Kendal – Websters Yard
Webster’s Yard is one of Kendal’s newer yards, being designed and built by Russell Armers. The yard provides housing for some of Kendal’s elderly residents and is named as a memorial to the Webster firm of architects who left such an indelible impression on Kendal and surrounding towns and villages across the county.
The yard is easily identifiable by its ornate green and blue leafy decorative gate, just down the road from Woolworths on the North side of Highgate.
There is a particularly interesting architectural gem at the head of the yard, hidden from prying eyes. The doorway to a building called Dowker’s Hospital, built in around 1825, is now part of the building at the rear of the Yard. Dowker’s Hospital used to be a hostel, providing accommodation for six ‘chaste’ Kendal females, over the age of 50 years.
The building was designed by the Websters and used to stand at the head of Dowker’s Lane which leads into Abbott Hall Park. The building survived until the 1970’s when Kendal Council embarked on a series of building clearances. Dowker Lane now runs over the spot where this hostel once stood. The coat of arms at the head of the door, so said an elderly resident of the flats, represents that the fact that the hostel housed ‘old ducks and no drakes’!!!
Words and photos by Matthew Emmott.
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