Newsletter 119

Good news. The Cockermouth Shop Front Heritage Grant Scheme has been recognised again with another award, this time from the Civic Trust Awards. We had a very successful first special members meeting with a request to arrange similar events on a regular basis in the future. We have some member’s activities for you to consider, the dinner on 25th April, a visit to the new Carlisle Archive Centre on 23rd May and our annual trip to Lytham St Anne’s in October. All of this and more follows!

2012 Civic Trust Awards

From 306 national and international entries, 52 projects were recognised by the prestigious Civic Trust Awards at a ceremony held at The Hub in Edinburgh on 2nd March 2012. Awards were presented to the best new buildings, public spaces, restorations and public art by Civic Trust Awards Patron, architect and TV presenter George Clarke and Civic Trust Awards Managing Director Malcolm Hankey. Our Cockermouth Shop Front Heritage Grant Scheme was a ‘Community Recognition Winner’, an award given to a project that ‘provides a positive social, cultural, environmental or economic benefit to the local community’. 


Its absolutely great to get the recognition for Cockermouth of both the Georgian Group and the Civic Trust Awards and both awards should help bring people into Cockermouth. However, there is no doubt that these are hard times for our shops both from the prevailing economic climate and a post-flood effect. The message is ‘use it or lose it’ as far as our town centre is concerned. It would be a crying shame if we lost what we have gained through our own collective fault. Please spread the message. 

Annual Dinner, Wednesday 25th April

Our annual dinner this year will be at the Allerdale Court Hotel at 7pm for 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th April. The price at £18.50 per person is actually slightly less than last year and I think you will agree, the menu is very attractive. If you would like to come, could you please complete the attached sheet & return it to Shirley Campbell.


As usual, we have organised an after-dinner speaker who this year will be Joan Ellis, Development Manager at Cockermouth School.

Special Member’s Meeting, 11th January

We held our special member’s meeting as planned on 11th January. We discussed a wide range of topics including developments in Cockermouth, (shop-fronts, streetscape, flood protection, housing developments), Civic Trust Activities and ways of recruiting new members. It was concluded that there had been a very worthwhile engagement between the membership and the elected committee and such meetings should become a regular feature, perhaps twice per year. Accordingly, the next such meeting has been programmed for 7.30pm on Wednesday 5th September at the Friend’s Meeting House. Please put this in your diary now! The committee took a few ideas and issues away & will report back at the next ‘member’s meeting’!

Carlisle Archive Centre, Wednesday 23rd May

The Cumbria Archive Centre in Carlisle (formerly known as the Cumbria Record Office) is now in a new, high-tech, purpose-built archive building attached to an historic house and has 26,000 boxes of archives, 1,300 shelves of books and 2,000 shelves of plans. John Dent has already visited the building and commends it to you. We have therefore arranged a guided visit for our members at 2.30pm on Wednesday 23rd May & it will last about 1½ hours. We have decided to absorb the £30 cost of the tour from our funds, but we still need to know how many people are going. If you would like to go, please inform Phil Campbell, in person at a lecture, on 01900 823485 or

Transport will be by own or shared vehicles. If you need a lift or can offer a lift to others, please let John know. Directions to get there from the city centre, follow A6 South sign down London Road and turn right immediately after (the southern) Aldi supermarket on right, approx 2 miles south of city centre. (postcode CA1 3AJ).

Cockermouth Police Station

Following closure of the Station on Main Street, we are hoping to organise a member’s guided visit to the building. This is likely to be at short notice so if you want to be included, please register your interest now with myself or John Dent, (824544).

Annual Trip, Lytham St Anne’s

We have been invited by Lytham St Anne’s Civic Trust to visit their town for our annual trip. A key place for us to visit will be Lytham Hall, a Grade 1 listed building which has been undergoing restoration.

However, their Civic Trust would also like to show us their two towns, ‘Lytham’ and ‘St Annes’.  Lytham is more historic and very picturesque in parts, being sheltered along the estuary. St Annes is a faded Victorian seaside resort but Heritage Lottery funds are being used to restore some of its former glory.

We have decided to delay our visit until October. We hope you don’t mind but there are a number of contributory reasons. One is that Lytham St Anne’s is very busy this year in the early summer with Jubiliee celebrations and the Open Golf Championship. Second Lytham Hall is still undergoing restoration & there will be more to see later in the year & the gardens are at their best with autumn colours, and third, we are thinking of bringing the coach home through Blackpool illuminations.

More information in the next newsletter.

‘Walk of Shame’ 10.30am, Saturday 7th July

We are not afraid to pick up ideas from other civic societies within Civic Voice. One such idea is the ‘walk of shame’, which we are organising for Cockermouth on 7th July. We intend taking a group of members and members of the wider public, (all invited), for a walk around the central town area. The objective is to identify buildings/areas that are detrimental to the overall ambiance of Cockermouth. Photographs will be taken and an information package passed on to the respective area/building owners. Subsequently, a follow up visit will be made to identify any improvements made and the results publicised.

Heritage Open Days, 6-9th September

We are again participating in the Heritage Open Days event & this year it will feature the following in Cockermouth:

  • Castle tours (Thus, Fri)
  • Lecture on Roman Papcastle dig update, with possible site open day (Fri)
  • Lecture on Cockermouth mills & industry (Fri)
  • Percy House (Thurs – Sat)
  • Higham Hall (Fri)
  • Masonic Hall (Sat)
  • Banks Ironmongers (Sat)
  • Friend’s Meeting House (Sat)
  • Eco Centre (Sat)
  • Winder Hall (Sat)

Tourist Information Office

You may be aware that the TIC is moving to Kings Arms Lane in April. We think this is an excellent move both for the tourists and for footfall in this area. We have already arranged for a new Town Trail map to be erected in Kings Arms Lane. We are also arranging for the one adjacent to the Kirkgate Centre to be renewed.

Town Trail Visitors

February 29th saw us help take a party of 57 people from Morecambe & District Ramblers around the town. They were very appreciative & donated £50 to our funds!  Marvejols students visited on March 15th & Blackpool Civic Trust is visiting us on April 17th  – they still anticipate bringing around 48 members!

Tour of Cockermouth Town Trail (17):

By Shirley Campbell

Cockermouth Castle has a very long history, much of it can only be appreciated by a visit. I know that many of you will have accompanied either Bernard or Mary Bradbury on such a trip, so this account will be a short hop with a few accompanying stories. (The Civic Trust is leading tours in 2012 during the Georgian Fair, Midsummer Festival and Heritage Open Days).

On the present site, the castle began as a wooden structure in 1130. With the arrival of William de Fortibus in 1241, building in stone began. Further extensions in the 1370s by Gilbert D’Umfraville used some Roman stone from Papcastle, which can be clearly seen above 14 feet in the inner bailey. This gives rise to the story of the stone being brought down the frozen river. The Kitchen Tower & the Flag Tower both date to about 1400.

1568 saw what might have been one of the castle’s most famous visitors. Mary Queen of Scots landed at Workington on her flight from Scotland. A survey of the castle estates in 1578 said “The Castle is nowe in great decaie”. So Mary stayed at Cockermouth Hall in Market Place with the Fletcher family before travelling on to Carlisle.

The castle was besieged in August & September 1648 during the Civil War by 500 royalist troops. Little damage was done and there were few casualties. However, in the following year the dry ditch outside the gatehouse was filled in & roofs & upper walls removed. Some looting took place, which included a cart-load of lead, five beds, 2 doors and a table.

Until the beginning of the C19th, the castle was very rarely visited by its owners who had more comfortable accommodation elsewhere. The 3rd Earl Egremont built the Georgian wing, which was finished in 1805. He lived there each summer and invited artists to stay, including Turner.

General Henry Wyndham lived there regularly from 1837-60. He prevented the building of the Cockermouth & Workington Extension railway just 500 yards away from his walls on the grounds that the noise and smoke would have made the place ‘totally unfit for his occupation’.

John Wyndham was created Baron Egremont in 1963. He had been Private Secretary to Harold MacMillan, who was a regular visitor. John’s widow, Pamela, divides her time between here and her London flat. Her son, Max, is now 7th Lord Leconfield and 2nd Baron Egremont. He lives at the family home of Petworth in Sussex, now owned by the National Trust.

Pevsner Architectural Guide – Cumbria

With thanks to Michael Baron

In the early 1950s Nikolaus Pevsner, (1902-1983), was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University, and was renowned for his Saturday morning illustrated lectures on European art and architecture. In 1945 Pevsner had begun work on what was to be ‘a work of manic diligence’. Travelling everywhere in a Wolseley Hornet, living off a diet of fish and chips, he explored and dissected the architecture of Britain. In due course, he got to Cumberland and Westmorland, between 1964 and 1966. This volume of his architectural guide was published in 1967 and remained, until 2010, the handbook, the essential companion to any student or curious traveller eager to see what Pevsner saw.

Pevsner’s original place-by-place survey of our Cumbrian architectural inventory has now been revisited by Mathew Hyde and ‘The Buildings of England, Cumbria’, (2010), has been published by Yale University Press, credited to both Matthew Hyde and Nikolaus Pevsner.

Cockermouth is covered in 9 pages of this 700 page tome which now includes all of Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness. In respect of Cockermouth, the book starts by describing the main buildings of the town, namely the religious buildings, the castle and Wordsworth House. It then takes a ‘perambulation’ around the town centre visiting the buildings of Main Street, Waterloo Street, Market Place, Station Street, etc. It is worth a read and there is a copy in the library if the price tag scares you off!

National Trust & English Heritage Day Passes

As a member of the Civic Trust & Civic Voice, you can claim a single entry pass for both a National Trust Property and an English Heritage Property. To do this, you need to apply on line through the respective web site addresses. We will send the links to members on email distribution after we receive them in April. Others can ask me for the web link, or post a request with a stamped addressed envelope to Civic Voice, Unit 101, 82 Wood St, The Tea Factory, Liverpool L1 4DQ. This should include contact details & refer to your membership of Cockermouth Civic Trust.

You will be able to download and print your vouchers from the website, remembering to apply separately for couples who are both members.

The National Trust vouchers are valid for their properties until 30th April 2013, & are transferable to friends & family. The English Heritage Voucher is valid until 30th June 2012, and then from 1st September 2012 until 31st January 2013; these are not transferable.

Phil Campbell, Chairman

Cockermouth & District Civic Trust Annual Dinner

Wednesday, 25th April, 19.00 for 19.30 at the Allerdale Court Hotel



Our dinner this year will be at the Allerdale Court Hotel, Cockermouth on Wednesday 25th April, 7pm for 7.30pm. As usual we will have an after dinner speaker – this year it will be Joan Ellis. The cost per person will be £18.50. If you would like to come, please return this sheet to Shirley Campbell along with a cheque payable to Cockermouth Civic Trust, indicating your menu choices. Please remember to keep a record of what you have chosen. Address to send to is 27 The Mount, Papcastle, Cockermouth, CA13 0JY. A self-addressed envelope would be appreciated.





Daily market soup with a chunk of rustic bread


Grilled goats cheese on a field mushroom with balsamic glaze & crispy pancetta


Mini penne bolognaise



Pan fried chicken fillet in a red wine, button onion & mushroom sauce with braised rice


Roasted belly pork with black pudding with Madeira jus & champ potatoes


Steamed fillet of salmon on tagliatelle Verde glazed with a cheese sauce


Fresh fruit salad


Chocolate fudge cake


Strawberry cheesecake

Coffee or tea