At the beginning of the 20th century Britain saw the end of the Victorian Age and the start of the extravagant and heady Edwardian period with King Edward VII on the Throne. This was all to change and two World Wars left Britain declining as a world power with its empire dissolving.
The wars left millions dead and no community is without its poignant War Memorial.
The nation had to adjust in the latter half of the century with its decline in status and the loss of many of its traditional industries in mining and manufacturing.
There were tremendous advances in medicine, housing, farming and working conditions. In the field of technology there were more advances than were ever thought possible at the beginning of the century.
Farming experienced a revolution in mechanisation with far fewer people working on the land. The numbers of individual farms reduced during the century whilst productivity increased dramatically.
This century also produced a revolution in transportation, both commercial and private, with the development of the internal combustion engine and the emergence of a road network as the prime means of travel. There were major road building programmes during the second half of the century with a motorway system being established nationwide and many by-passes constructed. Advances in transportation had profound changes in employment. The greater mobility given to the population changed where we worked, where we lived, and how we shopped.
Temple Sowerby reflected much of what was happening nationally.
The two World Wars, 1914/18 and 1939/45, affected the village in the same way as many villages throughout Great Britain. The dreadful loss of life is reflected in the memorials in the Parish Church, Wesleyan Chapel and Victory Hall.
As mentioned in the section on the Parish Church, evacuees came to the village from Newcastle-on-Tyne and friendships formed still exist today.
During the 1939/45 War the iron railings around the Churchyard, as well as from some other properties in the village, were removed to help the war effort.
Also during this war the local Home Guard had a shooting range by the River Eden at Oglebird Scar and evidence of this can still be seen by two matching, fairly large, holes in the red sandstone where hundreds of bullets – 303 and sten gun – did their damage.
Before nationwide county boundary changes Temple Sowerby was in the County of Westmorland. In 1974 the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland were combined to form the greater part of the new County of Cumbria.
Electrification of the village was completed just before Christmas 1947 when Park House Farm(85) was connected.
Building continued to develop and the use of more modern building materials is evident.
A residential estate was built at Croft Place(97) by the local Council in the 1940s. It has been enlarged twice, once in the 1950s and again in the 1970s, some of these are now privately owned. A private residential development (7779) opposite the Kings Arms Hotel commenced in the late 1990s and a further private development is planned in the field behind Eden Garage.
Many trades and industries have come and gone in the village during the 20th century. The advent of the personal computer and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) has greatly improved business operations and has meant that more and more businesses can be run from domestic premises. Temple Sowerby today has examples of such businesses.
As you walk around the village today you can see reminders of the past in many of the house names – Smithy House(60), Tannery Cottages(28,29) Joiners Yard and Black Swan House(53) are all examples of present day names which reflect the nature of the village in the past.
Although the village lost its railway (in 1962), it is just seven miles from the main west coast line railway at Penrith. The Carlisle to Settle and Leeds railway can be joined at either Langwathby or Appleby. There is also a good road communication with the A66 linking closely to the M6 motorway at Penrith.
Due to the development of road transportation, the more efficient movement of goods and the increased mobility of the village population has meant that many of the businesses and trades have now gone.
Farmers were major employers along with Thomas McGhie & Sons at Acorn Bank Mine, Birks Mine and Kirkby Thore Mine. The small village tradesmen also employed two or three workers.
Twentieth century Temple Sowerby has been a lively and busy community which has seen many changes without losing its character and sense of identity. The people of the village and surrounding area have joined together in a variety of social and cultural events.