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Waterwitch pub

The Waterwitch pub used to be the stables for the horses who hauled the fast boats between Preston and Kendal. The packet boats were hauled by two horses, which were changed every four miles. Travelling at 41⁄2 miles per hour, passengers leaving Preston at 6am arrived in Kendal by 8pm.

Black and white photo of Waterwitch boat The Waterwitch, 1975, (C) Graham Hibbert

In April 1833 the Water Witch swift packet boat service was started. It had a thin iron hull and lightweight shelter for passengers, made from oil cloth stretched over curved ribs with gaps for windows. It reduced the 57 mile journey time to a remarkable 10 hours. The 30 miles between Lancaster and Preston could be covered in just 3 hours, travelling at 9-10 miles per hour.

Listen to Roger Carradice and Malcolm Taylor talk about the stables and the workload of the horses

Last date edited: 20 July 2015