The mystery bridge
River Eamont (Part 17)
This rather grand house, Carleton Hall, was once the centre of an Estate that extended through to Penrith and took in most of Eamont Bridge. To take this picture, I have my back to the River Eamont and am a metre or so away from the water, so you can see that we have yet another mansion with grounds leading down to the river. I think that makes three along this stretch.
At the time of the 1881 Census a Cowper family of four lived there and they had 12 servants, including pageboy, butler, nurse . . . and the rest. So, not a bad pad at the time!
I haven't really looked into what happened to the family after this but, as the Estate included land on the other side of the Eamont, I had an idea that the 'bridge' was something to do with the Hall. And then I found a reference to a Mrs Carleton Cowper living at Park Holme, a rather nice house in Eamont Bridge belonging to the Carleton Estate. Apparently she had a bridge built over the Eamont so that she could visit her son at Carleton Hall. I do feel that the bridge I found was her bridge. It is exactly where I would have put a bridge in those circumstances. And she would have had a nice, well-built bridge - no expense spared I would have thought. However, once all the Estate land was divided up and sold, there would have been no real use for the bridge, so it was likely not reinstated when it fell into disrepair and became dangerous.
So what happened to the Carleton Estate? The extra picture, will give you an idea. For the Blip picture I very carefully composed and cropped to give the idea that it was on its own. It isn't! The Hall itself is now the headquarters of the Cumbria Constabulary and all the buildings around it are Police buildings. In the distance you can see the northern part of the Carleton estate, now a big housing development for Penrith. Penrith Rugby Club and Football Club have each got a section of what was once the Carleton Estate. And in between is the dual carriageway of the A66 as it reaches the first Penrith roundabout. The land in front of the Hall running down to the river is public playing fields. No wonder this river footpath is a favourite with locals, especially for dog walking.
Next time I'm being taken on a walk, with a particular spot by the Eamont to find out about.