Pictures of Workington
in the county of Cumbria
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Ancient market town of quintessential English charm, where you could easily swap the modern day cars parked in gracious tree-lined avenues for the horse and carriage of Victorian times, so well would they fit with the town's beautiful buildings.
This lovely town is twice blest; it lies on the lovely Cumbrian coast where cliffs rise like fortresses from the sea and is backed by the towering peaks of the Lake District National Park, a landscape of diverse charm and beauty. From looking around it is hard to believe that this was once an industrial heartland, a centre for iron, coal and steel. Historically, the town played an important role in the Industrial Revolution for it was here that Henry Bessamer revolutionised the making of steel by introducing a new manufacturing process which in a short time was adopted all over the country and in other parts of the world. The old industries for which the town was known have died away and newer industry, more commensurate with the demands of the times have taken over, hence the town remains a prosperous place in which to live.
Further back in time, Mary, Queen of Scots sought sanctuary at Workington Hall, a magnificent estate which today is but a faded ruin. The house has an illustrious history and on a visit, it is easy to visualise the glorious place it once was. It was from here that Queen Mary wrote to Queen Elizabeth I, the letter is in the British Museum. Sadly, Mary's arrival here ended her freedom and the room in which she stayed lies in ruins. However, the house is open to the public and makes a tremendously rewarding day out for all the family. All manner of events are held here including the famous Curwen medieval fair which stages a Shakespearean pageant and operas.
Church history is well served in the town - there has been a place of worship here since the 7th-century. St. Michael's church originated in the 12th-century but was replaced late in the 18th-century. It is a magnificent church with a superb Norman tower decorated with turrets and intricate pinnacles. Amazing stained glass windows fill the church with glowing shades of light in which to view its many treasures. The town's other church is St.John's which was built in 1823 to celebrate The Battle of Waterloo.
A fascinating feature of Workington is the Helena Thompson Museum. The lady was a well known member of the community and philanthropist, on her death she bequeathed the museum to the people of the town. The building contains, clothes, furniture and other mementoes of her life including; silver, pottery and glass.
Few legacies of the town's rich mining heritage exist, however the remains of Jane Pit, built by Henry Curwen in the 19th-century at Mossbay is open to public view. It is one of the best surviving examples of the ornate castellated style of colliery and is listed as an important ancient monument.
With opportunities to see so much of interest from the past it is not surprising to find visitors are making their way to Workington for its growing status of a resort town with easy access to many other attractive places of interest. Workington offers an excellent choice of accommodation, historic inns, restaurants, excellent shopping facilities including atmospheric antique centre's and picture galleries. Wordsworth House, birthplace of poet William Wordsworth at Cockermouth on the edge of The Lake District is within reasonable driving distance, as are many charming villages and golden sandy beaches.
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