Plaques, police, and… pickles?

The local civic society has been busy in Grange-over-Sands, putting up lots of blue plaques to explain various bits of the town’s history and/or interesting buildings. There’s one for the church, another for the municipal clock tower, and also several celebrating more obscure nooks and crannies.

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One of these announces that a detached, relatively old-looking house (above, photo from the Old Cumbria Gazetteer) on the main street is the ‘Station House’. We were puzzled by this since it’s a fair walk from the town’s railway station, but a bit of research shows that it’s a different type of station altogether, as from 1866 this was the town’s police station! Apparently there are still the remains of lock-ups round the back. Whether or not the building really dates from 1684 (the date stone on the front gable) is another matter; it doesn’t look as old as that but looks can be deceiving.

Another plaque, this time next to the duck pond in the town’s ornamental gardens, celebrates the colourfully-named ‘Picklefoot Spring’. Like many places sited on limestone, Grange has a sprinkling of wells and springs but this is the largest, pouring around sixty gallons a minute into the pond – and it’s reputed to have never run dry, even in the longest spells of drought. The plaque explains that the name is thought to have come from local people who picked walnuts for a living. I wonder whether that should be “pickled walnuts for a living” since this would make more sense… but it’s pure speculation – and a lovely name for a lovely feature.

Sadly I couldn’t get photos of either of these historic sites – too much traffic for the station house, and too much goose poo for the spring! Maybe next time…

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