Coordinates: 54°38′11″N 3°33′18″W / 54.6365°N 3.5549°W / 54.6365; -3.5549

Workington - Portland Square.jpg
Portland Square
Workington is located in Cumbria

 Workington shown within Cumbria
Population 24,295 (2001)
OS grid reference NX996279
    - London  259 miles (417 km) SE 
Parish Workington
District Allerdale
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CA14
Dialling code 01900
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Workington
List of places: UK • England • Cumbria

Workington is a town, civil parish and port on the west coast of Cumbria, England, at the mouth of the River Derwent.[1] Lying within the Borough of Allerdale, Workington is 32 miles (51.5 km) southwest of Carlisle, 7 miles (11.3 km) west of Cockermouth, and 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of Maryport. It has a population of 24,295.[2]

Historically a part of Cumberland, the area around Workington has long been a producer of coal, steel and high-grade iron ore.

Workington is the seat of Allerdale Borough Council, which is one of three borough councils in Cumbria. Tony Cunningham is the local MP for the constituency of the same name that includes other towns in the hinterland of Workington.



Historically a part of Cumberland, the area around Workington has long been a producer of coal, steel and high grade iron ore.

Between 79AD and 122AD, Roman forts, mile-forts and watchtowers were established down the Cumbrian coast.[3] They acted as coastal defences against attacks by the Scoti in Ireland and by the Caledonii, the most powerful tribe in what we now call Scotland.[4] The 16th century book, Britannia, written by William Camden describes ruins of the coastal defences at Workington.[5]'

A Viking sword was discovered at Northside, which is believed to indicate that there was a settlement on the river mouth.[6][7]


Skyline of Workington with Lake District fells in the background. Looking to the north east from the shore hills.

Workington lies astride the River Derwent, on the West Cumbrian coastal plain. It is bounded to the west by the Solway Firth, part of the Irish Sea, and by the Lake District fells to the east. Workington comprises various districts, many of which were established as housing estates.

Sunset behind the Scottish hills, viewed across the Solway Firth from Workington

North of the river these districts include Seaton, Barepot, Northside, Port and Oldside. On the south side are the districts of Stainburn, Derwent Howe, Ashfield, Banklands, Frostoms (Annie Pit), Mossbay, Moorclose, Salterbeck, Bridgefoot, Lillyhall, Harrington, High Harrington, Clay Flatts, Kerry Park, Westfield and Great Clifton. The Marsh and Quay,[8] a large working class area of the town around the docks and a major part of the town's history, was demolished in the early 1980s. Much of the former area of the Marsh is now covered by Clay Flatts Industrial Estate.


Iron and steel

The Cumbria iron ore field lies to the south of Workington, and produced extremely high grade phosphorus-free haematite. The area had a long tradition of iron smelting, but this became particularly important with the invention by Sir Henry Bessemer of the Bessemer process, the first process for mass production of steel, which previously had been an expensive specialist product. For the first 25 years of the process, until Gilchrist and Thomas improved it, it required phosphorus-free haematite. With Cumbria as the world's premier source of this, and the local coalfield also available for steel production, the world's first large-scale steelworks was opened in the Moss Bay area of the town. The Bessemer converter continued to work until 1977, the world's first and last commercially operated Bessemer converter. The Moss Bay Steelworks were themselves closed in 1982, despite having received significant infrastructural investment and improvement almost immediately prior to the closure.

War memorial tribute to local workers in heavy industries.
Workington's war memorial tribute to local miners

During World War II, a strategically important electric steel furnace which produced steel for aircraft engine ball bearings was relocated to Workington from Norway to prevent it falling into Axis hands.

Workington was the home of Distington Engineering Company (DEC), the engineering arm of British Steel Corporation (BSC), which specialised in the design of continuous casting equipment. DEC, known to the local people as "Chapel Bank", had an engineering design office, engineering workshops and a foundry that at one time contained six of the seven electric arc furnaces built in Workington. The seventh was situated at the Moss Bay plant of BSC. In the 1970s, as BSC adapted to a more streamlined approach to the metals industry, the engineering design company was separated from the workshops and foundry and re-designated as Distington Engineering Contracting. Employing some 200 people, its primary purpose was the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of continuous casting machines.

One offshoot of the steel industry was the production of steel railway rails. Workington rails were widely exported and a common local phrase was that Workington rails 'held the world together'. Originally made from Bessemer steel, following the closure of the Moss Bay Steelworks (ending actual steel production in Workington) steel for the plant was brought by rail from Teesside. The plant was closed in August 2006, the end of Workington's long and proud association with the steelworks. However welding work on rails produced at Corus' French plant in Hayange continued at Workington for another two years, as the Scunthorpe site initially proved incapable of producing rails adequately.

After coal and steel

The preserved ruins of Jane Pit.

After the loss of the two industries on which Workington was built, coal and steel, Workington and the whole of West Cumbria are something of an unemployment blackspot. Industries in the town today include chemicals, cardboard, the docks (originally built by the United Steel Co, they have for some time faced an uncertain future), waste management and a relatively novel industry, recycling old computers for export, mainly to poorer countries. The town also houses the British Cattle Movement Service, a government agency set up to oversee the U.K. beef and dairy industry following the BSE crisis in Britain. It is located in former steelworks offices. Many Workington residents are employed outside the town in the nuclear industry located in and around Sellafield, West Cumbria's dominant employment sector. None of the nuclear industry is located in Workington itself: much of it is based around Whitehaven.


Workington formerly manufactured 'Railbus' and 'Sprinter' type commuter trains and Leyland National buses. The Leyland National was based on an Italian design, which included an air conditioning unit mounted in a pod on top of the roof of the bus at the rear. Adapting the design for Britain, Leyland replaced the air conditioning unit with a heating unit. However, as hot air rises, much of the heat generated by the heaters was wasted as it escaped out of the top (most vehicle heaters are located low down in the vehicle). This design flaw in the National bus became infamous in the trade.

The 'Railbus' trains were based on the National bus design, designed as a cheap stopgap by British Rail. This initiative led to Workington's brief history of train manufacturing, the buses already being built there. The trains are generally considered to be badly designed, and are very uncomfortable to ride, especially on less-than-perfectly-smooth rail lines: the carriages tend to jump about much more than most trains, as they are not equipped with proper train bogies, but have two single axles per carriage (each train consists of two carriages), a cost-cutting design feature which has also caused problems with tight-radius corners on some lines. Some industry experts have also questioned their safety compared to other commuter train types, such as the Sprinter.

The former bus plant, located in Lillyhall, is now a depot for the Eddie Stobart road haulage company.


Directions from Workington's Northside roundabout

Workington is linked by the A596 road to Maryport and (via the A595 road) to Whitehaven, and by the A66 road to Cockermouth, the M6 motorway, Penrith and County Durham. The town has bus connections to other towns and villages in West Cumbria, Penrith, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness.

The Cumbrian Coast Line provides rail connections to Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, with occasional through trains to Newcastle, Lancaster and Preston. A temporary railway station at Workington North opened on November 30, 2009 as a means of crossing the river following the closure of road bridges.[9]

The nearest airports are Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow, which can be reached by road and rail.

The Coast to Coast Walk begins in West Cumbria, on the shores of the Irish Sea at St Bees, near Whitehaven and Workington. The route then crosses the coastal plain, the Lake District, the Pennines and the North York Moors, and ends on the North Sea coast at Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire. But some walkers instead start from the east coast, preferring to have the Lake District as the climax of their walk. The cycling alternative, the Sea to Sea Cycle Route, may also begin in the surf at Workington's sea shore. The Reiver's Route passes through the town. West Cumbria is an interesting diversion from the Cumbria Cycle Way.

Cultural festivals

Site of the Valentine Rock festival

On 19 September 2009, Valentine Rock took place; a 19 band charity music festival. It is staged at the Ernest Valentine Ground home of Workington Cricket Club. Artists include: The Chairmen, Novellos, With Lights Out, Volcanoes, Breed, Colt 45, Relics, Telf, Thir13een, Slagbank, Hangin' Threads and Hand of Fate. Profits went to the RNLI and West Cumberland Lions.[10]

In 2008, The Paint Your Town Red Festival invited Liverpool comic and actor Ricky Tomlinson. Described as 'The biggest free festival in Workington’s history', it welcomes everyone adopting red as their colour for the day. Town centre shops are open to extended hours. The 2008 festival included a free children’s fun fair in Vulcan Park and stage and street entertainnment. Soul legend, Jimmy James and his Soul Explosion performed. Keswick’s 'Cars of the Stars' Museum, provided a cavalcade mini cars with a stunt driving display. Appearances included Herbie the Beetle, the Back to the Future De Lorean and Kit from Knightrider of the 1980. Dearham Band and the all-girl band Irresistible also appeared.

Arts and entertainment


The Workington Opera House - Pre 1927.

Workington is home to three theatres. The Carnegie Theatre, Theatre Royal and the Workington Opera House. In the past Workington was a big town for variety acts and theatre and hosted many top acts including Tommy Cooper and Shirley Bassey. Workington Opera House has also hosted many circus shows which included elephants and other circus animals performing on stage.

The Carnegie Theatre and Theatre Royal are still open and put on performances all year round. The Workington Opera House is currently closed after its last use as a bingo hall. The "Opera Action" group plan to restore the Workington Opera House into a working theatre to revitalise the economy of Workington and provide top quality entertainment for the people of West Cumbria.


The town used to have as many as three cinemas all of which have now closed and have been replaced with the Plaza Cinema at Dunmail Park.


Uppies and Downies

Uppies and Downies balls hailed in 1871 and 1950.

Workington is home to the ball game known as Uppies and Downies, a traditional version of football, with its origins in Medieval football, Mob football or an even earlier form.[11][12][13][14] Since 2001, the matches have raised over £75,000 for local charities.[15][16][17] An Uppies and Downies ball is made from four pieces of cow leather. It is 21 inches (53 cm) in circumference and weighs about two and a half pounds (1.1 kg). Only three hand-made balls are produced every year and each is dated.[18] Some players from outside Workington take part, especially fellow West Cumbrians from Whitehaven and Maryport. As with much of the town's sporting history, some of the best and most accurate records are to be found in the local newspapers, The Evening Star and The West Cumberland Times and Star.


Workington Association Football Club's home ground is Borough Park, situated on the Low Cloffolk on the south bank of the River Derwent. Formally a professional football team it now competes as non-League club. Popularly known as the 'Reds', they currently play in the Conference North. First formed in 1888 by Dronnies, the nickname used by locals for the Dronfield steelworkers and their families, who moved to Workington from 1882. It is estimated that about 1500 people made the move. The Dronnies brought the newly established rules of football with them. These rules for Association Football were established by the world's first soccer club, Sheffield Football Club.[19] Dronnies formed the nucleus of the original Workington FC in 1988.[20]

Rugby League

The local professional rugby league team are former Challenge Cup winners Workington Town. They play in the Championship 1. Their stadium is called Derwent Park. Their nickname is simply 'Town', though they are sometimes referred to as 'Worky' by fans of other teams. Their local rivals are Whitehaven, who joined the league three years after Workington Town. Workington Town RLFC was formed at a meeting held in the Royal Oak Hotel, Workington in December 1944. Many of Workington Town's board came from local soccer team Workington AFC's board and the team would ground share with "the Reds" at Borough Park. They were the first side from Cumberland to enter the professional league. They first played their home games, wearing green and red hoops, at Borough Park. The first match against Broughton Rangers on Saturday 25 August 1945 attracted a crowd of 4,100 to Borough Park. Workington went on to win 27-5. There was a club record 20,403 spectators for the third round Challenge Cup game against St Helens. Town won the Championship final in 1951 by beating Warrington at Maine Road, Manchester. In the 1952 final of the Challenge Cup, the first to be televised, Town beat Featherstone Rovers 18-10 in front of a crowd of 72,093 at Wembley Stadium. During the 1954-55 season, Workington Town made it to the Challenge Cup final again but were beaten 21-12 by Barrow. Town moved to Derwent Park in 1956. Workington Town lost in the in 1958 Challenge Cup final to Wigan and one week later, they lost in the Championship final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford.


Bowlers prepare for a match at Vulcan Park

There are two bowling greens in the town, one in Vulcan Park and another on High Cloffolk, south of the River Derwent. Teams and individuals from both greens compete in local, regional and national competitions.


Workington's first golf club was formed in 1893 and played north of the River Derwent near Siddick. Known as West Cumberland Golf Club, it used this nine hole course until the First World War when it closed. After the war the club reformed as Workington Golf Club and moved to the present Hunday location. Five-times Open Champion and renowned course architect James Braid was consulted on the layout. Considered 'one of the premier courses in Cumbria' it has been influenced by FG Hawtree[21][22] during the 1950s and by Howard Swan today.[23] Annual club championships are staged.


Workington Comets are the town's professional speedway team,[24] which competes in the British Speedway Premier League.[25]

Before World War II racing was staged at Lonsdale Park, which was next to Borough Park, on the banks of the River Derwent. The sport did not return to the town until 1970, when it was introduced to Derwent Park by local entrepreneur Paul Sharp and Ian Thomas who is the present team manager (2009). In 1987, Derwent Park was a temporary home to the Glasgow Tigers who briefly became the Workington Tigers prior to their withdrawal from the league. Speedway returned to Workington[26] and the team has operated with varying degrees of success, but in 2008, they won the Young Shield[27] and the Premier League Four-Team and Pairs Championships. An Academy team under the banner of Northside Stars, develops young riders who show potential at the Northside training track and may make future first teams.[28]


The Valentine Cricket Ground on the High Cloffock. Viewed from the top of Hall Brow in the town centre. Also the venue for Valentine Rock, the multi-stage music festival on September the 19th.

Workington Cricket Club's home is the Ernest Valentine Ground, on the High Cloffock near the River Derwent and the town centre.[29] It is a thriving club with 3 senior teams and a growing junior section putting out 6 teams. It is affiliated to Cumbria Cricket League, Cumbria Cricket Board, Cumbria Junior Cricket League and the West Allerdale & Copeland Cricket Association. Coaches lead Cumbria Cricket Board Open Courses at the town's Stainburn School, which are open to Years 4/5/6, 7&8 and 9&10 students.[30]

Workington Cricket Club will also stage Valentine Rock, a 19 band charity music festival at the ground on 19 September.[31][32] With all profits going to the RNLI and West Cumberland Lions, it is a further expression of the progressive nature of one of the oldest sporting clubs in the town.


Workington and District Sea Angling Club takes part in regular monthly matches . It meets every month in the Union Jack Club, Senhouse Street, Workington. It also arranges tuition for its anglers.[33] Freshwater anglers are active on local rivers, especially the River Derwent.[34]


Workington offers opportunities for track and field, triathlon, road running, cross-country, fell running and orienteering. All of its schools and clubs are affiliated to the Cumbria Athletics Association,[35] except orienteering which is organised through its own national federation.[36] Athletes tend to join clubs which concentrate on their particular discipline. Cumberland Fell Runners;[37] Cumberland Athletics Club;[38] Derwent and West Cumberland AC; Seaton Athletics Club; Workington Zebras AC and West Cumberland Orienteering Club[39] are the most popular at present.

Primary schools have a well organised inter-school programme.[40] Secondary schools focus especially on the Allerdale District School's Championships, which lead on to the Cumbria Schools Championships. The results of Cumbria's championships guide selection of the county teams to compete in the English Schools Athletic Association Championships. Over the years, Workington athletes have earned English Schools Championship honours.

Motorbike road riding

There is a Cumbria Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs.[41] The West Cumbrian motorcycle club, The Roadburners.[42] was established 20 years ago and regularly attends local and national motorbike rallies, and charity road runs. It welcomes new members interested in multi cylinder machines.[43] The National Chopper Club also has local members.[44]

Notable people

  • Freddie Cairns (1863-?) - The self-styled Duke of Workington. A good-natured rag and bone man and 'constructor of paper jumping jacks and windmills',[45] which he sold on the streets from a basket hung around his neck. Freddie featured on Victorian black and white postcards as a significant Workington character. An endearing story of his wedding day adventures made the newspaper in 1895, indicating the level of local affection for the 'Duke'.[45]
  • Dale Campbell-Savours, Baron Campbell-Savours (1943-) - Labour politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Workington from 1979 to 2001.
  • Thomas Cape M.B.E (1868–1947) - Labour politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Workington from 1918 to 1945.
  • Mark Cueto - English international rugby union player.
  • Scott Dobie - Carlisle United and Scotland international footballer
  • Troy Donockley - Renowned Workington born player of uillean pipes.
  • Sir Joseph Brian Donnelly (UK diplomat) KCMG, KBE, CMG - Son of Workington steelworker, educated at Workington Grammar School and Oxford University.
  • James Duffield (1835–1914) and Josiah Purser (1848–1928) - Responsible for moving the entire Dronfield steelworks (opened in 1873) to Workington in 1882. Both later served as Aldermen on Workington Borough Council.[46]
  • Kathleen Ferrier CBE (1912–1953) - Won the prestigious Gold Cup at the 1938 Workington Musical Festival.[47]
  • Ethel Fisher MBE Writer and poet, particularly of humorous verse in Cumbrian dialect.
  • Colonel Darren Greene (1860–1941)
  • Harold Goodall and Herbert Stubbs - World War 2 railwaymen notable for risking their lives to stop a burning ammunition wagon destroying a 57 vehicle train.[48]
  • Fred Peart, Baron Peart Member of Parliament for Workington from 1945 to 1976. Fred was made a life peer in 1976, and served as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal.
  • Gordon Preston (1925-) - Mathematician
  • Bishop Desmond Sibbald
  • James Alexander Smith VC (1881–1968) - Workington born soldier of the 3rd Battalion, Border Regiment during World War I.
  • Joseph 'Joey' Thompson - English Senior Amateur Billiards Champion 1936, 1947 and 1948.[49]
  • Workington Steelworkers of 1878 - Gold medal winners at the Exposition Universelle (1878) or Paris World's Fair.[50] The exhibits for Haematite pig iron, 'Bessemer' steel ingots (produced by the Bessemer process), castings, railway tracks and plates all won gold medals. This success led to international recognition and a significant increase in export orders.[51]
  • Paul Dale[52] (1970-) , the first[53] CTO to be appointed to the management board at ITV plc, biggest commercial television network in the UK.[54]


Town centre redevelopment

Approaching the town centre along Washington Street.

In 2006, Washington Square, the new £50 million town shopping centre was opened. It replaced the run down St John's Arcade, built in the 1960s and '70s with a modern 275,000 sq ft (25,500 m2) retail-led mixed use complex.[55][56] In 2007, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors named Washington Square as the 'best commercial project' in the north west of England. Their award acknowledged that "The Washington Square development has radically transformed Workington town centre. The development is a massive improvement on the 1960's town centre. The transformation is impressive and the development has succeeded in one of its main objectives in making Workington a major shopping destination within the region, attracting a number of major high street retailers to the town. In short it has changed the face of Workington."[57]

The square's designers Harrison's also won the Business Insider's Project of The Year (Retail/Leisure) award, because 'the Workington scheme has been transformational and Harrison deserves great credit for its bravery.' The judges felt that 'the challenge that was overcome in Workington was altogether greater than the other projects.'[57][58]

Among the centre's main attractions are a new Debenhams, Next, River Island, HMV and Costa Coffee.

Public art

Workington's New Clock

New pieces of public art have been installed in the town centre:

  • The Glass Canopies[59] by Alexander Beleschenko
  • The Coastline[60] by Simon Hitchens [1]
  • The Hub[61] by BASE Structures and Illustrious
  • The Grilles of the Central Car Park[62] by Tom Lomax, St Patrick's Primary School[63] and Alan Dawson.[64]
  • Central Way Public Toilets[65] by Paul Scott and Robert Drake.
  • The Lookout Clock[66] by Andy Plant.

There are still a lot of empty shops in the new town centre. The council have been criticized for not doing more to help small local businesses out, they seem more inclined to get the big named chains into the town at the expense of losing the local businesses who have been in the town for years, many fear that with the loss of the small local businesses, that the town will become a clone town center of other shopping areas all over the country.

While successful efforts have been made to find appropriate local names for the major streets of the new shopping centre,[67][68] the initial 'planning' title of Washington Square has been retained. The concern is over the use of the word Washington, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning the settlement of the people of 'Wash' for the new square in Workington, which means settlement of the people of 'Weorc'. A renaming or rebranding of the new development may be necessary.[69]

The Cloffocks

Early criticism of the town centre regeneration scheme, focused on the demands for a large supermarket in or near the town centre. Planning permission for the erection of a Tesco Extra store on the Cloffocks has been passed by Allerdale Borough Council.[70]

The Low and High Cloffocks of Workington in 1793: Stretching from the Merchant's key through to the present day Mill Field

As the Cloffocks (or Cloffolks[12]) are considered to be common recreational land and the venue for the annual Uppies and Downies games, the decision has met with very mixed responses from the community.[71]

The store will sell everything... Some think Tesco will be a good thing and some think it will kill off the town centre

...and centuries old Uppies and Downies.'[72][73][74][75]

The bowling green and common land that will be part of the site of the new supermarket and car park

Save Our Cloffocks campaigners have made a fourth attempt to register the area as a town green. The application is being assessed by the county council’s legal department, which might seek the advice of a planning inspector. Three previous applications have been rejected but since then the government’s Commons Act (2006) has become law.[76]

The local newspaper reported that Uppies and Downies veterans believe that if the ancient rights of the people of Workington are threatened:

It will take a squad of riot police, with the army in support, if an attempt is made to stop the traditional mass football game being played on The Cloffocks in Workington.'

While a Tesco spokesman said:

We are neutral on Uppies and Downies; it is not in our remit to either allow or to stop the games. There will be plenty of room in 2009 for the game to pass through and over our car park, but we will take steps to protect our property then and we will be warning our customers who might park on the days the game is being played.'[77]

Locals use the words of their celebrated poet, Ethel Fisher MBE, when emphasising the staying power of this tradition:

But ah varra much doot - Thu'll ivver last oot - Uz laang uz t'Uppies un Doonies[78]

Some locals have suggested Uppies and Downies moves to the northern bank of the River Derwent, Curwen Park and Mill field, but Workington Regeneration plans may threaten such a move.[79]

Curwen Park

The planning approval for the new Tesco Extra store has raised fresh fears among locals that more green spaces set aside for recreation are under threat.[80]

Curwen Park gifted to the people of Workington by the Curwen family. Now threatened by a bypass to the planned new Tesco Store.

Workington Regeneration and Cumbria County Council, have plans to build a road through Workington’s historic Curwen Park to ease traffic congestion through the town centre. As with similar plans in the 1980s and 1990s, non-violent direct action was promised by those opposed to the Council plans. Workington MP Tony Cunningham vowed,

I have said I would be prepared to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop a road through the main part of the park and I stand by that...The environmental impact of such a road would be enormous. It would not only despoil a beautiful part of Workington, it would create a bypass that we do not need.[81]

If built, the road would be an extension of the A596, connect with the proposed southern link bypass of Harrington and Salterbeck. Just like the Council's 'preferred route' in the 1980s and 1990s, the road would run under the escarpment which overlooks the park, linking the roundabouts at Stainburn School and Calva Brow and split Curwen Park from Millfield.[82][83][84]

A much shorter and less controversial route is possible, which would form a loop between Workington Hall and the Ramsey Brow magistrates' court building. Mr Cunningham said he would not rule out the shorter route.[81] The southern, shorter route may necessitate the demolition of the Henry Curwen public house and the magistrates' court, thus allowing for the remodelling of Curwen Square area.[85]

One of the aims of Workington Regeneration is to connect the new commercial heart with the old town around Portland Square and the Cumbria County Council consultants’ report said:

Realistically, this can only be achieved by reducing traffic on Washington Street and making it more pedestrian friendly.[81]

Burrow Walls

One of the remaining walls of the Medieval Hall, built on the site of the Roman fort at Burrow Walls

Concern has been raised that the local council has paid no attention to Burrow Walls, the site of at least one Roman fort and a Norman hall. The first Norman Lords of the manor of Workington lived at Burrow Walls, before moving to the present site south of the river in the 13th century.[86] Archaeologist Professor 'Indiana' Jones, was reported as very angry at the neglect of the site even though it is less than 3 kilometres from Allerdale Borough Council headquarters:

I can think of no more forgotten a piece of heritage than Burrow Walls. Its treatment is nothing short of a disgrace.[87]

The occupation of the site is believed to have begun some time after King William II (Rufus) moved north and the lands were given to Ketel.[88] An early 12th century manuscript records how:

...Ketel gives to the monks of St Mary of York the church of... Wirchington with land in Wirchington...[89][90]
Sheep graze among the ruins of Workington's Medieval Hall

Professor Jones' words echo the thoughts of many locals, who believe that West Cumbria can benefit socially and economically from learning more about Burrow Walls:

It is time to put Burrow Walls on the map. Its Roman name is still lost, various speculative attempts have been attached, but it remains elusive - a major excavation would assist in establishing its true significance as a means of defending the estuary mouth and commerce nearby. I strongly suspect that there is more than one fort on the site and an early one, much earlier than the Hadrianic period...It is time to stir the earth and see what wonders lie beneath, to inspire future generations by our discoveries... if excavated and presented to the public I believe it would add to our knowledge of the past and benefit the present and future, attracting people to view the site would aid the economy and give a sense of pride...[91]

2009 floods and Workington's bridges

Causes and effects of flooding

Map showing the location of the stations and the damaged bridges

The River Derwent is one of Cumbria's largest rivers and collects water from many smaller rivers. The Derwent rises in the heart of the Lake District, at , Sprinkling Tarn below Great End and runs into Styhead Tarn beneath Scafell Pike, and flows through the valley of Borrowdale before continuing through Derwentwater, giving the lake its name. The Derwent then continues into Bassenthwaite Lake, picking up the waters of the River Greta just outside Keswick. The River Cocker joins the Derwent at Cockermouth. The River Marron joins the Derwent near Bridgefoot, Clifton. The waters all flow into the Irish Sea at Workington.

During the twenty-four hours before Friday 20 November 2009, rainfall of over 300 mm was recorded in Cumbria. Flooding along the Borrowdale and Derwent Valley meant that some areas were up to 8 feet (2.44 m) deep in water. The surge of water off the fells of the Lake District which flowed into Workington down the River Derwent washed away a road bridge and a footbridge . PC Bill Barker was killed when Northside Bridge collapsed.

The community of Barepot on the north side of the Derwent was badly affected. Most of the damage on the south side of the river affected buildings and property on the Cloffocks. For many centuries, the Cloffocks have been utilised by the townspeople for recreation and they form part of the natural flood plain for the River Derwent during heavy rainfall. In recent years, civic landscaping and new buildings have significantly altered the character of the Cloffocks and this may have affected its role as part of the town's flood protection system.

The cemetery at Camerton, historically the burial ground for the community of Seaton, was badly damaged with many gravestones being damaged or upturned.

Road and foot bridges

Workington or Calva Bridge

The oldest bridge in Workington was built in 1840 to replace an earlier bridge. Historically it was called Workington Bridge, as it was the main road bridge into the town until the late 1800s. It is also known as Calva Bridge, because it is at the bottom of Calva Brow which goes up to Seaton. The water backing up at this bridge overflowed into Mill Field and Curwen Park. The central arch was left unsound and ready to collapse: officially, "in a process of failure." As a Grade II listed structure, the bridge was analysed by structural experts after the floods, with the aim of being able to repair and reopen the bridge.[92] Calva Bridge reopened to pedestrians on 11 February 2011, Now the bridge is open to vehicles. [93]

Navvies Bridge

Workington Borough Council's decision to name the new bridge Navvy Bridge was supported by the majority of the town as a tribute to the men who built the local railway system. By the 1960s Navvy Bridge had become Navvies. After Dr Beeching closed the line, its sandstone pillars carried a steel foot and cycle way connecting the Northside community with the heart of Workington's town centre. Navvy Bridge collapsed on 20 November 2009. Work on a redesigned replacement bridge began in May 2011, and the bridge was officially opened to the public 4 months later on September 10th.

New, Northside, Cloffocks or County Bridge

Northside Bridge the morning after collapse 20 November 2009. Viewed from the Cloffocks.

Commissioned and built in 1903-4 by Workington Borough Council as a major road from the Low Cloffocks to the north side of the river. New Bridge collapsed on the morning of 20 November 2009. PC Bill Barker was directing traffic away from the bridge when it fell into the river. The red sandstone bridge was officially named New Bridge, as it was constructed over 40 years after Workington or Calva bridge.

In 1903, the bridge was the subject of a Local Government Board Inquiry, which raised issues relating to its construction.[94]

Work on a permanent replacement bridge began on 15th August 2011, and is expected to take around 50 weeks to complete.

Misers Bridge (AKA Camerton Bridge)

In a bizarre incident captured on video, a road bridge over a disused railway line in the village of Camerton was washed away. As the level of the river Derwent rose it flooded along the railway line with such force that it washed away the road bridge over the line. This bridge was the only vehicular access to the church yard of St Peter's Church in Camerton, customarily used as the burial ground for Seaton.[95]

Since this bridge has been washed away, the gap has been filled and levelled up, and now has a new roadway/pathway along to the St Peter's church once more.

Dock or Harbour Bridge

Dock Bridge carries a single track railway linking the steelworks and the docks. It also carries a very narrow footbridge. It has two sections with one span over the South Gut from the South Quay to the Merchant's Quay and the other from Merchant's Quay over the River Derwent to the north side of the river. The end of Merchant's Quay, built of sandstone blocks, was swept away by the floods. The free-standing bridge, although severely damaged and closed, now spans the whole breadth of the river. The bridge has now been demolished.

Barker Crossing

Mill Field on 3 December 2009. Army engineers working 24 hour days to construct the footbridge

Royal Engineers from 3 Armoured Squadron and 170 Infrastructure Support Group, Royal Engineers installed a footbridge (200 m) upstream of Calva Bridge. The bridge from the Mill Field to the north of the river was scheduled to open on 5 December 2009. Seventeen pre-fabricated bridge sections were assembled and dropped into place on the newly established foundations.[96] The 170 ft (52m) bridge across the River Derwent took a week to build. Schoolchildren were the first to use the new crossing, as heavy rain again fell across the county.

On 7 December 2009 Barker Crossing was opened. It is 170 feet (52 m) long, and is named after Bill Barker who was drowned when the flood washed the old bridge away.[97]

Maj Nigel Hindmarsh, of the Royal Engineers, said the new bridge had been constructed to withstand a one in 100-year flood. Sadiq Khan, the Transport Minister, said: "The installation of this footbridge is a vital step in reuniting the local community and helping them to recover from the devastating flooding.”

Gillian Spokes, deputy headmistress of Victoria Junior School, spoke of her relief at the opening of Barker Crossing, saying: "It was taking some of our kids two hours to get home, in what was normally a five-minute car journey. We're hoping that the new bridge will restore everything back to normal." She also commended the efforts of the Royal Engineers. "The Army have been brilliant in the last month. Jerry Lafferty (Squadron Sergeant Major of 3 Armoured Engineer Squadron) has taken the children down to the bridge site and told them how it will be strong enough for a tank to pass over, which obviously delighted them. He's also came in today to do a Q&A session at assembly. The new bridge has actually helped to build bridges in the community."

The crossing was taken down in February 2011, shortly after nearby Calva bridge was repaired and reopened to pedestrians.

Railway bridge

The railway bridge carries railway traffic north to Carlisle from Workington, Barrow and the south. It is sound and open; rail services are running.

Shortly after the town was divided, Network Rail announced the construction of a new railway station, Workington North, to be completed within a week on land owned by the local council, to enable access across the river for residents.[98]

Twin towns

See also


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External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Workington — (spr. Uorkingt n), Marktflecken in der englischen Grafschaft Cumberland, an der Mündung des Derwent in das Irländische Meer u. an der Eisenbahn von Carlisle nach Whitehaven; Hafen mit Leuchtthurm, Ökonomische Gesellschaft, Segeltuchfabriken,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Workington — Workington, Stadt (municipal borough) in der engl. Grafschaft Cumberland, an der Mündung des Derwent, hat einen geräumigen, durch Wellenbrecher geschützten Hafen, ein Dock, Theater, Eisen und Stahlwerke, Schiffbau, eine Papierfabrik und (1901) 26 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Workington — (spr. wörkĭngt n), Stadt in der engl. Grafsch. Cumberland, an der Mündung des Derwent in die Irische See, (1901) 26.141 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Workington — (–t n), engl. Hafenstadt in der Grafschaft Cumberland, am Derwent, mit 6500 E …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Workington —   [ wəːkɪȖtən], Hafenstadt in der County Cumbria, Nordwestengland, an der Mündung des Derwent in den Solway Firth (Irische See), 25 600 Einwohner; Eisen , Aluminium und Textilindustrie.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Workington — 54.643694 3.55108 Koordinaten: 54° 39′ N, 3° 33′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Workington A.F.C. — Football club infobox clubname = Workington fullname = Workington Association Football Club nickname = The Reds founded = 1921 ground = Borough Park Workington capacity = 3,101 (500 seated) chairman = Humphrey Dobie manager = assistant manager =… …   Wikipedia

  • Workington — Original name in latin Workington Name in other language Uurkingtun, Уъркингтън State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 54.6425 latitude 3.54413 altitude 20 Population 20618 Date 2011 03 03 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Workington — ▪ England, United Kingdom       town and port in Allerdale district, administrative county of Cumbria, historic county of Cumberland, northwestern England, on the Solway Firth where it joins the Irish Sea. The town lies at the mouth of the River… …   Universalium

  • Workington Bridge railway station — was situated on the Cockermouth Workington Railway. The station opened on 28th April 1847, and closed on 1st January 1951. References***###@@@KEYEND@@@### …   Wikipedia

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