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Penrith is an important market main town to the north-east of Lake District, just outside the boundary of the National Park and located on both the old A6 road to Scotland and the modern M6 motorway. I especially like the photograph below because it illustrates what I remember from my own childhood in the 1950s, the period in which horse-drawn vehicles still mixed freely with cars and lorries in the middle of towns.

The second photograph here looks much further back in time, not only to 1893 when the picture was taken, but to the end of the 14th century when Penrith Castle was built to defend this part of northern England against the Scots. In the following century it was the subject of a major "house conversion" to provide a luxurious residence for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became Richard III, but during the 17th century civil war it was badly damaged and fell into ruin. It is now in the care of English Heritage.

Another castle nearby is Lowther Castle, but this is nowhere near so ancient, having been built in the early 19th century as a residence for the wealthy Earls of Lonsdale. After a hundred years or more of prosperity it fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century and in the 1950s lost its roof. Now, however, there is a major restoration project in progress.

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