I think that very few people who have been to our offices in Kendal could fail to be impressed with the ‘elegant Edwardian gentleman’s residence’ which is Shenstone House.
The date stone above the front door suggests that the house was built in 1907 and probably for a branch of the Waterhouse family who were very prominent in Liverpool. Certainly, the census of 1911 tells us that the house was then occupied by Miss Sarah Maria Waterhouse, the unmarried sister of Dr Charles Waterhouse.
Dr Waterhouse, who had been educated at the Quaker School in Kendal, moved to Austria where he met and married his wife, Cecile. They were living in Vienna when their son Arved was born in October 1891.
Arved is not a name often heard, it is of Scandinavian or Germanic origin and in Old Norse means “eagle tree” and in Old English means “friend of the people”.
It is not clear if Dr Waterhouse and his wife ever returned to England but what is certain is that by 1901 young Arved was living with his aunt, Sarah Maria and her sister, Edith, and her husband in a rather grand house in Liverpool. Both of Arved’s parents had died before he reached the age of nine years.
By 1910 both Edith and her husband had died and Arved came to live at Shenstone along with Sarah Maria. He had been educated privately and in the Michaelmas term of 1910 he went up to Oriel College, Oxford to read Modern History. He graduated in 1913 and then in June 1914 he was awarded a Diploma in Economics.
He was clearly a young man of no mean intelligence and enjoyed outdoor pursuits including golf, he was a member of both Kendal and Windermere golf clubs, and tennis and was awarded a prize for sculling whilst at Oxford.
In the summer of 1914 the old world was about to change for ever. On 28th June the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. His death is generally regarded as the pivotal event which led to the outbreak of the First World War in August.
No-one could imagine the catastrophe that was about to strike and hardly a family in the land would not be directly affected by the war.
We will see how the Waterhouse family fared as my research progresses...