REVIEW: Frizington – Much More Than One Long Road by Arlecdon History Group

By Alan Cleaver

112Griffin Hotel Mr Cook courtesy AlisonbFRIZINGTON has more local history books than most villages or towns in Cumbria – and now has another.

Frizington – Much More Than One Long Road has been put together by the Arlecdon History Group and is an absolute gold mine of valuable information and colourful history.

The theme this time is the streets (yes there is more than just the one long road in Frizington!) and their history.

It’s a subject that has required much hard work in the archives office and poring over maps.

The Group have ensured this is good read even for those who don’t know the village that well.

The overall interest of the book is helped by dozens of wonderful photographs along with numerous maps. The 82-page book contains much more than just a history of the streets however.

It goes on to give a grand tour of the village and its past, takes a look at some of the notable buildings, the pubs, the hotels and even the history of the utilities (water, power, sewerage etc). But by far the most interesting is the personal memories of some of the streets by members and villagers.

Here’s a short extract from Bob Crosby about Nook Street: “There was no electricity until 1957, so all the cooking was done on an open fire, with an iron kettle always on the hob. Lighting was gas, but not all rooms had gas fittings at that time, so candles provided the necessary lights in those rooms. Gas rings gave some heating, although only a limited amount. Toilets were outside, there was no television and the wireless was primitive. We had to set up an aerial stretched out in the garden, which needed two batteries and a large dry battery with glass jars filled with acid. These were taken to Polley’s Garage, to be recharged, or Mr Jackson would come round with the errand boy to collect, re-charge and deliver.”
It’s remarkable to consider how much has changed in one generation. Today all homes have electric or gas, open fires are just for romantic effect, toilets are indoors and often en suite. And radios are digital or internet, broadcasting hundreds of stations from around the world. It is vital this progress is recorded and, for that, society owes a big thank you to history groups like Arlecdon.

It’s a shame there’s no index but that’s a small criticism of a wonderful book. And the good news is, they are already preparing the next one!

The book £7 from Michael Moon’s Bookshop, Whitehaven or other outlets