Newsletter 127

The committee would like to wish all of our members a happy new year for 2015. We certainly hope that it will be a good year for Cockermouth after all of the pains from the Main Street road works in 2014. Certainly the Christmas festivities and the lantern festival seem to have returned some heart to our town and we hope this continues through the New Year. We look forward to seeing you in our Main Street shops!

All of the roadwork pain is not yet over of course. The new storm drains in Main Street have not yet been connected to the river along High Sand Lane and we hope that the County Council speedily complete this to give the town the full benefit of the investment. Also, the County Council are due to implement repair and maintenance work to the highway in Market place.

We were clearly very pleased with the County Council announcement that they have abandoned plans to introduce on street parking charges in a number of towns across the county. We have campaigned strongly against this as, in our view, such a scheme in Cockermouth would be detrimental to the health of our town centre. We like to think that our campaign has significantly contributed to the council decision.

In contrast, we are disappointed at the number of new housing developments that have been approved for Cockermouth in such a short time period. Whilst we consider Strawberry How to be a good quality development, we are very concerned about the rate of change and the potential adverse effect that this will have on the infrastructure and ambiance of the town that makes it what it is. We wonder what the point is in Allerdale BC having a Local Plan if they do not use it! Something we will be talking about a lot more!

There was a very full house for the Bernard Bradbury Memorial lecture in September and everyone was rewarded by a very informative illustrated talk on Lakeland architecture. It certainly makes me look at traditional buildings in our area with added interest when I am out and about. Heritage Open Days were also successful but numbers attending have gradually fallen, perhaps because many of the locations have now been open for HODS for a number of years. Ideas for new venues or activities would be very much appreciated.

And so to 2015. I remind you that our lecture season continues on 4th February with the story of a Barrow Housewife during the war. We have arranged our annual dinner for Wednesday 22nd April at the Trout, this year at lunchtime after a poll at one of our lectures. We are looking to arrange our annual trip in June, this year to visit Hoghton Tower & Samlesbury Hall, both near Preston. We are arranging a tour of the castle for our members in late August with the opportunity to meet Lord & Lady Egremont. A short term focus for 2015 will be the Grade II listed building inspections for which we have 16 volunteers. Longer term, we hope to embark on creating the Local List for Cockermouth, now that we have agreement from Allerdale BC.



Our AGM was held on 5th November. No fireworks, but we reported in detail on our activities last year and our objectives for 2015. Your officers were re-elected unopposed. Rebecca Hanson resigned from committee due to other commitments and we thank her for her contributions over the last couple of years. Two additional members were voted on to committee, Ros Earthy and Margaret Coley.

Subscription Renewal

Just a reminder to renew your subscription for this year in case you have forgotten to do so. The annual fee again remains unchanged at £5.50, and £5 for every additional member in the same household. We need you!


2014/15 Lecture Meeting Programme

A reminder of our remaining lectures for this season:

4th Feb – ‘Nella Last – the War of a Barrow Housewife’, by Pat Martin, Helena Thompson Museum

4th Mar – ‘Tales of the Special Constabulary’, by Alan Gane.

1st Apr – ‘The Origins of the Historic Scottish Counties’, by Dr Philip Tibbetts

Annual Dinner, Wednesday 22nd April

We have decided to hold this year’s dinner at the Trout at lunchtime, 12 noon for 12.30 on Wednesday 22nd April. The cost is £19.50 per person. If you are interested in coming, could you please complete the attached menu request & send along with your remittance.


Visit to Cockermouth Castle, August

Lord & Lady Egremont have kindly agreed to us organising a special tour around the castle for our members only, sometime in late August. We hope that there will also be the opportunity to meet them as they anticipate being in residence at the time. Although we haven’t agreed an exact date yet, it would be helpful if you could express interest by returning the attached slip now. This will give us some idea of numbers now so that we can plan accordingly.

You will be aware that a full tour of the castle requires some agility. However, we should be able to arrange for a reduced tour for those with lesser agility. If you would like this, please indicate this also on the return slip.


Lord & Lady Egremont

You may be aware that Lord Egremont has been President of Cockermouth Civic Trust since it’s beginnings. However, they live at Petworth House in Sussex and have, until recently, regarded Cockermouth Castle as a home of the Dowager. This has meant that there has been little interaction between the Trust and its President.

Lord & Lady Egremont now intend visiting Cockermouth regularly throughout the year and regard the castle as their ‘tranquil retreat’. This now gives us the opportunity to engage with both of them more.

To date, we have given them both a tour around our town trail and a walk through our tour of their castle. Lady Egremont in particular has shown interest in ways she might be able to help Cockermouth. For example, on seeing how trees have obscured the views at Kirkbank on the Town trail, she has used her landscaping skills to advise the council on improving this area and work should be carried out early in the New year. We are also advising her on where other areas of improvement would be beneficial to the town.

Main Street Planters

We were very disappointed to see the old concrete planters returned to the centre of Main Street, albeit pressure washed. We had expected new planters to be provided, in keeping with the new paving. Indeed, Allerdale BC had offered at least part funding for this. Alas, our town councillors decided that they are happy with the current ones. Perhaps you should be writing to your councillors?


Main Street Snagging

On the completion of the principle work for the Main Street Improvement Scheme, we decided to carry out our own snagging inspection and provided the results to Cumbria County Council. We were keen that faults were not overlooked and then to find out that its too late to do anything.

The most visual problems were pools of rainwater at a number of locations, but particularly on the zebra crossing near Boots. There were marks on the pavement caused by shoes and tyres crossing wet tarmac. Down pipes from the buildings had not been reconnected properly to the drains at the shop fronts. Different techniques had been used for the paving grouting in areas adjacent to each other, sometimes flush, sometimes recessed, giving an unprofessional finish. In many places, the contractors have used concrete as an easy option rather than cutting the paving slabs to give the required finish, as in the picture above. It was also understood that the County Council would make good the paving on the south side of the street, removing trip hazards and replacing broken slabs – this has not happened at all.


On-street Parking charges

I know that the proposed imposition of on-street parking charges is history, but for the record, through a series of exchanges of letters with the County Council, we established that:

  • The council had not considered any financial implications for town centre businesses
  • Their traffic survey which they said supported the need for charges, when examined did not support it at all. (For Cockermouth)
  • Their quoted reference stating that there was public support for charges, when examined did the opposite. (for Cockermouth).
  • The council had ‘no accounts presently available’ to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of parking charges.

In September, we wrote to the council stating that we considered that we in Cockermouth were now in a position to petition for a formal review of parking in our town centre, (taking the above into account).

The lessons from the above are perhaps not to take council statements as gospel, and to challenge whenever appropriate!


Britain from Above

We finished the Britain from Above project with a guided walk around the town trail, highlighting the information identified through the earlier open sessions. An information sheet has been produced as an addendum to the town trail, copies of which can be obtained from the TIC. Also available at the TIC are a limited number of postcards depicting ‘Cockermouth from above’.

You can still add information onto the Britain from Above website relating to anything depicted on the aerial photographs of Cockermouth. In this way, the website will develop into an archive of historical information – which could be lost for ever if you don’t tell it!



Carlisle Civic Trust

We hosted a joint meeting with the committee of Carlisle Civic Trust where we informed them of our activities and then took them on a guided walk around town. We hope that this will lead to closer liaison between the two societies and we have been invited to make a return visit to them.

Wigton Civic Society

A new Civic society is currently being formed in Wigton, great news after the demise of other societies locally. It will be officially launched in February. Members of our Trust attended a preliminary workshop and provided information on our activities. We look forward to working with Wigton in the future.


Pop Up Bookshop

We ran a pop up bookshop on Market Place for the Christmas period, starting at the lantern festival and organised by Ian Dodsworth, principally to sell our Civic Trust books. The rental was kindly paid for through Ian organising a sale of second hand books. Overall, this provided £166.50 income to the Civic Trust funds.


Oakhurst Filling Station Development

You may be aware that the plans for this development have now been approved. We do believe that we have had a positive influence on the final plans by being involved at an early stage.

We continue to have a dialogue with the owners. We are trying to achieve some linkage for the station with Cockermouth itself, perhaps to encourage some passers by to stop & visit our town. One idea is to have a wall sized photograph of the town centre in the café, as shown on this illustration, which is based on a Euro Garages café elsewhere.

World War 1 Commemorations

We have contributed to the planning for Cockermouth’s WW1 commemorations by Shirley Campbell representing us on the organising committee. To date, the Museum Group have organised their summer exhibition on a WW1 theme. We organised a lecture about supplying food to the soldiers during the war as part of HODS. We were formally represented at the commemoration service at the Cenotaph on 3rd August and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Victor de Quincy has designed a plaque for the planned WW1 memorial garden.

The WW1 committee also submitted an application for a grant to cover the expense of running other commemorative activities. Unfortunately, this bid was unsuccessful. Consideration is being given to resubmitting a more focused bid.


Civic Voice Design Award

Civic Voice has called on communities to nominate buildings and schemes for projects that they consider make a significant contribution to the quality of their built environment. Nominations can include new buildings, historic buildings that have been reused or refurbished and public realm schemes that enhance the civic realm. This award scheme differs from many in that it is community based rather than based on professionals judging other professionals.

We have decided to nominate the new Cockermouth Community Hospital and Health Centre Building. As reported in our last newsletter, we have already presented it with our own ‘Certificate of Commendation’.

Although only a small project, we decided that the renovation of the Electricity Substation in Lowther Went and its artwork is worthy of submission. Since we led this project, Allerdale BC have agreed to nominate it.


Civic Voice Manifesto

Civic Voice has now produced ‘our’ manifesto called ‘Localism for Real’. Its production is timed for input into the General Election Campaign to encourage the political parties to ‘buy in’ to its objectives. The manifesto has been produced based on a discussion with member societies as to the priorities we would like to see at national level during the next government period of 5 years.

The key elements that the manifesto is looking for from the next Government are to:

  1. Make improving the quality of the public realm in our cities, towns and villages a priority
  2. Give all citizens opportunities to actively shape the future of their place
  3. Give local communities the powers they need to enable their town and city centres to prosper

More details on each of these objectives, including key measures, are contained in the executive summary, a few copies of which are held by your committee members. If you would like a copy of your own, this can be obtained on line by going to


Brigham Road Development

We undertook a Building for Life assessment on the proposed development at the end of Brigham Road. The assessment achieved 6 ‘green’, 4 ‘amber’ and 0 ‘red’ results. Overall we considered that the site is appropriate for development, but feel the actual plans are mediocre and lack inspiration. However, we decided not to object, but to ask that the detailed comments arising from our assessment be taken into account.


Condition Survey of Places of Worship

We have been asked if any of our members would be interested in helping Cumbrian Places of Worship undertake a baseline condition survey of their buildings. No specialist building expertise is needed but volunteers will be asked to attend a training day on how to use the yes/no visual survey check-list. All surveys will be at ground level! The training days will be in early 2015 and surveying will be undertaken throughout 2015 and 2016. It will be up to each individual as to how many surveys they are involved in. If you are interested or want further information, please contact Sue Manson on 07776 197143 (Mon to Wed) or


Isel Hall

We record with sadness the death of Mary Burkett of Isel Hall. Mary was a long term member and supporter of Cockermouth Civic Trust.


Cockermouth Civic Trust – Annual Lunch

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Trout Hotel -12 noon for 12.30pm


Our LUNCH this year will be at the Trout Hotel, Cockermouth on Wednesday 22nd April, 12 noon for 12.30pm. 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 Melon, Grape & Pineapple Cocktail, Fruit Sorbet & Coulis
Prawn Cocktail, Lemon, Marie Rose Sauce, Brown Bread & Butter
Ham Hock Terrine, Westmorland Chutney, Malty Seeded Toast
Soup of the Day, Herb & Garlic Croutons
Main* Pork Fillet, Wholegrain Mustard Sauce
Highgate Chicken Breast, Mushroom & Herb Sauce
Gilcrux Trout Fillet, Lemon Horseradish Butter
Vegetable Crepe, Bechamel Sauce, Italian Hard Cheese Shavings, Green Salad
Sweet Eton Mess
Fresh Fruit Salad & Chantilly Cream
Lemon Posset, Raspberry Coulis, Shortbread Biscuit
Sticky Toffee Ice Cream with Butterscotch Sauce
Freshly Filtered Coffee with Mint Crisps

* All main courses are served with Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables


NAME: ______________________________________







NUMBER OF TICKETS AT £19.50_______ AMOUNT ENCLOSED: £_________






I/we are interested in attending the member’s visit to Cockermouth Castle at the end of August. (We have not agreed a fixed date yet, but it is important that we get a provisional idea of numbers).