Is bounded on the west by the Solway Firth; on the south by Harrington; on the east by the Marron, which separates it from the parishes of Brigham and Dean; and on the north by the Derwent, which divides it from the parish of Camerton. It covers an area of about nine square miles and contains the following townships :- Stainburn, Winscales, Workington Urban and Workington Rural. The parish is situated in Allerdale-above-Derwent ward; and the union of Cockermouth; it forms the head of a petty sessional and electoral division, and with Cockermouth gives name to a deanery, and county court district.
The commons of Workington and Winscales were enclosed in pursuance of an Act of Parliament passed in 1809, and those of Stainburn by an Act passed in 1812. Under these Acts allottments of land were given instead of tithes. Along the coast a tract of light, sandy land extends, but eastward the soil in some places consists of a fertile loam, in others it is inclined to moss.
The Manor of Workington, together
with that of Lamplugh, was given by William de Lancaster in exchange for Middleton, in
Westmorland, to Gospatric, son of Orme, brother-in-law of Waltheof, lord of Allerdale.
Thomas, son of Waltheof, having a grant of the great lordship of Culwen, in Galloway, his
posterity assumed the name of De Culwen, subsequently changed to Curwen, and continued to
hold the manor of Workington until almost our own times. On the death of Sir Patricus
Curwen, in 1669, without male issue, the baronetcy lapsed; he was succeeded by his brother
Henry, at whose death, being childless, the manor and estates, by virtue of the
settlement, reverted to another branch of the family, the children of Darcy Curwen, of
Sella Park. On the death of Henry Curwen, Esq., in 1778, he left one daughter, to whom he
devised the manor in strict settlement. Miss Isabella Curwen, the last of the race,
married her cousin, John Christian, of Unerigg Hall, who, in 1790, assumed the name of
Limestone and freestone are quarried in the
parish, but coal, which in former years was produced in great abundance, has ceased to be
worked on Mr. Curwen's estate. The Whitehaven and Maryport, the Workington and
Cockermouth, and the Workington and Cleator railways run through the parish. A Roman road,
connecting the station at Moresby, near Whitehaven, with that at Ellenborough, near
Maryport, is supposed to have gone through the parish, and at Borough Walls the remains of
a camp have been discovered. In 1852, the workpeople employed by Mr. Jackson, of Seaton
Mill, while digging about the foundations of the walls, for the purpose of draining the
land around, met with several Roman altars in a dilapidated state, also pieces of Roman
pottery and hand millstones for grinding corn. Some human skeletons were also unearthed,
which, on being exposed to the air, crumbled to dust. The town is situated at the mouth of
the river Derwent, five miles S.S.W. of Maryport, seven miles N. by E. of Whitehaven,
eight miles W. by S. of Cockermouth, and thirty-three from Carlisle. In 1840 the first Act
of Parliament for the local government of the town was obtained, by which a Board of
Improvement Commissioners, known as the Workington Town Trustees, was instituted. In 1864,
the Public Health and Sanitary Acts were adopted by the Trustees, and the local government
authority became known by the title of Local Board. Thus matters remained until 1887,
when, owing to the increase in population and commercial importance, Workington was
created a municipal borough by Royal Charter. Perhaps no town in England has risen so
rapidly in importance during the last few years; in 1860, the ratable value was £8,113;
in 1870, £17,203; in 1880, £22,173; in 1890, £58,268; whilst at the present time
(including the district of North Side, added to
Workington was anciently spelt Wyrekinton, Wyrekenton, and Wyrekington. Etymologists differ as to the origin of the name, while some derive the name from Wyre, a small rivulet which falls into the sea near Harrington. Mr. Ferguson, late M.P. for Carlisle, thinks that the original name was Wokington, from the Wokings, a family or clan found elsewhere in England; whence the name Woking in Surrey. Kemble says that the earliest Saxon occupation of England was preceded by little clans or families, of which ing, signifying son or descendant, was the characteristic sign in place of names, whence Workington. So far the etymologists. Leland, who was chaplain to Henry VIII, speaks of Workington as a place "where shyppes cum to wher ys a little prety fyssher town cauled Wyrkinton, and there is the chef house of Sir Thomas Curwyn." Hutchinson says that Workington was anciently "the chief-haven of the County of Cumberland" yet about 1590, "all the vessels Cumberland could put to sea amounted only to ten and their mariners to 198."
The shipping of this Port has varied considerably during the past century. Pennant says that about 1770, there were 97 vessels; twenty years later 160, averaging about 130 tons; in 1810, 134 ships, aggregate tonnage, 18,094; in 1822, 117 ships, tonnage the same; in 1828, 126 ships, tonnage, 19,930; in 1842, 95 ships, tonnage, 17,621. In 1898 there were 1,248 arrivals with a tonnage of 190,530.
A fine spacious bridge of three elliptic arches erected by Mr. Thomas Nelson, spans the Derwent to the north of Workington Hall. This bridge replaced the old one, an exceedingly dangerous structure, in 1841. About a mile from Workington, towards Harrington there is an old building, generally known as the Old Chapel, and called by mariners How Michael. Pennant thinks that it was originally "a watch tower to mark the inroads of the Scots in their naval inroads. Others, that it was a Chantry Chapel dating from the reign of Elizabeth. However this may be, it is still useful to mariners, from its conspicuous situation on the high land near the shore, as a landmark. It is used as a magazine by the Artillery Corps, who have a battery for practice close to.
CHURCHES AND CHAPELS. - The Parish
Church is dedicated in honour of St. Michael. It was given, says an ancient
authority, by Ketel, Baron of Kendal, to the Abbey of St. Mary, at York. In 1534, the
Abbot of St. Mary's presented it to the Rectory. After sundry changes, in the reign of
Elizabeth, 1564, the right of patronage of the Church was conveyed to Henry Curwen, Esq.,
in whose family it has since remained. It seems impossible to trace with aught of
certainty the origin of this church. It was rebuilt in 1770, and considerably enlarged,
the only portion of the ancient fabric preserved being the low square tower at the west
end. The church was destroyed by fire in 1887, and was rebuilt on the same lines, the
walls of the old tower being slightly raised and adorned with battlements and pinnacles.
It contains a peal of six bells. The total cost of the restoration exceeded £7,000.
Instead of the old round-headed windows, Gothic tracery has been introduced. The pulpit is
a very handsome one of Caen stone and marble,
St. John's Church. - This church is situated at the upper end of the town, and was erected in 1823 by the commissioners for building churches. It has a fine portico of the Doric style, the entablature of which is supported by four massive pillars; in other respects it is architecturally a failure. It is said that St. John's closely resembles the church of St. Paul, Covent Garden, London, and certainly, if this church is really a copy of St. Paul's, the architect displayed very bad taste in selecting his model. The building cost £10,000, an immense sum for the period. Jefferson says: "Its miserable masonry and unecclesiastical style of architecture offers a sad contrast to those appropriate edifices which the more correct taste of our ancestors erected for Divine worship." This pretty accurately describes what most people who have any pretensions to speak on the subject would say. In 1835, by the order of the Privy Council, the parish was ecclesiastically divided into two districts; one of which was assigned to the mother church, and the other to St. John's. By passing of Lord Blandford's Act in 1856, St. John's is now, for all church purposes, a separate and distinct parish. In 1846 a tower was added to the church, at a cost of £1,700. During the time of the cholera, in 1849, the churchyard was enlarged to its present size; but, as in the case of St. Michael's, since the opening of the new cemetery, Harrington Road, only those who have had relatives interred in this churchyard are now buried in it. There are several fine monuments in this burying ground.
The church is endowed with £128, and the living valued at about £350. The rents of the pews in the gallery form the vicar's stipend (those on the ground area are free). The present vicar is the Rev. R.S. Greene, assisted by two curates.
St. John's Parish Room was erected in 1881, at a cost of £580, and is fitted to hold about 400. It is used as a Sunday school, for a religious service on week-day evenings, and literary lectures, etc.
St. Mary's Church, Westfield, is a chapel-of-ease to St. John's.
The Catholic Church. - In 1811 a
monk of the Order of St. Benedict was appointed to the charge of a mission here. J.C.
Curwen gave a site for a church, and soon a church was built and a house for the priest.
The great influx of Irishmen to the ironworks in the vicinity rendered it necessary to
have a larger building. The Rev. C.W. Clifton, who was then in charge of the mission,
exerted himself most energetically and successfully in the matter. The present church is
situated in a hollow eastwards from the old one, and the site unfortunately does not show
it to advantage. The architect was the late Edward W. Pugin, of London. It was opened for
worship in 1876. It has seating accommodation for over 800. The total cost of the building
and its surroundings amounted to £11,000. The style is Early English, and it may fairly
be said to be one of the
The Presbyterian Church. - This congregation was formed in 1742, and a chapel built in 1750. It was enlarged in 1858 to accommodate about 300, but again becoming inadequate to meet the needs of the increasing congregation, the old chapel was entirely demolished in 1888, and the present edifice erected on the same site. The house known as Ivy Brae, was purchased in 1899 as a minister's residence. Commodious Sunday schools were erected in St. John's Court in 1873.
The Independent Chapel was erected in 1780, re-modelled and enlarged in 1855, and rebuilt in 1884. A fine building has of recent years been erected in the rear of the chapel for use as a Sunday school.
The Wesleyan Chapel. - The first chapel belonging to this denomination was erected in 1791 in Tiffin Lane. This was superseded by a larger one in South William Street in 1840, and this being burnt down in 1889, a large handsome building, with tower, was erected on the site in 1890. Behind it is a large Sunday school, containing six class-rooms, lecture hall, and kitchen on the ground floor; on the upper floor a large schoolroom and library. Total cost of church and school, £7,500.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, in John Street, is a handsome structure in the Gothic style, seating about 500 people comfortably in the area and gallery. The cost of the building was £2,000. A school-room extends under the whole area of the chapel, and with the recently added infants' school in the rear, affords accommodation for 400 Sunday school scholars. The congregation was founded in 1823; the first chapel built in 1827; and the present serviceable premises erected in 1882.
The Baptist Chapel, in Harrington Road, was built in 1886, after many fruitless efforts on the part of a few zealous members of that body had been made to establish the religion in Workington. A Sunday school was opened in 1890.
The United Methodist Free Church is a fine stone building, in Victoria Road.
There are also other Nonconformist places of worship, viz: The Wesleyan Mission Halls, in Queen Street and Westfield; the Central Hall, the Gospel Hall, and the Salvation Mission Hall. The Seamen's Christian Friends' Society, Bethel, is situated on the Quay side. The Christian Brethren hold their meetings in the Dent Hall. The Salvation Army Barracks are in Edkin Street.
CHARITIES. - In 1816, Miss Jane Scott bequeathed the sum of £800 stock 5 per cent, the interest to be given to 16 poor women (40s. each). This is now distributed in sums of £2 each to 10 poor women on New Year's Day. Jackson's Bequest. - In 1826, Robert Jackson made a bequest of a like sum for the same object. The interest is distributed in sums of £1 to 12 poor women on New Year's Day. The principal of this charity has diminished to about one half. Miss Falcon's Charity divides the interest of an investment (£21) equally among 12 poor women at Christmas. Mr. Priestman's Bequest yields £2 to 12 poor people on New Year's Day. Mr. Leathes' Charity; £2 to 18 poor people at Christmas. Mrs. H. Scott's Charity; £3 to 6 poor people on New Year's Day.
Schools. - St. John's Board School consists of a spacious block of buildings containing three departments, with a respective accommodation of - boys, 241; girls, 300; infants, 302. St. Michael's also has three departments, with a similar accommodation. Marsh Side, three departments; accommodation - boys and girls, 153; infants, 250. Westfield, two departments, mixed and infants. Victoria Road, three departments, computed to hold about 320 each. The Higher Grade School is situated in Guard Street; the whole of the Technical Instruction, Science and Art, and Manual subjects is under the control of the committee, consisting of members of the Board, Town Council, etc. Connected with this school is a Pupil Teachers' Centre, for the instruction of pupil teachers under the Board. There are other schools not connected with the Board. The one at the head of the town is conducted by Mr. Harkness; another, off Jane Street, by Mr. Whittaker. The Catholic School, in Bank Road, conducted by the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul, contains two departments, mixed and infants.
Cemeteries. - There are two cemeteries adjoining the town - the Bank Cemetery for Catholics, and the Harrington Road Cemetery. The latter - that is the portion set apart for members of the Anglican Church - was consecrated by the Bishop of Carlisle; and the late Charles Litt, Esq., of Stainburn, was the, first interred there, February 19, 1879. Owing to the free ground in Bank Cemetery being filled up, a section of the latter burial ground has been set apart for the use of Catholics.
The Police Office is situated in Nook Street. Petty sessional meetings are held here.
The Market, built on the site of the old Slaughter House, is of a triangular form, off Portland Street. The upper part of the roof is covered with glass. It was opened in 1861, and contains 21 stalls, but is much too small to meet the requirements of the town. Market days, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Banks. - There are four banks in the town; the Cumberland Union, which is the oldest; the Whitehaven, and the Clydesdale, in Pow Street; and the London City and Midland, in the Market Place. All the banks are handsome buildings, and ornaments to the town.
Public Halls. - The Drill Hall, or Assembly Room, in Portland Square, is the headquarters of the 1st V. Batt. Border Regiment, K. Company. The Albert Hall, in Fisher Street, and the Public Hall, Hag Hill, are the chief places for auction sales, concerts, etc. The latter is situated in the centre of the town, and has all the requirements necessary for a first-class hall; size of room, 106ft. by 37ft.; stage, 35ft. by 22ft. The Jubilee Hall or Queen's Opera House was built in 1887. It is a large and commodious building, with accommodation for 2,000 people. It is the property of the Liberal Club, whose rooms adjoin the Opera House.
The Theatre is in Washington Street, and was built by Mr. George J. Smith, the present proprietor. It was first opened in 1866, and is capable of containing 700. At first it was called the Lyceum; now its title is Theatre Royal. It is neat, comfortable house, and is open for performances every winter, with a good company. The late Charles Matthews and Charles Dillon have performed upon its boards.
The Free Library and Reading Room is situated in Pow Street, in the Savings Bank buildings. It was opened in 1891, and contains a good supply of books and newspapers. Twenty-five pounds yearly is paid by the Harrington Urban Council to the library, and a supply of books is forwarded every week to Harrington, for the use of the residents there. The Savings Bank business is still carried on in the building; also meetings, etc.
The Workington Dispensary was established in 1828, and is designed to afford relief to the sick and infirm poor of the town and neighbourhood. Dr. Sherwin of Enfield, Middlesex, and afterwards of Bath, left the sum of £1,750 for the Dispensary after the death of the last of his annuitants. In 1859 the last of these died, and the aforesaid sum was to transferred to the rector and church-wardens, to be applied in accordance with the will. For several years the annual income of the institution was £70 per annum; now it is £55 per annum. The report for 1898-9 gives the total number of cases treated during the year as 70, of which 54 were cured; left on books, 6; relieved, 10. The Dispensary is managed by a committee of twelve. Dr. John Highet is surgeon-in-ordinary.
The Infirmary, opened on November 29th, 1886, is supported entirely by voluntary contributions, most of the workmen from the neighbouring ironworks paying 1d. a week. In 1898 these takings alone amounted to over £1,000. The building contains three wards, with twenty-four beds; the nursing staff consists of a matron and day and night nurse. The report for the year ending December 31st, 1898, gives as the total number of cases treated during the year 160; of these 144 were discharged cured, 12 relieved, 22 died, 12 remaining in hospital. The doctors of the town give their services voluntarily.
The Water Supply of Workington. - The first waterworks were constructed in 1858-9 by Thomas Hawkesley, Esq., engineer. The water was then raised from the Derwent into a reservoir behind the old Hall at Stainburn, whence after filtration it was conveyed to the town in pipes. Two engines pumped the water to the higher level. In 1878-9 Workington, Cockermouth and the Rural Sanitary Authority by their governing bodies, procured a water Supply from Crummock by gravitation, distant from Workington 16 miles, and the pipe is of sufficient size to give 1,200,000 gallons per day. The entire cost of the scheme was £32,000. Of this sum Cockermouth had to pay one-seventh, Rural Sanitary Authority two-sevenths, and the Workington Board four-sevenths. In 1883 an Act of Parliament was passed enabling the Local Board to take water from the river Derwent for the supply of the large iron and steel works for trade purposes. The cost of the scheme was £22,000, and the pipe is capable of carrying a quantity of 5,000,000 gallons daily. The Workington Corporation Act, 1899, was obtained, in addition to extending the Borough, principally for improving the domestic water supply, which has recently been quite inadequate. By this Act the Joint works of Cockermouth, Cockermouth Rural, and Workington are to be bought out and acquired by the Corporation, who will supply the two first-mentioned authorities with their water in bulk. The Corporation will then provide an additional supply, from Crummock Lake. The cost of the new works is estimated at about £65,000.
Workington Hall is situated on a
wooded acclivity overlooking the Derwent, commanding a fine view of the Derwent valley,
the Solway Firth, and the opposite Scotch coast. Scarcely any traces remain of the
Mansion, which was castellated pursuant to the Royal licence granted by Richard II in
1379. Camden writes of Workington as the "seat of the ancient knightly family of the
Curwens who derive their descent from Gospatric, Earl of Northumberland, and take their
surname from Culwen, a Galloway family, whose heir they married. They have a noble mansion
like a castle." But of this "noble mansion," as already said, scarce a
trace remains. The present Hall was almost entirely rebuilt by J. Christian Curwen, Esq. -
of whom, more hereafter - from designs by Mr. Carr, of York. It is of a quadrangular form
with battlemented parapets; the principal entrance is in the south-west front, where a
gateway opens into a court yard. Over the entrance door is a shield bearing the arms of
Curwen with quarterings, which bears the date 1665. Many historical associations connect
themselves with Workington Hall, to which a brief allusion call only be made here. Three
centuries ago when Workington was the chief seaport in Cumberland, "the Hall"
enjoyed no small prestige as the "Chefe house of Sir Thomas Curwyn." When Mary
Stuart, after taking the fatal resolution of throwing herself on the mercy of her Royal
cousin, Elizabeth Tudor, landed on the English coast from Dundrennan, she found shelter
within its walls, and was hospitably entertained by Sir Henry Curwen. The room wherein the
unfortunate Royal fugitive slept is still called "the Queen's Room,'' and in the
picture gallery is still to be seen the curious contemporary portrait of the Scottish
Queen. It is in profile and represents her at 25, when the domestic sorrows and tragedies
of two and a half years had given her bitter experience of the pains and penalties of
Royalty, and tempered the brilliancy of her beauty with a pervading shade of sadness. In
the picture her
In 1790, Mr. Christian, who had married the
heiress of the Curwens, and thus became squire of "the Hall," assumed their
surname. He was descended from the Christian or McChristian, a family of high repute in
the Isle of Man for centuries, and where some of his ancestors were Deemsters. In 1784,
Mr. Curwen - we are anticipating by a few years the change of name - filled the office of
High Sheriff of the county, and is still remembered for carrying through the House of
Commons, against strong opposition, one of the best economic measures which became law in
the reign of George IV, and who as a landowner gave so great an impetus to modern farming,
that he earned for himself the high distinction of being called "The Father of
Agriculture" in Cumberland, and, in fact, in the neighbouring counties. In any notice
of Workington, J.C. Curwen should take the leading place. A brief résumé of his
public life work can only be given here. That he was a man of extraordinary physical and
mental vigour is unquestionable; and that he did more for the furtherance of agriculture
in Cumberland than any man in it, during the first quarter of the past century, is equally
so. In Parliament, of which he was a member for over 40 years,he held a foremost place
among the noble band of reformers- known in the early years of last century as the
TRADE AND MANUFACTURES. - The coal trade has
fallen off greatly during the last few years. In 1792 there were nine pits in this parish
belonging to the Curwens; now there is not one working. In 1826, 200,000 tons of coal were
shipped from this port from the collieries of Messrs. Curwen, Westray, and Fletcher. In
1837 the Chapel Bank Colliery, containing three mines, was destroyed by an eruption of the
sea, by which 27 men and boys, and 28 horses were drowned, and all the materials belonging
to this extensive colliery lost. The loss to Mr. Curwen was immense. In 1898, the quantity
of coals shipped at this port for the Irish coast was 130,776 tons. One cause of the
falling away in the export of coals is traceable to a strike some years ago. During the
strike the Scotch coal proprietors stepped in, and the Cumberland trade with Ireland,
Shipbuilding. - This trade was for many years carried on by Messrs. Peile, Scott, & Co., and by Messrs. Falcon & Alexander. The style of the first firm was changed in 1856, to the Harrington and Workington Shipbuilding Co. This company gave up business in 1869, and the last vessel built by them was appropriately named the "Omega." The business of the latter firm, after a dissolution of partnership, was carried on by Mr. Alexander, who was succeeded by Mr. Charles Lamport, in 1849. The latter gave up business in 1866. The "Omega" was the last wooden vessel built at Workington. Messrs. R. Williamson & Son, who for many years carried on the business of shipbuilding at Harrington, formerly building wooden vessels, but latterly iron ones, removed to Workington and began iron and steel shipbuilding here in 1881. Since 1882 the firm have launched 96 iron and steel vessels of various designs and tonnage. In 1898 ten ships were built with a tonnage of 2,512. This firm employs about 150 hands. The dock is on the north side of the Derwent. It was constructed about 35 years ago by the late William, Lord Lonsdale, and is altogether too small for the present traffic. Its length is 600 feet, and its breadth 300 feet; greatest depth of water, 21 feet; dock gate 40 feet wide. Imports chiefly Welsh coal and Spanish iron ore. The Harbour and Dock are the property of Lord Lonsdale. The pier has three times been extended.
The number of vessels belonging to the port, strictly so called, is now a mere fraction of what they once were half a century ago, or within the last 30 years. At this latter period from 80 to 90 ships belonged to Workington, at the present only from seven to nine. This decrease in the coasting trade is mainly owing to the loss of the Irish coal trade already alluded to. Several of these coal-carrying vessels have been sold at a ruinous sacrifice to the shareholders, and some of the oldest broken up. The cessation of the wood shipbuilding trade has put a stop to the importation of wood from Canada. But the iron trade has much more than compensated for the failure of the coal trade. A considerable portion of the vessels, which carry pig iron, steel and plates, from this port to all parts of the world, are steamers, and, as already said, for such vessels the dock accommodation is much too small.
The Ironworks. - Of these there are three on the north side of the Derwent, viz., the Workington Hæmatite Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., the North-Western, and the Lowther Ironworks, Limited.
The Workington Hæmatite Works, generally called the Old Company, were first erected in the neighbourhood about 42 years ago. They were acquired by the present company in 1879, who commenced operations in 1880. There are at present three blast furnaces. This company are large manufacturers of Bessemer iron and Spiegeleisen.
North-Western Hæmatite Steel Co. - This company was formed in 1898, to take over the blast furnaces and steel works, and other properties formerly belonging to the West Cumberland Iron and Steel Co. Two furnaces were restarted in March, 1899, and the remaining three will be put in blast as soon as possible. The furnace plant has been entirely overhauled, and more modern stoves erected.
The Lowther Hæmatite Iron and Steel Works are in close proximity to the Lonsdale Dock, and consist of three large modern blast furnaces. The first two were erected by Mr. Barclay, of Kilmarnock. The Ironworks on the south side of the Derwent are three in number, viz., the Moss Bay Hæmatite Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., the Derwent Hæmatite Iron Co., and Kirk Bros. and Co. The works of the first-mentioned are situated on the sea coast, nearly equidistant from Workington and Harrington. They were begun in 1871, and the business transferred to a limited company in 1888. There are four blast furnaces, and the steel works, wherein steel rails, etc., are made from the Hæmatite pig iron by the Bessemer and Siemens process.
Kirk Bros. & Co., Limited - This company manufactures pig iron for use in their own works, merchant and rivet bar of various sizes and qualities, and iron and brass castings. They have their works in Workington at New Yard and Marsh Side. At the former there is a blast furnace, an iron and brass foundry, a puddling forge, and two rolling mills. At the latter, one forge and one rolling mill. The New Yard works employ about 350 men and boys, the Marsh Side about 150. The firm produces annually about 25,000 tons of pig iron; 25,000 tons of bars and rivet iron; and from 650 to 1,000 tons of iron and brass castings.
Workington Bridge and Boiler Co., Limited - These works are situated on the Marsh. Extensive business is done in the construction and erection in Great Britain and abroad of blast furnace and steel works plant, bridgework etc., etc. Iron and steel rivets, and railway spikes and bolts are also manufactured largely, the capacity being a turn-out of a hundred tons weekly.
At Bearpot, was erected one of the first blast furnaces in Cumberland. A little over a hundred years ago the works were actively employed in the casting of cannon and a variety of other articles both for home and export.
The Gasworks are situated in Stanley Street, near the London and North-Western Railway. The works were first established by a private company in 1840, but were taken over by the town in 1847. Large extensions have been made from that date to the present. The total capital outlay has been £37,854, of which only £19,554 is now outstanding. There are two gasholders, with a capacity of 586,000 cubic feet. The price of gas has been reduced from 7s. 6d. per 1,000 feet in 1847 to 2s. 6d. at the present time.
The Salmon Fishery. - Two centuries ago the Derwent was famed for its salmon fishing, and at that period yielded a rental of £300 a year. For many years past the salmon fishery has been falling off, and now there is but little hope of improvement. The decrease of fish in the river is accounted for by the coal dust from the collieries between Cockermouth and Workington, on the banks of the river, and the slag deposited from the furnaces near its mouth. Some very large fish - from 30 lbs. to 40 lbs. weight - are occasionally caught by the rod. The present lessees are a Committee chosen from the members of the Derwent Fishery Board. Stake nets at the mouth of the river were abolished in 1863.
Railway Stations. - The station of the Workington and Cleator Railway is in John Street, and was built when the railway was opened in 1879. It is a neat, convenient station, quite adequate to suit its present requirements. The London and North-Western Railway Company have their principal station at the low end of the town - hence it has always been locally known is the Low Station. In 1881 commodious goods yard and buildings were erected, and in 1886 the company followed this up by entirely rebuilding the passenger station. At the same time the old-fashioned level crossing was abolished, a substantial viaduct being substituted to give access to the Harbour and Marsh Side, with approaches from Station Road and Church Street. The Workington Bridge Station was also rebuilt in 1881.
The Custom House is now controlled from Maryport; the acting officer is Mr. Robert Adams.
Friendly and Benevolent Societies. - There are at present in Workington, flourishing societies under the following titles:- 1, Oddfellows; 2, Free Gardeners; 3, Foresters; 4, Rechabites; 5, Druids. The Freemason Sun and Sector Lodge (962) meet in the Assembly Rooms or Drill Hall.
The Co-operative Society was established here in 1865. The commodious block of buildings in Jane Street has been recently enlarged, and is now one of the finest business premises in the town. There are four branches, each doing a good and increasing trade. At the Central Stores is a commodious Hall and suite of rooms, etc., let for dancing and supper parties.
The Bee-hive Co-operative Society have their head premises in Vulcan's Lane.
The Cricket Ground, said to be one of the best in the county, is situated at the upper or east end of the Cloffocks. During summer, matches are played nearly every Saturday with neighbouring clubs. The new pavillion was erected and presented to the club by the captain, Mr. Herbert Spencer, in 1899. The Bowling Green like the cricket field, will compete with any elsewhere.
WEST SEATON a separate ecclesiastical parish containing Workington Bridge, Bearpot, North Side, and Siddick was taken into the borough in 1900. The coal pit belonging to the St. Helen's Colliery Co. is here and employs about 700 men.
The Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected mainly through the liberality of Mrs. Catherine Blanshard, lady of the manor of Camerton, on a site given by the Earl of Lonsdale. The edifice is designed in the early geometrical period of Gothic architecture, and consists of nave, chancel, transepts, organ chamber, and vestries. Standing on elevated ground and surmounted by a square massive tower rising to a height of 52 feet, the building forms a prominent feature in the district. The living is a vicarage valued at £340, and held by the Rev. C.T. Phillips.
The Board Schools were erected in 1878. They consist of two departments, mixed and infants, and have room in the first for 168, and in the latter, 130 children.
At Siddick is a Reading Room, opened in 1895. Here also are the links of the Workington Golf Club.
CURWEN FAMILY. - "The ancient and
knightly family of the Curwens," says Camden, "derive their descent from
Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland, and took their surname by agreement from Culwen,
a family of Galloway, whose heir they married. They trace their genealogy back in an
unbroken line to Ivo de Tailbois, who came to England with the Conqueror, and was the
first lord of the barony of Kendal, brother of Fulk, Earl of Anjou and King of Jerusalem. Ketel,
grandson of Ivo, had two sons - Gilbert, father of William de Lancaster, from whom
descended, in a direct line, the barons of Kendal; and Orme, from whom descended
the Curwens. William, having received from William de Meschines a grant of Workington,
Salter, Kelton, and Stockhow, gave the parish church of the former place, with two
carucates of land and a mill there, to St. Mary's Abbey, York. Orme espoused Gunilda,
sister of Waldieve, first lord of Allerdale, and having received in marriage with her the
manor of Seaton, took up his abode there. He also, by the same conveyance, had the towns
of Camerton, Greysouthern, and Flimby. Gospatric, his son, received from Alan,
second lord of Allerdale, High Ireby, which continued with a younger branch of the the
Curwens, till it terminated in heiresses. Gospatric received the manors of Workington and
Lamplugh from William de Lancaster in exchange for Middleton in Westmorland. He gave two
parts of the fishing in Derwent, with Flimby, to the abbey of Holm Cultram; and to the
priory of Carlisle he gave Waytcroft. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who received a
grant of the lordship of Culwen in Galloway, and who granted Lamplugh to Robert de
Lamplugh, to be holden by the yearly presentation of a pair of gilt spurs. He died in
1152, and was buried in the Abbey of Shap, to which he had been a benefactor. All
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman