The Origins of Postman Pat

Many are aware that the tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter were Lake District inspired. Though less are familiar with the Lake District’s significance in the creation of Postman Pat. Sadly Pat’s creator and children’s writer John Cunliffe passed away last week.

It was in 1978 that Cunliffe brought the world Postman Pat, during his time living and teaching in the South Lakeland town of Kendal. The stories were modelled on the picturesque Longsleddale Valley in the heart of the Lake District, where hundreds of thousands of tourists now visit each year.

Initially Cunliffe wrote thirteen Postman Pat stories inspired by these country surroundings. Passionate about the area and the people in it, Cunliffe wanted to to reflect the kind, friendly community in his books. Some characters were based on people he knew, for example Mrs Thompson from Greendale farm was modelled on his mother in law. While other characters symbolised the local country folk he encountered. Cunliffe, with help from a well connected friend, travelled around the Lakes to meet farmers and locals to help bring to life his characters and their storylines.

Greendale’s post office was based on the cosy Beast Banks post office in Kendal near to where Cunliffe lived. This office was a vital part of Cunliffe’s research, particularly for the character Mrs Goggins. Unfortunately the post office closed in 2003, though visitors to the Lake District can see a commemorative plaque for Postman Pat along with the original post box outside the property on Greenside, Kendal.

Thinking about a visit to the Lake District soon? If you head to Longsleddale you are now sure to notice how the pretty landscape is reflected the famed fictional village of Greendale!

If you’re looking for a fantastic place to stay here in the Lake District, visit our hotel page, or our attractions page for more inspiration on what to do during your stay.

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