Died 24th Febuary 2017.
Pete was born on 30th April 1945 at Brampton Cottage Hospital, the only son of Joe and Ruth Brown. Before she met and married Joe, Ruth had moved to Castle Carrock from Devon to help run the Duke of Cumberland. Joe was still away in the army when Pete was born so when Ruth and he came out of hospital on VE day they went home to the Duke of Cumberland.
Their first home as a family was at Garth Hill. They lived there until Joe started working at The Waterworks when they got the Middle House on the works. While they were at Garth Hill there was always a pig being reared and Ruth used to tell tales of how protective the pig was of toddler Pete. It would come running and squealing if he hurt himself.
Pete went to Castle Carrock school, then at 11 to the Greig School in Carlisle for his secondary education.If he’d had a choice he would have left school at 11! As it was he always said that one of the best days of his life was the day he left at 15. He loved his time out of school and often used to relate the pranks he and his friends in the village got up to and took delight in telling people that one older gentleman in the village called him a juvenile “detergent”. The annual family holiday involved long trips on the train from Carlisle to Exeter to spend time with his cousins around Dartmoor and the South Devon coast.
During his time at Garth Hill and later, Pete spent a lot of time with Tom and Joan Moore at Garth Foot farm. As a school boy he helped at the farm, developing an interest in farming, and his first job on leaving school was with Tom. In his late teens he moved to work on The Waterworks with his father and one of his memories was of having to wear wooden clogs for work. During his time there he developed a comprehensive knowledge of the water system from Geltsdale to the Castle Carrock works and beyond. This was put to good use at the reservoir centenary celebrations in July 2009 when he was one of the guides.
Pete always spent a lot of his time outdoors and developed a love and tremendous knowledge of the local countryside and wildlife. He was a keen on fishing and shooting but in later years he became more interested in watching wildlife than killing it. He loved walking the local fells, rivers and countryside with the dog and never really wanted to go further afield, he enjoyed being able to walk for hours and not see anyone and wanted to keep it that way! He often said that if public toilets ever came to Castle Carrock that would be the thin end of the wedge.
As a young man he spent quite a bit of his time drinking at the Duke of Cumberland and it was through acquaintances there that he got his next job which was with Gascoigne, Gush and Dent who were based in Penrith and installed milking equipment. Through this job he quickly became a very competent plumber, electrician and welder and he worked for them until May 1968 when he left for Australia under the immigration scheme (a Ten Pound Pom), choosing to fly out there with Quantas stopping off at Bahrain and Singapore, quite a journey for someone who’d never been out of the UK. Pete often marvelled at the fact that the journey only took 24 hours then which was very little more than the flying time over 50 years later. He lived and worked in Western Australia with his base in Perth with the Blacklock family, one of whom was an old girlfriend, who had previously emigrated from Lockerbie. The work was varied, starting on construction sites and moving on to farms in the wheat belt and finally to the newly developing iron ore mines at Mount Tom Price and Mount Newman where he worked on the construction of the Mount Newman railway. It was at the mines that he started driving bulldozers and diggers, this turned into a life-long passion which was rekindled after he retired when Eddie and Jonny Wannop bought the quarry at Faugh and he started driving bulldozers again (his ideal way to spend a day). Pete came home from Australia in December 1970, after 21/2 years out there, in this time he wrote the sum total of one letter and made one phone call home!
Pete had intended to stay at home for around 6 months and go back to Perth later in 1971 but while he was home he got rather distracted! He met Trish at a dance at the Cosmo club in Carlisle and took her home to Brampton in his mini-van that first evening. On the way home he stopped at Low Gelt bridge, got out of the car, jumped over the wall beside the bridge and disappeared. Trish assumed that he was caught short but she didn’t know Pete, he was actually checking the water in the river for fishing next day. Trish was soon to discover that cars were another passion, driving them and doing any sort of mechanical work. He liked nothing better than going as fast as he could, on a clear road he could get from Castle Carrock to Tree Road in Brampton to pick up Trish in just over 3 minutes. There were tales of him driving his car down Warwick Road weaving in and out of the trees on the pavement and he also managed to drive his mini-van up the front steps of Gelt Hall one night.
Pete and Trish were married in August 1973 at St Martin’s church in Brampton, the reception was held in Castle Carrock village hall with the Duke of Cumberland doing the catering. For nearly 18 months their first home was a shepherd’s cottage at Geltsdale (Pete’s dream location) before they bought a house on Rectory Road in December 1974. By this time Pete was back with Gascoigne milking machines working all over the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, he also spent time in Holland and France (but had little time for French farmers). He eventually moved from Gascoigne to an American company and continued to work in the UK but also spent time in Chicago where the company was based. He was quite happy to spend 2 or 3 weeks at a time over there but always refused to go to weekend sales conferences in Florida as he thought it was too far to travel for a couple of days. He progressed with the company to become divisional manager for Northern England and Scotland. Eventually, due to a downturn in the dairy industry, Pete decided to move out of the industry rather than move the family to Basingstoke. The last 12 years of his working life were spent at Clive Walton Engineering in Cumrew, where he developed his interest in precision engineering and he soon had his own metal lathe at home. While he was working at Cumrew he finally got the motorbike he’d always wanted and used it to get to work every day.
The family grew with Lorna being born in October 1977 and Linsey in March 1979. In December 1995 they moved from Rectory Road to Victoria Cottage and here, with the extra space, Pete was able to build his dream workshop. He soon had a car lift and lathe installed and a small room for his electronics projects. He was a good mechanic and there wasn’t much he couldn’t sort out as far as a car engine was concerned. He often had someone at the door asking for help with a sick car or needing something made on his metal lathe and other metalworking equipment. He would make anything from metal, seeing every new project as a challenge, and would spend hours on his computer researching and learning. Wood, on the other hand, was not his favourite medium and if he did try anything with wood the air in his workshop was almost guaranteed to turn blue and tools would often be sent flying. He spent a lot of time in his workshop and often listened to his favourite Country and Western music while he was working, he had very little time for watching television and would rather be doing something active. At Victoria Cottage Trish got the big garden she’d dreamed of and although Pete never claimed to be a lover of gardening he always worked hard to make sure that everything outside was kept tidy and was often seen cutting and edging the lawns, stopping to chat to anyone who happened to be going past.
Despite leaving school with no formal qualifications he developed a fantastic knowledge of engineering and electronics, he always had a project on the go and was always keen to learn more. He wasn’t a great reader but could get lost in a technical manual and despite a lot of grumbling about computers and saying that they never did what he wanted he was always accessing on-line tutorials and it was very seldom that a problem got the better of him. He did, though, achieve one qualification while working in the milking equipment industry. In 1993 he was very embarrassed to receive the first ever certificate of technical competence (certificate number M0001) awarded by the Milking Machine Manufacturers Association, he had to go the Farmers Club in Whitehall to receive his award and there was even an article in the Cumberland News about him.
Pete was a family man who would do anything for Trish and the girls, if they were happy he was happy. He wanted the girls to have their own lives, he encouraged them to be independent and he was very proud of what they both achieved. The girls remembered going to lots of agricultural shows with Dad’s job and also the family holidays, they loved the ski trips and especially remembered the trip to Lake Tahoe for Pete’s 60th birthday. Ski holidays were always great fun despite the fact that Dad never quite mastered the emergency stop when skiing. Pete always tried to make sure that the girls got what they wanted, he indulged Linsey’s passion for horses and bought her a horse when he felt she was old enough to look after it. Lorna didn’t want a horse but instead Pete bought her the old VW Beetle she wanted when she passed her driving test, much to Lorna’s dismay the car only lasted a couple of years and developed problems that even Pete couldn’t fix. He resisted buying a dog until the family moved to Victoria Cottage but when she arrived he was just as smitten by her as the girls were.
Once Pete and Trish retired in 2010 they did a lot of travelling. There were a number of trips to Dubai to visit Linsey, who was working out there, as well as long trips to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Pete didn’t do cities and city visits were usually limited to half a day but he loved exploring the countryside and watching wildlife. He loved his time on game parks in South Africa and delighted in getting up close with wildlife here and in Australia and New Zealand. In 2013 there was a 5 month trip and the highlight for Pete was taking an off-road campervan across the top of Australia on the Gibb River Road, one of the old cattle roads. In 2015 there was another trip south of the equator to visit family and friends in Australia and also to Fiji which he loved. His last trip was to Denmark in late 2016 to visit Lorna and her partner Phil who just had moved out there to live. In Copenhagen they did a city tour on segways which Pete really enjoyed and, typically, the first day he returned home he was researching how they worked and how he could make one, sadly this last project didn’t come to fruition as he became seriously ill very soon after.
Pete was a quiet, private person who was happy in his own company but who could be very sociable, a countryman, an engineer and devoted family man who was kind and caring and would help anyone. He was open-minded but never liked to conform, he delighted in winding people up and would often say something contentious just to see the reaction. He had a dry, sometimes very naughty, sense of humour but was always a gentleman who had a ready smile.
He started his life in Castle Carrock at the Duke of Cumberland and one of his last wishes was that everyone would say goodbye to him there after his funeral which they certainly did in style.
He will be missed by all his family and friends and everyone who would come to see him with a little project for him to do in his workshop.