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Famous People

So many familiar names and faces are linked to our town, from royalty and architects, to artists, authors and and entertainers.

Some of which include Queen Katherine Parr, Robert Webster, George Romney, John Cunliffe, Christopher Steele and Steven Hall. Read more about them below. Can you think of any other famous people from our town?

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Queen Katherine Parr

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!
Catherine Parr, known for being the 6th wife of Henry VIII and the final Queen consort of the House of Tudor.

Parr’s family had lived in Kendal since her ancestor Sir William Parr married the heiress of Kendal, Elizabeth Ros in 1383 during the reign of Edward III of England.

The Parr family owned Kendal Castle at the time she was born, but it is still in dispute whether she was born there or not.  Many street names in Kendal Town reflect the belief that she was a daughter of Kendal. It is also believed that Kendal Town Council owns her prayer book.
Married 4 times, twice before King Henry VIII, once 6 months after his death, she is the most married English queen.
Born 1512 – Died 1548

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John Cunliffe

Most famous for creating the characters Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim. John Cunliffe was born in Colne, Lancashire and later moved to Kendal. He first became interested in the literary arts when his great uncle introduced him to William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

Kendal and the smaller villages surrounding it were the inspiration for his most Famous character, Postman Pat. Postman Pat was born in 1978 at 32 Greenside, where John Cunliffe, lived. The old Beast Banks post office at 10 Greenside was where John began his research for the series, and imagined Mrs Goggins sitting behind the counter. The fictional place ‘Greendale’ where the series was set is based on Longsleddale, near Kendal.

He worked for many years as a teacher at Castle Park Primary School, Kendal, but gave up teaching in 1988 to write a new series of Postman Pat.

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Miles Thompson

Miles Thompson was an English Architect from Kendal.
He was employed by Francis and George Webster as a draughtsman around 1825. In 1845 he went into partnership with Webster, before taking over the business in 1846 when George Webster retired.
He designed both public and domestic buildings.

Kendal Wetherspoons, now called ‘The Miles Thompson’, on Allhallows Lane is an old public washhouse that was designed by him. Other local buildings designed by Thompson include, Inghamite Chapel, (converted to apartments 1985) Bankside Road, Kendal, and St James’ Church in Arnside, The old Market Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale and the Almshouses at Sandes Hospital.  Born in Kendal in 1808, Miles Thompson died, unmarried in 1868.

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George Romney

Born in Dalton-in-Furness in 1734, George Romney was one of the greatest portrait painters of his time. He proved to be naturally talented at drawing and making things from wood and in 1755 he became apprentice to the portrait painter Christopher Steele. In 1757 he broke his apprenticeship and set up his own studio in Kendal.

Romney built a strong reputation through his portraits of the Wilsons of Dallam Tower and the Stricklands of Sizergh Castle.
In 1756 he married Mary Abbot, daughter of his Landlady and became father to two children.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery has one of the finest collections of George Romney’s painting in Britain. The collection includes works from throughout his life, ranging from portraits painted during his early period in Kendal, to his 1776 masterpiece, The Gower Children, painted after his move to London. Abbot Hall also has several of Romney’s sketchbooks and drawings, as well as a pastel portrait of the Romantic poet Charlotte Smith.

Steven Hall

In 2011, at 53 years of age, Steven Hall found fame in front of millions of viewers on series 5 of Britain’s Got Talent. His comedic dance routines saw him get to the final of the competition and become a local and national celebrity. His original audition was at the Liverpool Empire with a routine which had been twelve months in the making. “All I wanted to do was go on stage and entertain the crowd” he said “it didn’t occur to me that I would ever get through”. But Steven’s routine wowed the judges, Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff, and a standing ovation from the audience. He then proceeded to dance his way through to the live semi-finals, and ultimately the final, with moves inspired by the likes of Beyonce and Shakira, and was described as “cool” by Simon Cowell. Since then he has been on the Britain’s Got Talent arena tour and has continued to perform his crowd-pleasing routines at events throughout the UK in addition to starring in national tours of the pantos Cinderella and Peter Pan. You can read more and view Stevens performances on his website here:

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