Happy New Year to you all. I think you will agree that 2013 was quite a busy year for us. I would highlight in particular the following successes:
- The Walks of Pride, which have resulted in visible improvements to the townscape, potentially with more in the pipeline.
- A meeting with the then director of Civic Voice, Steve Graham, at Jennings Brewery.
- The launch of our book, ‘Main Street Reborn’
- The production and unveiling of the 2 artworks on the electricity substation building in Lowther Went by our Town Mayor, Philip Graham.
- A Civic Day event that drew in around 50 people, included the book launch & gained a Civic Voice award.
All this is in addition to our normal members activities, town trail & castle tours, Heritage Open Days, etc. Of course there have been some disappointments. Clearly in this respect there is the proposal for a town flag, which has currently floundered due to lack of Town Council support. Also developments have been approved without the quality that we have been seeking, in particular for the Fitz and Sullart Street. For this reason, we are looking to engage on design issues earlier in the process for future developments, in particular for the proposed Strawberry How development.
And so what should our priorities be for 2014? This is partly up to you, our members, and we are organising a special member’s meeting in March to discuss this, (see later). Clearly there is likely to be opportunity to review and potentially influence the planning application for Strawberry How. Full planning approval also still needs to be sought for the Fitz at some stage. A key activity that we would like to progress is the development of a local heritage list for Allerdale, specifically including Cockermouth. Duncan Keeler is leading this and 3 of us attended a related workshop run by English Heritage organised by NWACTS. Such a list identifies buildings, places, etc which are not nationally listed but have local heritage value which needs to be considered in planning applications, etc. Creating the list represents an investment in our town’s future. This will be a significant task because it requires involvement of other organisations, public consultation and approval by the District Council.
Civic Voice AGM
The 2013 Civic Voice AGM was held in Liverpool and 4 of our members attended on our behalf. As well as the meeting itself, there were organised walking tours in Liverpool, a social ‘meet other societies’ evening, workshops and a keynote speech from Griff Rhys Jones, President of Civic Voice. This year’s AGM also saw Freddie Dick take over from Paula Ridley as Chair of Civic Voice. Freddie is a former research scientist and international management consultant who has been involved with civic societies for about 20 years and is currently a member of Civic Societies in Cheltenham, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
Presentations were made to a number of civic societies for their contributions to Civic Day 2013, including ourselves, specifically for our book launch of ‘Main Street Reborn’
Civic Voice Manifesto
Following the approval of the Manifesto Themes at the AGM in Liverpool, the members of the Manifesto Working Group want to continue a dialogue with members as they draft the Civic Manifesto Document that will be launched in 2014 at the Party Political conferences. This will give Civic Voice time to influence the Political Party manifestos. The main focus of concern for the Civic Manifesto will be:
1. The Planning System 2. Priorities for Growth 3. Town & City Centres 4. Design Quality 5. Heritage 6. The Public Realm 7. Civic Pride & Civic Action
Cockermouth Civic Trust AGM
We held our AGM on Wednesday 6th November & the minutes have been placed on our web site & will be made available at the 2014 AGM. If you would like a paper copy now, please ask our Secretary.
At the AGM, Eric Apperley stepped down from the committee. He received a vote of thanks for his major contribution over many years and specifically recently for producing our book, ‘Main Street Reborn’. Although stepping down, Eric has agreed to continue his interest as publications editor.
Otherwise, the committee members were re-elected in their existing roles and Brian Coley was elected onto committee.
2012/13 Lecture Meeting Programme
Here is a reminder of our remaining lecture meetings for this season, all at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House, Kirkgate. The topics are as follows:
5th Feb – Jubilee Celebrations, Ian McClery.
5th Mar – The History of Heraldry, Alan Gane.
2nd Apr – The history of immigration in West Cumbria, Margaret Bremner
We are holding another member’s meeting at the Friends Meeting House at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 19th March. It is again an opportunity for us to discuss issues and developments in Cockermouth and around and to consider the future focus of the Civic Trust. A specific topic will be local heritage listing. Please do come along and support your Civic Trust.
Annual Dinner, Wednesday April 30th
Our annual dinner this year will again be at the Allerdale Court Hotel, at 7pm for 7.30pm on Wednesday 30th April, cost £19.50 per person. John Cusack has agreed to be our after dinner speaker. If you would like to come, could you please return the attached menu selection form with cheque to Shirley Campbell at the address shown.
Bernard Bradbury Memorial Lecture 2014
The Bernard Bradbury Memorial Lecture is held every 2 years at the Kirkgate Centre, and is organised in association with the Museum Group and the Derwent and Lorton Fells Local History Group. Each society takes it in turn to take the lead and this year it falls to us. It will be on Friday September 5th and will be given by Andy Lowe on ‘Lakeland Architecture through the Centuries’. Andy is a former conservation officer for the Lake District National Park and is a well known lecturer, including at Higham Hall. More details in a later newsletter, but meantime please put it in your diary as I can assure you it will be an excellent talk.
As you will be aware, commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War 1 begins this year in August with commemoration of the outbreak of the war and will continue with events through to 2018 when there will be commemoration of the armistice. Cockermouth Town Council have established a committee to decide on a local programme of commemoration events and Shirley Campbell is representing the Trust on it. If you have any thoughts about what should be done, please let Shirley know.
Local artist and Civic Trust member Victor de Quincey has produced a design for a commemorative plaque as shown above – the war memorial and local regiment badges on a poppy. We are not sure yet how this suggested plaque will be used as the Town Council already have a stone plaque in mind for mounting on the war memorial.
Walks of Pride
‘Just a note to say how chuffed we were to receive your letter praising our house following the ‘Civic Trust’s ‘Walk of Pride’. We’ve spent countless hours (& a hefty amount of cash!) trying to get the place looking lovely so it was great to get ‘official’ praise! I hope it’ll look even better soon when we get rid of the tatty gate & sort the front yard out! Thanks again, your comments really are appreciated.’
This was a letter received following our 2013 Walk of Pride. It was very nice to receive. It is in sharp contrast to many of our letters that receive no reply at all. However, experience shows that this does not necessarily mean that no notice has been taken! We will be monitoring progress later this year.
Walks from Cockermouth
One of the booklets that we now publish, written by Bernard Bradbury, is ‘Walks from Cockermouth’. This describes 9 walks from Cockermouth (with variations) using public footpaths of lengths between 6km and 15km, (4 and 9 miles). Experience shows that these walks are very well described and reveal what beautiful countryside we have immediately around Cockermouth, you do not always have to travel into the Lakes. However, when I was walking one of them recently, I found that part of it was very overgrown, making passage very difficult. I duly reported this to Cumbria CC & they have said that they will make it good. However, we subsequently realised that we do not as a Trust regularly inspect the walks in the booklet that we sell, so we have decided to have a regular programme of ‘walking the walks’. We will be looking out for difficulties in the route such as overgrown paths or degradation to stiles and also for changes needed in the route description – such as a telephone kiosk in Redmain that was a way-mark but has been removed.
Oakhurst Petrol Station Development
You may well know that Euro Garages made a planning application for replacement of their facilities at Oakhurst with more modern facilities including a Starbucks café and a Subway shop. They subsequently withdrew the application but we were aware that they intended to resubmit. We therefore took the opportunity to write to them expressing our views on their proposals. They responded by inviting us to a meeting to discuss their revised proposals. This was a very positive meeting and they seemed very open to our concerns and suggestions, given that the facilities will be a 21st century petrol station. Our main concern is that the facilities are at the principle gateway to Cockermouth and should be as sympathetic to their local environment as practicable. We are also looking for some linkage in with Cockermouth to encourage passing motorists to consider visiting the town as well as just refuelling.
We became aware that our two County Councillors were intending to provide bus shelters out of their allocated funds. While we are clearly sympathetic to such provision, we remain concerned that they are of quality design and construction and wrote to each of them accordingly:
‘We understand that you have agreed to fund bus shelters on both the north and south sides of Main Street. We would like to reiterate the views of the Civic Trust on such provision of bus shelters, something that we have always been very clear about. We clearly recognise the need for bus shelters of some form in Cockermouth. However, we are equally clear that any provision must be of quality and complementary to the historic buildings on Main Street, and should not impose their presence on the superb vista along our street. We are sure that you agree that poor quality and design will have a very negative impact on the streetscape, something that we all ought to seek to avoid after all the effort and money that has been put into the shop-front improvement scheme and currently into the streetscape itself. Remember that the town has received several national awards for the former. We would therefore like to seek assurance from you that if you do proceed with funding the bus shelters, that you do not compromise on quality and design. We are aware that the County Council have installed new bus shelters on English Street in Carlisle and believe that Cockermouth deserves at least as good an installation as in this precedence. We have heard suggestion that the currently proposed shelters are intended to be temporary and would be replaced in a couple of year’s time. We are very sceptical that this would ever happen. Instead, we would recommend that if short term funding is an issue, a quality shelter is provided now on one side of the street with the intent to provide a second on the other side when funding becomes available’.
Contrary to what you may have read, the Councillors did not consult with ourselves, or the Main Street, Street Scene Committee, before choosing their preferred design.
Street Parking Charges
You will be aware that Cumbria CC carried out a consultation exercise on their proposals for cost savings. Amongst these, the proposals for introducing charging for on street parking in town centres re-emerged. We have objected to these proposals on behalf of the Civic Trust. We feel that our town centre is under enough financial pressure as it is without introducing another scheme that will further encourage out of town shopping.
Electronic Mail, (John Dent)
Our membership is currently 104. Of these 63 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 email@example.com
Membership 2013-2014 Reminder
If you have not yet renewed your Membership for 2013-14 yet please do so as soon as practicable by contacting our Treasurer, Ian Dodsworth.
We are currently considering visiting the Barrow area sometime in June for this year’s annual outing. Although it is in the same county as us, we
tend to neglect it as being too difficult to travel to. However, it is an interesting and scenic area and we plan to include Furness Abbey, the Dock Museum and Barrow Town Hall. To make the journeys even more interesting, we are thinking of travelling down by the coastal route & back through the Lakes. Nothing fixed yet, so wait for the next newsletter.
Dowager Lady Egremont
We were saddened to hear of the death of the Dowager Lady Egremont on November 4th. She has been a long term supporter of local charities, including the Civic Trust, and we have been very grateful for her allowing us to conduct castle tours, the castle being her home and garden.
Pamela had a long & colourful life and had 2 sisters, all 3 of them being considered ‘beauties’. At the outset of World War 2, she became a wren & was sent to Bletchley Park to work on decoding operations. Her father was then in the Navy, commanding destroyers in the Mediteranean, but was appointed naval attache to Argentina near the end of the war & Pamela accompanied him there. On return to the UK, she met and married John Wyndham. John had been working for Harold Macmillan, an association & friendship that was to last. John subsequently inherited Petworth and Cockermouth Castle and associated lands through the death of an uncle. John died young in 1972.
Pamela was widely travelled and in the late 1960s started to go to the Far East, working for some weeks each spring in a hospital run by French Nuns near Saigon during the Vietnam War. She also visited India & Bangladesh on behalf of the charity ‘Impact’, which treated blindness in remote districts. When her elder son married in 1978, Pamela left Petworth & thereafter spent significant time each year at Cockermouth Castle, which had become neglected.
Pamela’s son, the current Lord Egremont, is the President of Cockermouth & District Civic Trust.
I would like to thank all members who made donations towards the second artwork in Lowther Went. As a result of these and other donations, I am pleased to be able to report that, save for £4, we were able to cover the cost without dipping into our funds.
Phil Campbell, Chairman
Cockermouth Civic Trust – Annual Dinner
Wednesday 30th April 2014 – Allerdale Court -7pm for 7.30pm
Our dinner this year will be at the Allerdale Court Hotel, Cockermouth on Wednesday 30th April, 7pm for 7.30pm. As usual we will have an after dinner speaker – this year it will be John Cusack. The cost per person will be £19.50. 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.
|Starter||Fresh market vegetable soup served with homemade rustic bread|
|Our smooth chicken liver pate topped with Cumberland Sauce & served with Melba toast.|
|Garlic mushrooms in a rich cream sauce, edged with a cheese flatbread.|
|Black pudding and sliced apple stacked with homemade apple sauce|
|Melon rose with a sweet fruit compote|
|Traditional Cumberland sausage on chive mash, with onion gravy & glazed carrots|
|Fleetwood fish pie with prawns, salmon, cod & garden peas, topped with cheesy chive mash|
|Homemade beef lasagne with house salad|
|Homemade vegetable lasagne with house salad|
|Roasted pork belly & black pudding with Madeira Jus & Champ potatoes|
|Roasted butternut squash filled with a mushroom & asparagus risotto & creamed Puy lentils|
|Sweet||Sticky toffee pudding|
|Raspberry cheese cake|
|Fresh tropical fruit salad|
|Coffee or tea|
NUMBER OF TICKETS_______ AMOUNT ENCLOSED: £________ (£19.50 per ticket)