Read our 14th story from Maurice Dybeck, resident archivist and expert on our history, who’s been involved with Brathay for 69 of its 75 long years!
I first came across Brathay back in 1952 when my college tutor sent me to survey a mountain tarn high above Ullswater. A year later, I found myself taking part in the charity’s first major Expedition to Iceland and by the mid ‘50s I was working on site Brathay full-time as Chief Instructor on month-long courses for young men of Industry. In those days it was all about character development around the great outdoors and helping employees with potential to prepare for future promotion and leadership roles. So not much different from today, apart from the fact that it was males only, and the focus was more on employed workers rather than the incredible work the charity now also does within the wider community.
I later got into teaching and was awarded a headship further south but my connection with Brathay remained through Field Studies, Expeditions to Shetland, Norway, Uganda, and even the Canadian Rockies. My roots were (and still are) centred in the place itself and I was delighted to later join the Board of Governors and then become a Trustee.
As the charity’s willing volunteer historian it has been my privilege to document the Brathay story in my book ‘Broad River’ marking many successful achievements over its 75 years, for the young as well as old. In retirement, I have continued to visit regularly as resident archivist, ensuring that the history of this wonderful place is not lost and enjoying some entertaining overnight stays at Brathay Hall, in the company of a variety of visitors as they came and went on their various residential experiences. So, from starting in a tent on the fells above Ullswater to ending in a cobwebby corner in a poky office behind the Hall, Brathay is still in my veins.
Congratulations to Brathay reaching 75 years. It’s been an honour to have been around for 69 of them!