Two Keswick Arts And Cultural Organisations Benefit From Legacy Left By Dorothy Hind And Elizabeth Barraclough

Keswick Museum and Theatre by the Lake are grateful to have been remembered by Dorothy Hind and Elizabeth Barraclough in their wills. Both organisations will benefit from this legacy, which reflects their lifelong commitment to the arts and culture of the local area.

It was when studying history at Manchester University that Dorothy met her partner of 68 years Elizabeth Barraclough. Dorothy trained as a social worker, working for local authorities across the Northeast before finally settling and working for the charity Barnardo’s. Elizabeth headed Newcastle University’s computer department where she had started work in 1957.

After Dorothy’s parents died, in 1975, she and Elizabeth bought a house in Keswick which provided a welcome weekend retreat from very busy careers and eventually a permanent home for their retirement in 1993. Both women became key players and participants in so many activities and projects, Dorothy and Elizabeth were well known in many social circles in Keswick - Keswick U3A, Keswick in Bloom, Sustainable Keswick, even Cricket played its part in a very busy calendar for them both.

Having made the permanent move to Keswick, Dorothy was able to spend more time on her interest in local history - being involved in the long struggle to get the Keswick Museum established as a viable organisation when Allerdale Borough Council were no longer able to support it and eventually taking over the not so small task of cataloguing some of the huge archive at Keswick Museum - finishing the task of indexing records just before she died.

Dorothy's other main interest was Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake. She was actively involved in the effort to create the theatre in the 1990s, and even volunteered at the Blue Box before TBTL’s doors opened in 1999. She worked as a ticket checker, usher, programme vendor, front of house manager and has helped sell sweets and ice cream – she was a much loved and valued member of the team.

Chair of the Keswick Museum’s Board of Trustees, Clare Poulter said “We are immensely grateful for Dorothy’s many years of passionate support as an ambassador and a volunteer and now as a very generous benefactor. Dorothy’s generous legacy will allow us to consider even more ambitious exhibitions and events for both our local communities and our visitors.

Dorothy appreciated the important role Keswick Museum’s plays as a centre for local culture and history and in the many years she gave us as a volunteer she helped the museum to conserve and celebrate our rich heritage making it possible for us to share our collections and stories for the enjoyment, education and inspiration for all who visited us.

Cultural organisations like Keswick Museum are facing challenging times and look to our visitors, funders, donors, supporters and communities to help us to continue to be here for our community.

Dorothy’s bequest is a wonderful way for her to be remembered and for her to continue to contribute to something we all value even when she is no longer here to enjoy it. We are delighted to be able to name a gallery in Dorothy’s memory, a lasting memory of a woman who loved and was loved by Keswick.”

Liz Stevenson, Artistic Director of TBTL said ““Dorothy and Elizabeth were great supporters of Theatre by the Lake. Both served as front of house volunteers for many years and were very committed and loyal with great enthusiasm for the theatre. They are fondly remembered by the customer experience team and audiences alike for their positivity, welcoming and warm personalities, which made them such a valuable part of the large team of stewards that we rely upon to help ensure our shows run smoothly.

Elizabeth also served as a Trustee from 2004-08, during the early years of Theatre by the Lake and in the aftermath of Foot and Mouth, which had such a devastating impact upon tourism in the Town, taking many years to recover. During this period, the Trustees had to take a strong lead in navigating a very tough economic situation to ensure that the theatre survived. She also served as a director of our subsidiary company TBTL Services Ltd from 2014-21 during which time the café was built and opened, providing a crucial income stream to support the sustainability of the theatre.

This gift, left in the wills of these two great supporters of Keswick culture, is all the more valuable as we emerge from another crisis, that of Covid. Their generosity has eased the pressure that we, along with all other theatres, face as we tackle the challenges associated with rebuilding audiences against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis. As people who loved the theatre through good and difficult times, I am sure that they would be pleased to see that they have been able to make such a fundamental difference to its future.

Our thoughts are, of course, with the families of Elizabeth and Dorothy, and we cannot express enough our sincere gratitude for this generous support.” 

Keswick Museum from Fitz Park
Keswick Museum from Fitz Park
Theatre by the Lake
Theatre by the Lake