Newsletter 122

Clearly it was very disappointing for us all to learn that the Main Street Streetscape Scheme can only go ahead on a partial basis, at least for the foreseeable future. Perhaps not surprising in the current economic climate. I believe the shortfall was only around £500,000, not a lot for grand schemes, but a lot of money for most of us. At least we will get renewal of the pavement on the north side of Main Street with quality materials! Lets hope that all of the work that so many people have already put into this project doesn’t become completely wasted and phase 2 of the project will actually happen. It will be up to the people of Cockermouth and you, our members, to keep the concept alive.

With this partially in mind, I was surprised to learn recently that local councillors do not get that many letters from their constituents and consequently those that they do receive are that bit more powerful. You may have noticed that we now get fairly regular requests from Civic Voice to write to our MP about issues of national concern to the civic movement that are currently before parliament, (or should be before parliament!). Perhaps we can learn from this at local level and should consider writing to our respective councillors about issues that concern us both as a civic society and as individuals. A lot of us don’t even know who our own councillors are at parish, borough and county level?

We were really pleased that so many of us, (about 20), turned up for lunch at Jennings with the Chief Executive of Civic Voice, Steve Graham, on his recent visit to Cockermouth. There was lively discussion and Steve reported that he thoroughly enjoyed his visit and I’m sure that the whole event succeeded in putting us on the Civic Voice map.

In contrast, it was a bit disappointing how few members turned up for our special members meeting. These meetings aim to discuss the issues of the day and seem well received by members that come, but would be more powerful if we had more representation there. A key output was a brainstorm on local listing, see later.

Our dinner is fully subscribed this year, so I am hoping that our trip to Lytham St Annes will be popular as well. Now is the time to book your tickets.

There are two forthcoming events where we are seeking help from members, our Civic Day event on June 15th and the Cockermouth Clean Up Day on May 24th, see later for both.

Finally please pay this year’s subscription if you haven’t already, as we will otherwise need to stop sending you the newsletter. If you are not sure, contact Ian Dodsworth, (01900 823599).

Lytham St Annes – Wednesday June 12th.

Our arrangements for our trip to Lytham St Annes have now been agreed with the local Civic Society and we are now ready to take bookings. I hope that our trip is as well supported as last years to Blackpool because it again promises to be an interesting trip, but very different from Blackpool.

Perhaps the main highlight of our day will be our guided tour in the afternoon of Lytham Hall. Lytham Hall is a fine grade 1 listed 18th century manor house. The Hall is situated in 80 acres of mature parkland, and was built for Thomas Clifton by John Carr of York between 1752-1764 on the site of an earlier manor house and Priory settled by Benedictine monks from Durham.

In the morning, after time for refreshments, we will have a walking tour and then free time for lunch in Lytham. Lytham was founded around 600 BC. For many centuries the economy of Lytham was dependent on fishing and shrimping, until the advent of tourism and seaside health cures. After the start of the industrial revolution, wealthy industrialists moved from the east of the county. Lytham’s tree-lined streets are flanked by small shops, of which many are still family businesses.

After our tour of Lytham Hall, we will have the opportunity for refreshments. We have included a recommended option for a ‘package’ of coffee/tea served with freshly baked scones & homemade cakes, (£4.60). If you opt out of this package, you will need to fend for yourself at the café or even take a walk in the park. Next we board the coach for a tour of St Anne’s before our journey home.

St Anne’s was a 19th-century planned town, officially founded on 31 March 1875 when the cornerstone of the St Anne’s Hotel was laid. The town was mostly laid out according to a plan drawn up by businessman Elijah Hargreaves, who saw the economic benefits of attracting large numbers of visitors from the mill towns to the east. It retains much of its original character today, and is fighting hard to become a stylish town to rival Lytham.

A more detailed itinerary is included with the ticket application attached. The basis cost of £20 is made up of £15 coach and £5 Lytham Hall tour.

Town Spring Clean Day, Friday May 24th

Joe Broomfield, the Town Manager for Cockermouth, is organising a town clean up day for Friday May 24th, for which we have pledged the Civic Trust’s support. The idea is idea is that we all as volunteers do a little bit, or more if we are able, towards cleaning up or tidying up Cockermouth. This might involve collecting litter, cleaning street signs, etc anywhere in Cockermouth, perhaps starting on your own street. Allerdale Borough Council will make cleaning materials and refreshments available to participants at the Riversmeet Resource Centre in Market Street. Please help if you can, there will be more information provided in the press nearer the time. Allerdale BC will also be doing their bit on the day, perhaps cleaning the big signs, etc!

Civic Day Event, Saturday June 15th.

In the last newsletter, we mentioned that we will be having a Civic Day event on the morning of June 15th at the United Reformed Church. This will take the form of an exhibition and discussion points along with coffee and biscuits. We have selected the following current issues for the exhibition:

  • Local planning & how we want Cockermouth to develop
  • Walks of Pride & potential improvements to our streetscape
  • Local listing, what it is & what should be subject to listing locally
  • Flags for Cumberland and Cockermouth, their value.
  • Membership of the Civic Trust & what it provides.

We will also have a book sales desk and promotion of our new book, ‘Main Street Reborn’.

We are still looking for volunteers to help, particularly with the refreshments. More importantly, we hope that many of you will come along and join in the discussions, supporting your Civic Trust.

Local Listing

The National Planning Policy Framework advises local authorities to set out a positive strategy for the conservation & enjoyment of the historic environment in their local plan. The emphasis is to sustain & enhance the significance of heritage assets, which may be buildings, places, areas or landscapes. The local list is a means for the community and local authority to jointly identify heritage assets. Local listing does not entail additional consent requirements over & above normal planning permission, but can help to influence planning decisions as there is a legal requirement for such heritage assets to be a material consideration. A local list cannot be compiled by a single organisation or even just by the local authority; it needs to be a community effort. However, the initiative for such lists often comes from local organisations such as civic trusts and it will be a forthcoming focus for ourselves for Cockermouth. Duncan Keeler has agreed to take the lead & if any member wants to be involved in this specific project, please contact Duncan, (01900 821799).

We started the ball rolling with a brainstorming of potential candidates for the local list at our member’s meeting in February. Examples of the output includes:

  • Wall signage (Fletchers Fearless Clothing)
  • Waterloo Street (group of buildings)
  • The view down Station Street
  • River frontages
  • The Old Armoury building
  • Façade of the old police station
  • The arches (South St, Riverside car park)
  • Birth places of famous sons, Fearon Fallows, John Dalton.
  • Gote Mill race

plus many more.

Walk of Pride Follow Up – Friday 8th February

As reported in the last newsletter, we had a follow up tour of town to formally review progress. This time Joe Broomfield, Town Manager and Bob Henderson, Locality Manager from Allerdale BC, accompanied us. This particularly enabled us to deal with some things straight away such as removing out of date notices and illegally positioned advertisements such as for ‘slimming world’. The overall outcome was similar to that reported in the last newsletter, i.e. a lot of progress made but also a lot of improvement that still could be achieved. There clearly has been value in doing the walks & it is something we want to keep doing. If you would like to join us on our next one in the summer, or if you have a particular area that you would like to see us cover, could you please contact John Dent, (jrdent @

Cockermouth Joint Action Group             

Joe Broomfield & Bob Henderson, who came with us on the Walk of Pride, sit on the Cockermouth Joint Action Group and an outline of this group is given below for your information. Its main aim is to provide a clean, safe, accessible and attractive local environment. Members of the Group meet regularly to coordinate work on a variety of issues including ‘street scene’, environmental projects and anti-social behaviour. The focus of the group is the town centre but they also consider issues across the Cockermouth locality. Members of the group additionally include representatives from:

–          Cockermouth Town Council

–          Cumbria County Council

–          Cumbria Police

–          Local housing associations (Impact, Home Group, Derwent and Solway)

–          Others in relation to specific projects.     

If members of the public have issues or ideas of which they would like to make the group aware, they can get in touch by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contacting Allerdale Borough Council’s Street ‘SceneTeam’ on 01900 702800. Types of issues that people can report include dog fouling, fly tipping, broken benches, signs and bins, and damage to the highway and footways. Problems that can’t be resolved immediately by organisations represented within the Group are added to an issue log and discussed at Group meetings.            The group welcomes positive comments about work being done and ideas for community initiatives, such as litter picks, and ways to improve the town centre.

Lowther Went

You have probably walked past this Electricity Sub Station in Lowther Went many times. We have written to Electricity North West to see if it can be tidied up, repainted etc to try & make it less of an eyesore in a prime shopping area in town.

We have also asked if they would be prepared to install some artwork in the false windows to make a much bigger improvement. We have something in mind, but watch this space.

Heritage Open Days, 12th-15th September 2013

We have organised a programme of activities again this year so your support in attending is appreciated. Some activities are mentioned later in this newsletter & a full programme will be available at the TIC nearer the time. Other activities for Cockermouth this year include castle tours, Masonic Hall, Wordsworth House, Winder Hall, Percy House, Higham Hall, Isel Hall, Eco Centre & Banks Ironmongers.

Dorothy Wordsworth, a ‘Famous Daughter’

Dorothy Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth on Christmas Day in 1771, the younger sister of William Wordsworth. The two siblings remained very close throughout their lives and in their early years in Cockermouth they both nurtured a devotion to the natural beauty of the Cumbrian countryside, which continued to inspire them through adulthood. As part of Heritage Open Days this year, we have arranged a talk by Stephen Miller, Community Outreach Officer for the Wordsworth Trust, on Dorothy Wordsworth. He will explore the life and writing of Dorothy, looking at her letters, diaries and poetry which reveal the events of her life through her own words, including the tragic end to her early childhood in Cockermouth. She was a great source of inspiration to her brother William and her diaries record the everyday routine of their lives together in Grasmere in meticulous detail. The talk also coincides with the current special exhibition at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, the first exhibition ever to honour Dorothy Wordsworth on her own. The talk will be at 10am on Friday September 13th at the Kirkgate Centre, free entry.

Derventio – Roman Papcastle

The 2012 dig revealed the remains of a ‘mansio’ and two bath-houses, making this one of the most important discoveries in the North of England for many years. There were some surprises too, including the discovery of a skeleton beneath the floor of one of the bath-houses and a candelabra.

We have secured 3 events for this year’s Heritage Open Days relating to Derventio:

  • A lecture by Mark Graham at the Kirkgate Centre reviewing the findings to date & looking forward to this year’s dig. (11.30, Friday 13th September)
  • ·         On the Friday afternoon, the exhibition of the dig findings will be manned by project staff, who will provide interpretation of the artefacts. There will also be an opportunity to handle some archaeology and visitors are invited to bring along their own findings for expert interpretation.
  • On Saturday 14th September, there will be an open day at the 2013 dig, which is likely to be in the field to the East of Papcastle.

For more information concerning the archaeology, visit .

New Town Trail Notice – Kirkgate.

We have replaced an old town trial notice that had seen better days and was out of date with a brand new one. It is situated in the same place as the old one at the bottom of Kirkgate at the entrance to the Kirkgate Centre. The cost has been funded by ourselves, (in memory of John Chakko, Quaker and supporter of the Civic Trust), and Wigton Motor Club (from the Cockermouth Revival Car Rally held after the floods). Thanks are also due to the Cockermouth Town Council in agreeing for the Trust to act as their agents in the erection of the notice. The notice includes a brief history of the town, famous people born in the town and an account of the Cockermouth flood, all spaced around a central map of the town showing the Town Trail and places of interest. We hope that the new and improved notice will give better information for visitors and will enhance their visit to our town.

Presentation of Copies of Brabury’s History of Cockermouth to Local Schools

Presentations of copies of the book to Cockermouth, Lorton, All Saints, Fairfield and St Josephs Schools have been made recently. Phil Campbell, Shirley Campbell and John Dent visited each school and the presentations were made at assemblies. We hope that the book might help the children to learn about the history of their home town.

Book Sales

Our new book, ‘Cockermouth – Main Street Reborn’, will be ready for sale in late spring. It records the improvements to the building frontages on Main Street, Market Place and Station Street since the 2009 floods. We have reduced the retail price from our earlier thoughts to £7.50, as we are not seeking to make a profit, but do need to regain our outlays over time. As with the ‘History of Cockermouth’ book, we are making it available to our members at a reduced price, in this case at £5.

Workington Civic Trust Activities

Those of you who are on email distribution will know that our members are invited on the Workington Civic Trust annual trip. This is on May 15th to the Motor Museum at Backbarrow, Haverthwaite & Bowness utilising coach, train & lake steamer. The cost is £25pp & there are already a few of us going from Cockermouth. If you want further information or wish to book, please contact Anne Burton of Workington Civic Trust on 01900 601424, or c/o 34 Dora Crescent, Workington. CA14 2EZ.

We have also been contacted to ask if any of our members would be interested in attending two other activities, no booking required:

  • Wed 26th June, 7pm. A talk by Phil Bent, the engineer involved in the very complex repair of the Workington bridge on what was involved. At the Helena Thompson Museum.
  • Sun 14th July, 2pm. A town drive, (by vintage bus), and walk featuring the new and repaired  bridges of Workington. Pick up from the Helena Thompson Museum.

Bus Shelters

A number of people have been concerned that the proposed bus shelters for Cockermouth town centre have not been included in Phase 1 of the streetscape scheme, and by implication may not be provided at all. There is a campaign for early provision of shelters, some people voicing to the effect that ‘cheap and nasty’ is better than nothing at all. From our perspective, while we support the objective of providing bus shelters, these must be of quality design fitting to our quality town centre streetscape. We are also wary of temporary solutions that have a habit of becoming permanent, and there is no mechanism to prevent this. A specific suggestion made is to introduce bus shelters of a type introduced in High Lorton. We believe that this may be appropriate in High Lorton or in out of town centre locations, but would be detrimental to our town centre. There are better designs out there that could be utilised!

It is inconceivable that we should support poor design of any structure on Main Street after all the time, effort and money spent on the improvements following the floods. Once you set the standard you must maintain it or there is no point!

We are also aware that some people have argued for totally enclosed bus shelters to give maximum weather protection. We are advised that open fronted bus shelters have evolved for use in town centres for practical and safety reasons. On an enclosed shelter, if the bus does not perfectly align, passengers are forced to squeeze between the shelter & the bus. They are also forced out onto the road when a bus arrives that not everyone in the shelter wants to catch.

John Dalton, Famous Son

John Dalton, famous as a chemist and developer of atomic theory, was born in Eaglesfield in September 1766. This will be 250 years ago in 2016 and we have thought, along with the Museum Group, that we in Cockermouth & District should celebrate this anniversary in some way.

It may be 3 years ahead, but I’m afraid that time soon passes & we do need to think ahead. So to start the thinking, here are a few facts about his young days, but if you have access to more information, we will be very pleased to know.

The cottage of his youth in Eaglesfield has a ‘blue plaque’ commemorating his life.

John’s ancestors were of lowly birth and earned their living either in the practice of husbandry or by labour that was not highly skilled. His father, Joseph was a weaver of cheap woollen goods. His mother, Deborah, augmented the small income by selling paper, ink and quills from the porch of the cottage. As soon as he was old enough, John was taught to help his father in the weaving trade. His early instruction in mathematics was obtained from his father but he also attended a school in the Pardshaw Meeting House premises, his family being Quakers. When the Pardshaw School closed, John opened one himself at the age of 12 in Eaglesfield, first in a barn, then at home and finally in the Eaglesfield Meeting House. He earned around 5 shillings a week from the school. At this time he received further personal tuition from another Eaglesfield Quaker, particularly in mathematics but also in meteorology, which became a lifelong interest. He is credited for keeping weather records over his whole adult life. After a couple of years, John gave up his school & turned his hand to farming. This didn’t last long and at the age of 16, he moved to Kendal to be assistant to his brother at a school there. He never returned to Eaglesfield to live, but often returned to visit friends and relatives and to walk the Lake District fells.

Electronic Mail – John Dent

Our membership is currently around 100. Of these, just over half have agreed to receive their newsletters and other communications by email. We produce 3 or 4 newsletters per year and this is the only communication we have with members not on our emailing list. However, members on the email list get regular updates from the national Civic Voice and the regional North West Association of Civic Societies We are also able to keep those members up to date with what is happening locally – for example, the Civic Pride Walk progress. Also, use of email costs nothing whereas there is a printing and postage costs to send the hard copies. If you are not already on our emailing list and would like to receive future newsletters and other up to date information by email please notify me at

Phil Campbell, Chairman



8.30am Leave Cockermouth from pick up point in Wakefield Road car park
Comfort break only at Lancaster services
11am (approx) Arrive at Lowther Gardens, Lytham. We first pause for coffee & tea (& the recommended cake if you wish) at the café in the gardens. Please note that this is self- service & the cost is NOT included this year.
11.30am (approx) Take a walking tour into Lytham with members of Lytham St Annes Civic Trust, followed by free time for lunch, etc.
2pm Board coach for transfer to Lytham Hall
2.30pm Guided tour of Lytham Hall
4pm Either  coffee/tea & freshly made scones & cakes in Lytham Hall café OR free time. Note that if you want the refreshment package, you must book now in advance.
4.30pm (approx) Depart Lytham Hall for a tour of St Annes, again with members of Lytham St Annes Civic Trust. (mainly coach based).
5pm (approx) Depart St Annes for home.




Please return this form along with a cheque made out to ‘Cockermouth Civic Trust’, to Shirley Campbell, Cockermouth Civic Trust, 27 The Mount, Papcastle, Cockermouth, CA13 0JY. A self-addressed envelope would be appreciated.

Your Name & Address & telephone no.





Number of tickets required

_________    at £20 (without afternoon refreshments)


___________ at £24.60 (inclusive of afternoon refreshment package at Lytham Hall)

Total money enclosed:  £________________



Pick up point is in Wakefield Road car park at 8.30am