The Gardens at Whitehall.

In his will  George Moore refers to "the park gardens and pleasure grounds at Whitehall". The pictures below which once hung in the house at Whitehall show how the gardens may have looked in the latter part of the C19th. 


Extensive gardens such as these must have taken considerable upkeep and maintenance. Domestic servant and gardener at the time of the 1871 census was Scottish born George Potter who lived with his wife, Catherine who hailed from Edinburgh, and two children, John Barr and Agnes, in the Lodge House at Whitehall (pictured here on the right). By the time of the 1881 census, George, now 52 years old, was joined by his now 20 year old son, John Barr Potter as a servant/gardener on the Whitehall Estate. By 1891 John Barr Potter is shown living in Whitehall Lodge House with his now widowed mother and his younger sister. By this time another member of the Barr family, John Potter (possibly George Potter's younger brother?) is shown working as a servant/gardener and living in the Lodge at Whitehall with his Sussex born wife, Mary and their 7 years old daughter, Mabel. So the gardening at Whitehall looks to have been very much a family affair! It has been reported to me that one of Whitehall's retired gardeners lived in the cottage which is now an annexe to The Old Post Office in Mealsgate. In his booklet on The History of Whitehall, Mick Jane poses a question about the photograph on the right asking, "Does this show George Potter and his son, John Barr Potter?" Note the pony appears to be wearing "slippers" to prevent damage to the lawn by its hooves, a common practice with horse-drawn mowers and rollers.



Mr & Mrs Joseph Spencer of Whitehall Lodge celebrated their Golden Wedding this weekend. The invited party consisted of friends from Cockermouth, Broughton, Wigton etc. Mr & Mrs Spencer received some handsome valuable presents including a fine arm chair plush covering, a present from Mr Parkin-Moore of Whitehall. Mr Spencer has beed employed on the Whitehall Estate for over fifty years and is a well known and highly respected resident of the Mealsgate District. On Thursday night at the Fletchertown Wesleyan Guild Meeting,  J Armstrong presided and a beautiful reference Bible revised version, with the new supplement of Wesley's hymns in one volume was "presented to Mr & Mrs Spencer. The inscription was presented to Mr & Mrs Spencer on the occasion of their Golden Wedding by the teachers, members and friends of the Fletchertown Wesleyan Church November 1905". Mr Spencer feelingly replied and referred to his marriage at Bassenthwaite Old Church said it was on Martinmass Saturday 1855 when the Crimean War was on and flour was 41s a stone , yet it did not damp him a bit (laughter). He loved the girl and he loved her now as much as ever and he thought rather more (applause). The presentation had come as a surprise to him. He never expected such a thing and was thankful to the friends on behalf of himself and his wife, for their kind thought and for the encouragement it gave them. A number of friends spoke very appreciatively of Mr Spencer's work at the Sunday school and church and the great help he was as a teacher. A number of solos etc were sung. Mrs Spencer before her marriage was Miss Graham (of Wythop?) and her only surviving sister and relative of the family now is Mrs Kelt of Great Broughton.  

Census Information kindly supplied by Mick Jane Joseph Spencer

Born 1834

1841 Halls, Bassenthwaite

1851 Scarness, Bassenthwaite Farm Labourer

Married at- Old Church, Bassenthwaite on Martinmas Saturday 1855

Wifes Name Dinah Graham Registration District, Cockermouth

1861 Land House, Low Netherscale, Embleton Farm Labourer

1871 Lowthwaite Side, Wythop

1881 Waver Bridge, Bolton High Woodman

1891 Waver Bridge, Bolton High Woodman

1901 Whitehall Lodge, Allhallows Wood Forester

1911 South Lodge, Whitehall Retired Forester


Above:  Potters' Lodge at Whitehall.

Below: Gardeners at Whitehall

The photograph to the left shows Mr Joseph Spencer and his wife Dinah on the occasion of their Golden Wedding in 1905 taken outside The Lodge at Whitehall where I presume they resided. This photograph was kindly sent to me by Ian Sanderson, the Spencer's great nephew, who tells me that his great uncle was a woodsman on the Whitehall Estate. There are several drives leading to Whitehall, each with its own Lodge or Gatehouse.

Ian Sanderson has kindly provided two newspaper cuttings one about Mr & Mrs Spencer's Golden Wedding and another giving an account of Mr Spencer's death in his 8oth year in 1913. According to one ofthese articles that Mr Spencer was originally employed on the Whitehall Estate by George Moore and after the death of George Moore in 1876 he continued working for George Moore's great nephew, Mr Parkin Moore who inherited Whitehall rom George Moore.

The family of Mr & Mrs Joseph Spencer

Children –

John Spencer 1856

Joseph Spencer 1859

William Spencer 1861

Martha Spencer 1866

George Spencer 1869

Sarah Jane Spencer 1871

Hannah Spencer 1873

Thomas Spencer 1878

Grandchild -

William Spencer 1894 Grandson Farm Servant

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