Brathay Trust is based in an elegant 18th Century Georgian country house. It was built by George Law, the son of an Attorney who was involved in Backbarrow ironworks.
On his death, in the West Indies in 1802, the house passed to his son Henry, who rented it to John Harden, a gentleman with connections in Edinburgh and Dublin.
There are fascinating diary records of family life here. Harden was an amateur artist and many local worthies were drawn into the family circle. The family were visited by Coleridge, and Constable, who sketched various family groups. Old Brathay, the adjoining house, was owned by a Lloyd of the banking family, and his visitors included Coleridge, de Quincey and the Wordsworths.
Then, for almost a century, the Hall belonged to the family of Giles Redmayne, a successful draper. Among those who rented it was Dr Arnold, famous as the Headmaster of Rugby School.
In 1939, Francis Scott (pictured right), owner of the Provincial Insurance Company, based in Kendal, bought the property with a view to protecting it from development and devoting it to some worthy purpose.
The War intervened but highlighted the need to provide training for youth leaders and senior club members. Scott, through his long-established connection with the Boys Clubs Association, offered Brathay as a base for the National Association of Boys Clubs work and out of this, in 1947, grew his first venture: “Holidays with Purpose”.
In one-week courses the Warden, Dick Faithfull-Davies, laid on a pattern of activities - boating, fell walking, camping, art, drama, and discussions which served “to open windows” in the otherwise greatly restricted lives of young lads from the dingy cities and slums of the North.
The following video, filmed in 1953, showcases one of these courses: