Janet Antrobus
Sarah Webb
Local Information

Ideally situated between Lakes and Dales, the vibrant, thriving town of Kendal sits on the banks of the River Kent. It takes its name from the river, which rises in the fells above Kentmere and Kentdale. For a long time Kendal has been known as the Auld Grey Town because the traditional building stone was locally quarried limestone. More recently it has been described as the Gateway to the Lakes.

The Kent provided the power for a wool industry and for many years Kendal was one of the most important wool towns in the country. The town was also a stopping off point for cattle drives from Scotland as well as a very important market. The Town's coat-of-arms reflects these historical influences. It has a gold background depicting a cowhide whilst the teasel (a prickly plant which dries like a sharp hairbrush) and bail hooks found in each of the sections of the shield represent the wool trade. The motto, 'pannus mihi panis', often interpreted as 'wool is my bread' (though strictly speaking it should be 'cloth is my bread') underlines the importance of the industry that, for centuries, supported the people of this town.

More recently Kendal has been famous for snuff production, Kendal mintcake, carpet making and K Shoes. Alfred Wainwright is famous for his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, which he compiled between 1952 and 1966. He was born in Blackburn but fell in love with the Lakeland fells on a holiday in 1930. After qualifying as an accountant he moved to Kendal in 1941 rising to become Borough Treasurer seven years later.

On a hill overlooking the town stand the ruins of Kendal Castle, for several generations home to the Parr family whose most famous member was Katherine, Henry VIII's sixth wife. Easily reached on foot from the town centre, the castle affords magnificent views of Kendal and the fells beyond. Kendal's 13th century Parish Church is one of the widest in the country, and houses the Parr family chapel.


The Fairtrade Group was originally set up as a Steering Group of the South Lakeland World Development Movement Group. More recently, as it has become more established it has become a fully-fledged campaigning group in its own right, known as the Kendal Fairtrade Group. A wide range of groups and organizations including churches, schools, Kendal Town Council and local small businesses support fair trade in Kendal.

The Fairtrade Town Steering Group successfully applied for Fairtrade town status in 2003. This was marked in July 2003 by a heart-warming celebration. Simeon Greene from the Windward Islands led a procession carrying a fairtrade cake on his head. A samba band took part, there were children with the fairtrade symbol painted on their faces, and the finale included speeches and cake cutting.

Since then the group has continued its commitment to ensuring that small producers of the developing world get a fair deal by campaigning and encouraging both the sale of fairtrade products in shops and supermarkets and their provision in cafes and restaurants.

In summer 2005 a guide to eating, drinking and buying fairtrade in and around Kendal was produced with the generous support of Kendal Town Council. It has been distributed to most homes in Kendal.

The Group holds events to raise awareness of fairtrade, particularly during Fairtrade fortnight.

In 2005 a well-attended wine tasting took place at the Bridge House Restaurant in Kendal with the kind support of its proprietors. An Ethiopian coffee producer gave a talk at Sandylands Methodist Church. There has also been an entry in Kendal's September torchlight procession for the last three years.


Kendal's contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight's 2010 campaign The Big Swap was launched by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and Sarah Webb from the Kendal Fairtrade Group.

During Fairtrade Fortnight Kendal Fairtrade Group hosted a Fairtrade Flask Mob event. On Sunday 7th March around 50 people gathered in the sunshine at Kendal Castle with flasks of tea, coffee and hot chocolate to celebrate Fairtrade and enjoy treats of cookies, cereal bars, sweets and chocolate all kindly donated by the Co-operative Group. There was information available about Fairtrade and an opportunity to chat with members of our local Fairtrade group. A great time was had by all!

Following the success of our Kendal Fairtrade Bag we decided to produce a recipe book showcasing Fairtrade ingredients. A number of local celebrities and food places in Kendal contributed recipes. Kendal cooks- which costs 4 and is on sale in cafes around Kendal - features a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes. It was launched in May 2009 by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and the then mayor of Kendal Clare Feeney-Johnson who had both contributed recipes to it. Contact us if you would like a copy.

In summer 2005 a guide to eating, drinking and buying Fairtrade products in and around Kendal was produced with the generous support of Kendal Town Council. It was distributed to most homes in Kendal. We are now updating the information in it. If your cafe, B&B, shop or other establishment would like to be included get in touch.