1920s.