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Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome   usually holds a walk for Heritage Open Days, fitting in with their yearly theme.  With Astounding Inventions, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity of celebrating the towns’ connections to Michael Faraday.  Every time you turn on a piece of electrical equipment, we should remember Faraday although, unless you have studied physics, chemistry, and environmental sciences, his long list of amazing discoveries and inventions may be unfamiliar to you.
James and elder brother Richard Faraday were born in Clapham, Yorkshire, and were both Christened at the Inghamite, Pear Tree Chapel, Kendal. The brothers moved to Kirkby Stephen and worshipped in the Sandemanian Chapel, now called Faraday House and established from a barn in 1761. They married sisters Mary and Margaret Hastwell from the congregation in a joint ceremony in 1777.

Richard built a Cotton Mill and dabbled in textile milling before handing the business over to his descendants.  Low Mill was later made into a Saw Mill and was ironically eventually converted to electricity, only stopping business a little while ago. James worked as an apprentice Blacksmith in nearby Outhgil, Mallerstang.  In the winter of 1790, James and Margaret moved to Newington Butts, Surrey (now part of the London Borough of Southwark), where Michael was born on 22nd September 1791.

Faraday stayed close to his Kirkby Stephen family with nieces and nephews visiting as shown in Census returns. When Back Lane was improved and widened, Kirkby Stephen Town Council named it Faraday Road. His independent religion and thought sustained him despite being poor and having little formal education.  He became a Sandemanian deacon and elder. Faraday initiated the Christmas Lectures that continue until today.

The Kirkby Stephen Faraday Connection walk will take place on Thursday 15th September and

there will also be a Faraday display at the Upper Eden Visitor Centre.   Kirkby Stephen  has an historical town trail and blue plaques celebrating ten building’s pasts. You can take time to enjoy the town’s heritage with Saxon and Viking artefacts all set in spectacular countryside.  

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