Braithwaite Village Shop has been part of the local community since the 1830s and is still going strong, under the leadership of the Eddington family.
Daphne Eddington and her family have run the store – a cornerstone of village life – for the last 17 years, and during 2020 she has been determined to continue as a vital part of the Braithwaite community.
During the current lockdown, Daphne has opened her shop from 8-30am to 5.30pm six days a week, and 8.30am to 2pm on Sundays to provide her loyal customers with everything from household staples to craft beers and locally baked bread and cakes.
The previous lockdown, from the end of March through to the beginning of July, was difficult for Daphne, who had to self-isolate to look after a vulnerable family member. However, the village community spirit came into its own as an army of volunteers stepped in to set up a rota to keep the shop running over the three-month period.
Daphne said: “I couldn’t believe how kind and supportive everyone was. They even set up a delivery service for the elderly people in the village.
After undertaking a renovation project in 2015, Daphne has been able to significantly extend the range of products available in the shop, adding a wide variety of new lines including hot and cold snacks, ice creams and a new selection of cakes.
There are also tables and chairs outside the shop where people can take in the view and tranquil environment while enjoying their refreshments.
Daphne took over the shop in 2003, after moving from South London to the Keswick area with her husband Richard and their four children.
She said: “I am originally from the North East and Braithwaite was always where I came on holiday as a child. I couldn’t think of a better place to live and bring up my children.”
Initially the couple had decided to continue work in their London-based jobs remotely, however, soon after they arrived in Keswick they were involved in a car accident and began looking for a change in career path.
Ian Hindmarch, who had run the shop all his life having taken over the reins from his mum, was due to retire and Daphne said: “Running the village shop just seemed right for our family.”
She said: “We have loved the life, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. In the storms of 2015 the shop was flooded and had to be gutted. During renovations much of the history of the old building was removed and it became a shiny new shop.
“I was determined to put some of the history back into it and the idea of a Heritage Trail and a book of the history of the shop, village and surrounding area was born.”
Daphne has been working with local people to create a community hub and show the store’s heritage, and story boards now cover the walls of the shop revealing some of Braithwaite’s history.
The story of the village shop begins in 1831 when it was owned by James Clark and Daniel Gibson. Myles Farrer, a grocer and tea merchant, acquired the store in the 1860s and passed it onto his son. By 1925 Robert Hindmarch, a miner at nearby Force Crag, and Letty Strong had taken over.
This marked the beginning of the Hindmarch family’s long connection with the shop.
Other storyboards include the history of mining in the area, which dates back centuries, and life in and around the village, when hound trailing and fox hunting were popular pastimes.
Daphne added: “New pieces of the area’s history are still being revealed and I have a laptop full of information which, once the pandemic is over, I will use for new panels for the shop and a second book.”