Welcome To Whitehaven Cumbria, And The Lake District





Panorama of Whitehaven and the Harbour, Click For 4157x888 image


WELCOME to the West Cumbrian town of Whitehaven situated on the coast between the sparkling sea and the magnificent Lakeland Fells. There is a lot to do here, plenty to see and places to visit and enjoy.

Whitehaven was one of the first planned towns in England based on the grid design of Sir Christopher Wren and built by the Lowther family. A walk around the town centre soon reveals its unique charm, with around 250, mostly Georgian listed buildings. Many of these have been tastefully restored. Whitehaven also has some beautiful parks and gardens and justly deserves its reputation as an English ‘Gem’ town. It may seem surprising today, but in the mid 18th century, Whitehaven was a larger port than Liverpool, ranking only after London and Bristol. THE HARBOUR dates from 1634 with the building of the first pier. It expanded rapidly during the next 200 years - until 1876 when the Queens dock was opened.

Whitehaven’s prosperity was based on shipbuilding, but more importantly, the export of coal and the import of tobacco from America, with rum and sugar from the West Indies. There is an early connection with the slave trade and people settling in America. Many families sailed to a new life from this Harbour with their last view of England being Whitehaven. Today, a quiet stroll around the pleasant and extensive Harbour area provides evidence of Whitehaven’s important role in past commerce and trade (the Cunard Shipping Line started here).

Whitehaven Marina provides secure berthing in an attractive waterside environment. Once more, The Harbour is full of masts and sails. Did you know that it was in Whitehaven that the last attempt to invade the English mainland was made in 1772? This was during the American War of Independence, when John Paul Jones (known as the father of the American Navy) raided the town. Little was achieved during the attack, but near the old fort two of the cannon, spiked during the Raid, can still be seen. This was not the last attack in the town's history, as Parton, which is just along the coast, was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine during the Second World War. Once again the casualties were low, on this occasion just one dog!

Birds & Red Squirrel's In My Garden


The Beacon
The Beacon The story of the town’s social, industrial and
maritime heritage is told in The Beacon Situated on the Harbour side, the award winning attraction uses audiovisuals, characters, graphics, interactive displays and objects from the local Museum collection to bring Whitehaven’s history alive! You can also monitor, forecast and broadcast the weather in the Met. Office Weather Gallery and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the town, Harbour and Scottish hills.

Try the Beacon Jigsaw, Click Here




John Paul Jones
Infamous as the commander of the last invasion of England, John Paul Jones was actually born in Scotland in 1747. The young John Paul did not add Jones to his name until 1773. From an early age he wanted to go to sea, and in 1759 he was sent to Whitehaven by relatives to serve out his time. Although still a mere boy, John Paul obtained the appointment of third mate on the King George of Whitehaven, a vessel engaged in the slave trade. In 1766 he became chief mate of the Jamaican owned The Two Friends, another slave ship. By 1768 John Paul had become sickened with the slave trade and found a passage home, but had to take command when the Captain and first mate died of yellow fever. The ambitious young sailor applied for, and received, a command in the newly-fledged US Congressional Navy.

He became first lieutenant of The Alfred under Captain Saltonstall and was given his first command in 1777 on the ship Ranger. The American War of Independence saw John Paul's return to British waters. Sailing from France, he arrived off the coast of Whitehaven on April 22nd 1778. That night, he and his crew invaded the town, spiking cannons and setting light to vessels anchored in the harbour.



The Rum Story
Set in the original 1785 shop, courtyards, cellars and bonded warehouses of the Jeffersons family, The Rum Story has been authentically designed to provide all weather family entertainment. You will discover how rum is made and the Various processes involved starting with the' raw 'ingredient of sugar cane. Discover all about the links with the British Navy, prohibition and smuggling During your visit to The Rum Story you will have to travel through realistic African villages and learn how slaves were captured and how they were treated in captivity Experience the sights sounds and smells of living conditions for the slaves on board the ships as they made their treacherous and long journey across the ocean. As you enter and leave The Rum Story, you will have the opportunity to see the amazing Kinetic Rum Clock, which every half hour graphically depicts the process of rum making.




Haig Colliery Mining Museum
The first references to coal mining in the area can be found in the records of the priory at St Bee's. A charter shows that coal mines had been established in the Arrowthwaite area of Kells, as early as the late 13th century. These were only small workings on the outcrop, to supply the local domestic need. It was not until 1630, when the lands passed into the control of Sir Christopher Lowther, that the coal field began to be commercially developed. In 1634, he built a pier for exporting coal in the "village" of Whitehaven, which at that time had a population of less than 250. Through the next 350 years, mining continued with major inventions and developments in coal mining techniques.

Haig Colliery Mining Museum Haig Pit. No.4 shaft is on the left being initiated in the local mines. Haig was sunk for the Whitehaven Colliery Company Ltd between 1914 and 1918, to exploit the reserves between Ladysmith Pit, to the south and Wellington Pit, to the north. It is thought the name is in honour of General Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces at that time. As the company already had shafts numbered one, two, and three at Wellington Pit, the Haig shafts were numbered four and five.




Florence Mine Heritage Centre
Florence Mine Heritage Centre is based at the last, deep, iron ore mine in Western Europe, nestling midway between the Lake District fells and the Cumbrian Coast. It is the story of one of the great industries of West Cumbria, an industry which made the fortunes of some and brought tragedy to others; which brought waves of immigrants, not only from the tin mines of Cornwall and the copper mines of Ireland, but also from Poland and Italy creating prosperity and change.




Visit The wonderful Cumbria Railways website created by Peter Burgess at www.Cumbria-Railways.co.uk. It's dedicated to the lost railways of Northern Cumbria which have all closed during the last century. Many of the Cumbria Railways lines closed due to the decline in the industries that they serviced so well during their heyday such as Coal Mining, Iron Ore Mining and Steelmaking along with the closures recommended in the Beeching Report in the early 1960s.

The Corkickle Incline
   Corkickle Incline Pictures

Corkickle Incline Pictures


Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle, home to the Pennington family for 800 years, is a genuine treasure trove of art and antiques. Its Great Hall, Octagonal Library and elegant Dining Room are all windows on a grand past. But Muncaster's wild history reveals a flipside to life in a stately home. The castle evolved from the Pele Muncaster Castle Tower, built to repel marauding Scots. Those who stay here say it is haunted by ghosts, including the legendary Tom Fool. Between the Irish Sea and Hardknott Pass, Muncaster is located in one of Europe's most remote and dramatic landscapes. The wild setting of ancient woods and soaring mountains provides opportunities to explore the designated paths and walks. Try the awe inspiring Wild Walk or the fascinating Sino-Himalayan Trail. Walking boots or stout footwear recommended.



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