The Full Wiki

Whitehaven: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Whitehaven is a town and port on the coast of Cumbriamarker, Englandmarker. It is the administrative centre of the Borough of Copelandmarker.

Located on the west coast of the county, outside the Lake Districtmarker National Park, Whitehaven includes a number of former villages, estates and suburbs, such as Woodhouse, Kells, Mirehouse and Hensingham.

The major industry is the nearby Sellafieldmarker nuclear complex, with which a large proportion of the population has links.


... grown up from a small place to be very considerable by the coal trade, that it is now the most eminent port in England for shipping off of coals, except Newcastlemarker and Sunderlandmarker and even beyond the last. They have of late fallen into some merchandising also, occasioned by the strange great number of their shipping, and there are now some considerable merchants; but the town is yet but young in trade.

Although there had been a Roman fort at Parton, about 2 km to the north, Whitehaven was largely the creation of the Lowther family in the 17th century. It grew into a major coal mining town during the 18th and 19th centuries and also became a substantial commercial port on the back of this trade.

John Paul Jones led a naval raid upon the town in 1778 during the American War of Independence; it was the last invasion of England by some definitions.

The town has links to many notable people: Jonathan Swift, who claimed that an over-fond nurse kidnapped him and brought him to Whitehaven for three years in his infancy; Mildred Gale, grandmother of George Washington; and William Wordsworth, who often came into town to visit his family.

Whitehaven is the most complete example of planned Georgian architecture in Europe and recently has been pursuing growth through tourism. Due to Whitehaven's planned layout with streets in a right-angled grid, many historians believe that Whitehaven was the blueprint for the New York Citymarker street grid system.


Whitehaven Harbour
town's fortunes as a port waned rapidly when ports with much larger shipping capacity, such as Bristolmarker and Liverpoolmarker, began to take over its main trade. Its peak of prosperity was in the 19th century when West Cumbria experienced a brief boom because haematite found locally was one of the few iron ores that could be used to produce steel by the original Bessemer process. Improvements to the Bessemer process and the development of the open hearth process removed this advantage. As with most mining communities the inter-war depression was severe; this was exacerbated for West Cumbria by Irish independence which suddenly placed tariff barriers on the principal export market.The Harbour has seen much renovation due to millennium developments; a picture of the harbour was used on the front page of the Tate Modern's promotional material for an exhibition of Millennium Projects in 2003.The Harbour rejuvenation has cost an estimated £11.3 million and has enabled 100 more moorings within the marina. Further investment of an additional £5.5 million has seen the development of a 40m high crows nest and a wave light feature that changes colour dependant upon the tide, plus the Rum Story on Lowther Street, voted Cumbria Tourism's small visitor attraction of the year 2007.In June 2008 The Queen visited Whitehaven as part of the 300th Anniversary Celebrations. The Queen and Prince Philip then officially opened the refurbished Beacon, a museum set on the harbour. 10,000 people attended the event.


Whitehaven has a rich railway history. It used to be a terminus of the Furness Railway, and still has two railway stations, Whitehaven marker and Corkicklemarker, both on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which runs from Carlislemarker to Barrow-in-Furnessmarker.

The harbour was once riddled with railway lines, when steam engines would shunt trucks full of coal, iron, gypsum and many other cargoes onto the quays for ships to take elsewhere in the world.

The railway reached Whitehaven in 1847 - steam powered engines finally reached the town following an agreement between the Earl of Lonsdale and George Stephenson. Stephenson was the engineer placed in charge of the construction of the new railway line. The railway became known as the Whitehaven Junction Railway. Even before this line was built, the nearby Lowcamarker engineering works began to produce locomotives. Over the life of the works, some 260 were produced - mainly for industrial lines.

Mines and pits

Saltom pit.
The earliest reference to coal mining in the Whitehaven area is in the time of Prior Langton (1256-82) of St Bees Priory, concerning the coal mines at Arrowthwaite. St Bees Priory was dissolved in 1539, and the lands and mineral rights passed to secular owners. In 1560 Sir Thomas Chaloner granted bases of land for digging coal, and in 1586 he granted St Bees School liberty "to take 40 loads of coal at his coal pits in the parish of St Bees for the use of the School".In 1670, the manor of St. Bees was bought by Sir John Lowther - he then began to develop the coal trade due to the ever increasing demand from Irelandmarker. Lowther invested in the best available technology to help monopolise the coal trade. By the 1730s Whitehaven had the deepest mines due to the necessity to drive ever deeper shafts to reach new seams of coal.

An example of the Lowthers' interest in technology could be seen at Stone Pitt when one of the world's earliest steam engines, Engine No. 5 built by Thomas Newcomen and John Calley in 1715 was installed, to help in drainage and haulage. William Brownrigg, Whitehaven's most eminent scientist, was the first to investigate the explosive mine gas fire damp

The Lowthers' technological advances continued when their chief steward, Carlisle Spedding sunk Saltom Pit in 1729. Saltom Pit was the first pit to be sunk beneath the sea. At Saltom pit, Carlisle Spedding pioneered the use of explosives in sinking shafts. He also invented the first form of 'Safety Lamp', it was called the Spedding Wheel or Steel Mill. On occasions the Spedding Wheel caused explosions or fires but it was a major improvement over the naked flame.

Saltom Pit was constructed around 6m above sea level, on land below the cliffs near to Haig Colliery. The pit workings went down to a depth of 456 ft (138m). Saltom Pit ceased working coal in 1848, but today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SM 27801) and is the best known surviving example of a 18th century colliery layout. Evidence of the shaft, horse gin, stable, winding engine house, boiler house and chimney, cottages, cartroads and retaining walls, all survives in situ.

Coal excavated from Saltom Pit was raised by horse gin to surface, then transported by tram through a tunnel to Ravenhill pit for lifting to the cliff top. Saltom Pit was used as a central pumping station, draining many of the other local mines via a drift driven in the 1790s, and continued in use long after it had ceased to work coal.

During 2007, Copeland Council declared that it could no longer afford to maintain the remaining Saltom Pit buildings, and decided to allow the pit to fall to the mercy of the Irish Seamarker. Following an online campaign by Copeland Council had a change of heart and decided to reverse this decision. They teamed up with the National Trust in an endeavour to save Saltom Pit, and obtained the necessary funding from various sources, including a 50% grant from the European Union.

Repaired Saltom Pit.
Monday 8 December 2007, Saltom Pit was reopened]. The pit buildings have been repaired and are now part of the 'Whitehaven Coast' project - a scheme to regenerate the coastal area of Whitehaven.

In 300 years over 70 pits were sunk in the Whitehaven and district area. During this period some 500+ people were killed in pit disasters and mining accidents. The largest local disaster was in 1910, at Wellington pit where 136 miners lost their lives. In 1947, at William pit there was another disaster of similar proportions where 104 men were killed. Today there is no mining carried out in Whitehaven. The last pit to operate in Whitehaven was Haig.

In 1983, a major fault was encountered at Haig - with this, the future of the pit was in doubt. This, combined with the political situation, and the UK miners' strike , contributed to problems at the colliery. The workforce attempted to open a new face, but a decision had been taken to close, and after two years of recovery work, Haig finally ceased mining on March 31 1986.


In 1941, Fred Marzillier and Frank Schon moved their Marchon Chemical Company to Whitehaven to avoid German bombing. Marchon started producing some of the first detergents in the world. The new detergents were a big success as soap was in short supply due to the war. The company continued producing their own detergents as well as bulk detergent ingredients for other companies after the war. It was taken over by Albright and Wilson, often referred to as 'all bright and shiny', in 1955. The Marchon works became the town's largest employer when the mines closed down. However, it too was closed in 2005.


Whitehaven is a rugby league stronghold, its team Whitehaven RLFC play in National League one. Their mascot is a lion called "Pride". There are also several Whitehaven-based teams playing in the amateur Cumberland League.Whitehaven's female amateur R.L.F.C is named the "Wildcats".

West Brom and England goalkeeper Scott Carson was also born in Whitehaven. He played for Cleator Moor Celtic.

Aston Villa and England footballer Jackie Sewell was born in Kells, Whitehaven on 24 January 1927.

Maritime festival

Whitehaven Maritime Festival 2005
Whitehaven has also played host to a Maritime Festival, which started in 1999 and was held every two years; the last, in 2007, attracting an estimated 350,000 people to the small town.

Attractions included tall ships, air displays which include the Red Arrowsmarker and various modern and old planes, street entertainment, and firework displays. At the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Festivals the local Sea Cadets were very much in evidence, conducting the traditional Evening Colours ceremony each evening aboard one of the visiting tall ships, and also taking part in the Festival's official closing ceremony during the late Sunday afternoon each year.

The 2005 festival also marked the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in which Whitehaven had been designated Cumbria's Official commemoration celebration. Up to 1,000 veterans and ex-service personnel took part in the parade from the towns Castle Park to the harbour side, led by members of three military bands. Services were held on the harbour side and aircraft from the Royal Airforce provided a tribute display above the harbour.

The Maritime Festivals were organised by the Whitehaven Festival Company, made up a of board of volunteers, who have since launched new events in the town. They organised the Queen's visit to Whitehaven in June 2008, followed by the Status Quo gig in August of that year. The company, credited for putting modern Whitehaven on the map, are staging two events in August 2009. The first was the redesigned Festival (known for this year as the Whitehaven Food Festival, although it did still feature tall ships) which offered the usual wide variety of attractions, both around the southern half of the harbour and at St. Nicholas' Church, on 8-9 August. The second event, the following week, was the Here and Now Gig (a music concert with 80s pop icons).

Digital switchover trial

On 20 July 2006, Broadcasting Minister Shaun Woodward and Industry Minister Margaret Hodge announced that Whitehaven would be the pilot site for the switchover to Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom. The selection of a pilot site followed on from trial switchovers held in Ferryside and Boltonmarker.

The switchover began when BBC Two was switched off at 0200 on 17 October 2007. This was followed by the remaining analogue channels at 0200, on 14 November 2007.

As a result of the switchover, all televisions in the Whitehaven area must have a digital terrestrial receiver (Freeview) or digital satellite alternative (Freesat, Sky Digital, etc.)

The switchover in the Whitehaven area wasn't entirely successful. In nearby Eskdale, poor signal quality left viewers with blank television screens.


Woodhouse is a housing estate in the suburbs of Whitehaven, between Kells and Greenbank. Police, the local council, and people living in the Woodhouse community have worked very hard to improve the state, the reputation, and the crime levels in Woodhouse. Woodhouse was created as a council estate but some tenants later bought their homes. The estate has a fish and chip shop, general store and pub. There are also two taxi firms and regular buses running to and from the town centre. The estate has three surroundng schools which cater for infants and juniors, St. Mary's, Kells county infants school, and Monkwray Junior school. The estate has local centres and public parks for children of all ages to use. Every summer there is a play-scheme, two days a week, which caters for over one hundred children during the school holliday, featuring trips to farm parks and theme parks. Regular meetings upon the estate are held by the council which allows the members of the public within the community to voice their opinions and concerns.

Neighbouring towns

The main towns neighbouring Whitehaven are Workingtonmarker to the north, Cleator Moormarker to the East and Egremontmarker to the south. Villages close by which are not suburbs include St Beesmarker and Beckermetmarker to the south and Distingtonmarker to the north.

Notable people


Further reading

  • "Whitehaven an illustrated history", by Daniel Hay. Published by Michael Moon, 1979. ISBN 0-904131-21-1

  1. Letter 10: Lancashire, Westmorland and Cumberland, from A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journeys by Daniel Defoe, from "A Vision of Britain Through Time" (a University of Portsmouth website)
  6. "Whitehaven an illustrated history", by Daniel Hay. Published by Michael Moon, Whitehaven 1979. ISBN 0-904131-21-1
  7. Whitehaven International Festival Company
  8. Whitehaven Chosen For National Switchover Flagship Project, a 2006 press release from the website of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  9. In other areas, additional alternatives to Freeview are available, such as the cable-based Virgin Media.
  10. Australian Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee, Proof Estimates Hansard, 20 October 2008, p. 69.

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address