It was Sir Wavell Wakefield, who later became Lord Wakefield of Kendal, who formed Lake District Estates as Private Limited Company on 6 Dec 1938. Lord Wakefield was not only a celebrated sportsman - three times Grand Slam winning England rugby captain - but also a WW1 pilot and Member of Parliament.
Lord Wakefield was instrumental in the preservation of the Ullswater 'Steamers' and the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. In 1954, he bought a controlling shareholding in Ullswater Navigation and Transit Company, saving the 'Steamer' company from bankruptcy. In 1960, along with Midlands stockbroker Colin Gilbert, he purchased the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway from the Keswick Granite Company in order to prevent its closure. After Colin Gilbert's death in 1968, he became the sole owner and it was incorporated fully into Lake District Estates. Lord Wakefield died in August 1983, aged 85. One of his daughters, Ruth Adorian, still serves on the board of directors of the company as well as several of his grandchildren.
Peter Hensman Chairman of Lake District Estatessays, “My grandfather was an inspiring man who relished challenges, the bigger the challenge, the better. He wanted to create a strong business from the assets he inherited and saw in both Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway opportunities to do this and at the same time to conserve important parts of our cultural heritage for future generations. That they are today two of the Lake District’s best-loved attractions is testament to his vision.”
Today Lake District Estates has a wide portfolio of tourism and property businesses across the county. Other than its high quality and award-winning tourist attractions, the company owns caravan parks including Hill of Oaks, Woodclose, Newby Bridge and Waterfoot, a marina with holiday apartments and Peter Rabbit & Friends retail outlets. Heritage and conservation are at the heart of the business.
David Little, Chief Executive Lake District Estates comments, “We are delighted to be celebrating this milestone for the organisation. Strong family ethics and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of Lake District Estates and we continue to grow with Tewitfield Marina being the most recent addition to our portfolio. Cumbria and the Lake District is far more dependent on tourism than most other parts of the UK and we are proud to be at the forefront of providing high quality visitor experiences and supporting some 160 jobs across the county.”
The milestone will be celebrated with a small private event at the company’s headquarters in Kendal with the company's birthday cake featuring decorations representing the different businesses within it.
Thursday 29th of November 2018