It’s been a while since I took any photographs other than the odd family snap. Not only moving home, but countries, has been a pretty busy process. I’ve also been a little lost for inspiration, not to mention weather-beaten! So I thought I’d just get out locally into town and take some photos of something I know to get me back out taking pictures once again.
I went out walking in town for inspiration taking just my X-Pro 1 and the 18, 35 and 60mm lenses – something I love about this camera is that it’s so convenient to carry around you never need to worry about fatigue, or looking too conspicuous as I did in my dSLR days! This small camera and a 2nd lens in your pocket is all you need.
The Yards of Kendal is a quick local project taking a look at the back alleyways of Kendal, known locally as Yards. These are small alleys, some passageways, some dead-ends that run off the main streets of Kendal. Local history tells that it is where people and their livestock were hidden from raiding Scots. Although more accurately they were the Border Reivers, who could be either Scottish or English and would raid towns around the Borders for their own gain.
The yards are numbered in sequence with the buildings on the street – so Yard 161 isn’t an indication of the 161st yard, simply that it is between building 159 and 163! Some of them gained names from either the most prominent people who lived there, or by the activity that was done in the yard, for example Woolpack Yard was so-called for the packs of wool that would be delivered there by horse. Dr Manning’s Yard after Dr Manning who had his practice there for many years. The names do change and Dr Manning’s Yard was originally known as Braithwaite Yard in the 1700’s, after George Braithwaite who was a dyer and supplier to the local textile industry. The yard would contain his factory, office and cottages of the people working for him. Very much a self-contained unit where people lived and worked meaning the businesses could operate with the gates closed, secure from raids.
The signs on the yards are varied, although the most common is the square cast iron signs that were most likely put in place by the Victorians, and modern replicas of these cast iron signs. Others have modern tourist plaques.
Some of the yards do still have iron or heavy wooden doors at their entrances, although most have now been removed and serve as passageways to other areas of the town for locals who know where they go. Others contain small shops, but many are routes to private homes now.
Condition of the yards vary from run-down to others that have recently been modernised. Wainwright’s Yard and Elephand Yard are examples of ones that have been modernised and turned into a shopping area as part of the regeneration of the southern end of town.
I hope you enjoyed a quick look though part of the history of my local town, and perhaps it will inspire you to get out on your own doorstep and take a fresh look at something you walk past every day. Although I haven’t always lived in Kendal, I’ve know it all my life, but it’s amazing what you find when you walk around and actually look for something to photograph. Don’t think you have to go far to get inspiration, I’ll bet there are plenty of things on your own doorstep when you open your eyes!