Maryport is a town and civil parish in the Allerdale borough of Cumbria, England. Historically in Cumberland, it is located on the A596 road 6 miles (10 kilometres) north of Workington, and is the southernmost town on the Solway Firth. The town of Silloth is to the north on the B5300 coast road, which passes through the villages of Allonby, Mawbray, Beckfoot, and Blitterlees. The county town of Carlisle lies 26 mi (42 km) to the north-east. Maryport railway station is on the Cumbrian Coast Line. Maryport lies at the northern end of the former Cumberland Coalfield.

Fleming Square, Maryport - - 527440

Fleming Square, Maryport
Maryport is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population11,262 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceNY038363
Civil parish
  • Maryport
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCA15
Dialling code01900
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament


Roman and medieval times

Motte Hill, Maryport
Maryport Castle Hill

The town was established around AD 122 as one of several Roman localities called Alauna. It was a command and supply base for the coastal defences at the western extremity of Hadrian's Wall. The town contains substantial remains of the Roman fort, which was the last in a series that stretched southwards along the coast from the wall to prevent it being avoided by crossing the Solway Firth. Geomagnetic surveys have revealed a large Roman town surrounding the fort. An archaeological dig discovered evidence of an earlier, larger fort next to, and partially under the present remains. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain the town was reduced in size and importance.

On Castle Hill are the earthworks and buried remains of a 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle. On the summit are the foundations of a World War II gun emplacement.

To the north are the ruins of Netherhall Estate. The only remains of this once grand manor are stables and a 14th-century Peel Tower, formerly part of a large house of later date which was demolished in 1979 following a fire.

Georgian times

For many years the town was named Ellenfoot but the name was changed by Humphrey Senhouse as he began developing the town as a port, following the example of Whitehaven. In 1749 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the creation of the present town. Humphrey Senhouse named the new town after his wife Mary. The Senhouse family were landowners in the area and responsible for the development of the town and excavation of its Roman past. The family also had interests in the West Indies. In 1770, Humphrey Senhouse's son, William, was appointed Surveyor General of Customs in Barbados where he purchased a sugar plantation and managed another for Sir James Lowther of Whitehaven. William's brother, Joseph, had a coffee plantation in Dominica. Both men were considerable slave-owners.[2]

It was during this period that the town's lighthouse was built.

Victorian times

The town quickly developed as an industrial centre throughout the 19th century. An iron foundry opened and the port developed as did shipyards, such as Wood's yard and Ritson's yard, which was famous for launching ships broadside into the River Ellen because it was not wide enough to allow ships to be launched the usual way. By this time, coal mines were operating all around the town, at Ellenborough, Dearham, Broughton Moor, Gilcrux and Birkby.

The Maryport and Carlisle Railway, opened in the 1840s, with George Stephenson as its engineer, made the transport of coal much easier. Large new mines were sunk in the Aspatria area and almost all their production passed through the port. In 1846, 213,152 tons of coal were shipped from Maryport and by 1857 this had risen to more than 340,000 tons. Much of the coal produced in the area was turned into coke for the local iron and steel industry. By 1890, the Allerdale Coal Company had thirty Beehive coke ovens working on its site at Buckhill, Broughton Moor.

In 1874, the owners announced a cut of 10% in the miners' wages. A strike began in the Aspatria pits and then the owners made a further cut of 15%. By December, the strike had spread to the whole area with 2,000 men involved. The strike lasted until March 1875. There was violence when some 'blacklegs' were assaulted and many colliers left the area to seek work elsewhere. In 1894, John Osmaston who operated the Dearham Colliery became insolvent and the bank took over his pits. Two groups of local miners formed co-operatives and leased the mines at Crosshow and Townhead from the Lowthers. They found it impossible to compete with the other wealthy coal-owners in a tight market and also had serious problems with drainage. This unique experiment ended in 1903 when both companies went into liquidation.[3]

Modern times

During the early years of the 20th century, trade in the docks remained steady but was badly affected by the 1926 General Strike. Then, in 1927, a new deep-water dock was opened in Workington. Previously, the Workington Iron and Steel works had imported much of their raw material through Maryport but all of this trade was immediately transferred to the new facility. The local Solway Blast Furnaces also closed.[4]

Maryport became a ghost town. The government declared West Cumberland a ‘Special Area' but, by 1933, 57.3% of the town's insured workforce was unemployed. 1,684 men were out of work. Maryport was “for the most part, living on public funds”[5] In 1936 twenty unemployed men marched from Maryport to join the Jarrow Crusade to London. Known as the Maryport Marchers, they were joined by two marchers from Cleator Moor and two marchers from Frizington. The Maryport Marchers Council organised this.[6]

Despite a minor boom during the Second World War, when coal from North East England was diverted to the port, Maryport never recovered. The docks were closed to cargo ships in the 1960s. The last deep pit in the area, at Risehow, closed in 1966 and open-cast mining ended in 2000.

Today, after a series of major regeneration projects such as the yacht marina in the local harbour, prospects for the town are starting to look better, it is expected that tourism will play a major role in the future of the town.[7]

Closure of the Netherhall swimming pool, in October 2018 it was announced that the Netherhall School community swimming pool is to close. [8]


The town historically has been a mainly Labour voting area, however over recent years this has become under threat by other fringe parties.

The town is in the parliamentary constituency of Workington, Sue Hayman is the Member of parliament.


The economy of the area and the emergence of the industrial capacity of the town itself developed largely because of mining and sea trade, but these industries have since declined and the town now relies on tourism as the basis of its economy. There is an aquarium, a maritime museum and a Roman museum. The last houses numerous Roman artefacts, most notably a series of altars to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which were excavated in the vicinity of the Roman fort. In July 2008, a new tourism venue, the Wave Centre, opened its doors. The Wave Centre is a theatre and conference facility, an interactive heritage exhibition on the local history of Maryport, the Tourist Information Centre for Maryport and a gift shop and bistro.

The town has two industrial estates, the Glasson Industrial Estate and the Solway Industrial Estate, which are home to many small local businesses. It was formerly home to a factory belonging to the Bata company this closed in the early 1980's.


The town is a major name on the blues music scene, holding the popular "Maryport Blues Festival" every summer. This has previously attracted names such as Jools Holland, Dionne Warwick, Elkie Brooks, Buddy Guy, Jethro Tull, Van Morrison, Robert Cray and Chuck Berry. The three-day event usually takes place on the last weekend of July, attracting both local and international artists. The 2018 Maryport Blues Festival was cancelled. [9]

The town has a Scout Group (2nd Maryport) that has been in the town for over 70 years and incorporates most sections within the Scouting Movement. The group was visited by the Bishop of Carlisle to mark the centenary of Scouting in 2008.

Maryport Golf Club was formed on 21 January 1905 and is now a well established 18-hole course.[10]


Maryport has five local primary schools, and one secondary school, Netherhall School.

Notable people

Notable residents of Maryport, past and present, include:

See also


  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. ^ Richard B. Sheridan: Material relating to the West Indies from the Senhouse Papers, University of Kansas, 1977.
  3. ^ Oliver Wood: West Cumberland Coal 1600–1982 (Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1988)
  4. ^ J.Y. Lancaster & D.R. Wattleworth: The Iron and Steel Industry of West Cumberland (British Steel Corporation, 1977)
  5. ^ John Jewkes and Allan Winterbottom: An Industrial Survey of Cumberland & Furness (Manchester University Press, 1933)
  6. ^ West Cumberland Times
  7. ^ "Regeneration projects – Allerdale Borough Council". Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  8. ^ Netherhall School community swimming pool is to close
  9. ^ Maryport Blues Festival cancellation
  10. ^ Welcome to Maryport Golf Club at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 March 2009)
  11. ^ "".

Further reading

  • Biggins, J.A. and Taylor, D.J.A., 2004b, "The Roman Fort and Vicus at Maryport: Geophysical Survey, 2000–2004", in R.J.A. Wilson and I, Caruana (eds.), Romans on the Solway, CWAAS for the Trustees of the Senhouse Museum, Maryport, 102–133.

External links

Alauna (Maryport)

Alauna was a castra or fort in the Roman province of Britannia. It occupied a coastal site near the town of Maryport in the English county of Cumbria (formerly part of Cumberland).

In 2015 "Maryport's Mystery Monuments" was Research Project of the Year in the British Archaeology Awards.

Baggrow railway station

Baggrow railway station was in the former county of Cumberland, now Cumbria, England. It was a stop on the Bolton Loop (sometimes referred to as the "Mealsgate Loop") of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway.The station served the village and Brayton Knowle Colliery and was described in Bradshaw as the "Station for Blennerhasset".

Brayton railway station

Brayton was a railway station which served as the interchange for the Solway Junction Railway (SJR) with the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR); it also served nearby Brayton Hall and district in Cumbria. The station was opened by the M&CR and became a junction station in 1870 on the 25 mile long SJR line.

Bullgill railway station

Bullgill or Bull Gill was a railway station on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) serving Bullgill in Cumbria. The station was opened by the M&CR in 1840 and lay in the Parish of Oughterside and Allerby.

CA postcode area

The CA postcode area, also known as the Carlisle postcode area, is a group of 28 postcode districts in north-west England, which are subdivisions of 22 post towns. These postcode districts cover northern and central Cumbria, including Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Cockermouth, Egremont, Alston, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Beckermet, Brampton, Cleator, Cleator Moor, Frizington, Holmrook, Keswick, Kirkby Stephen, Moor Row, Ravenglass, Seascale, St Bees and Wigton, plus a very small part of Northumberland.

Cumberland County Cup

The Cumberland County Cup is the second oldest rugby league knock-out competition in the world after the Challenge Cup. It is open to every amateur club in the county of Cumberland and is administered by British Amateur Rugby League Association.

The first competition was held in 1902-03 and the winners were Brookland Rovers from the town of Maryport.

Cumberland League

The league is run by the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA). Teams from the Cumberland league can apply for election to the National Conference League if they meet minimum criteria.

Cumbrian Coast line

The Cumbrian Coast line is a rail route in North West England, running from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness via Workington and Whitehaven. The line forms part of Network Rail route NW 4033, which continues (as the Furness line) via Ulverston and Grange-over-Sands to Carnforth, where it connects with the West Coast Main Line.

Cummersdale railway station

Cummersdale was a railway station on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) serving Cummersdale in Cumbria. The station was opened by the M&CR in 1858 and lay in the Parish of Cummersdale near to the village of High Cummersdale.

Curthwaite railway station

Curthwaite was a railway station on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) serving West Curthwaite and Thursby in Cumbria. The station was opened by the M&CR in 1843 and lay in the Parish of Westward.

Dearham Bridge railway station

Dearham Bridge was a railway station on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) serving the village and rural district of Dearham in Cumbria, England. The station was opened by the M&CR in 1842 as Dearham, but was renamed Dearham Bridge in 1867 when the M&CR opened a station in the village of Dearham, to which it gave that name. Dearham Bridge station lay in the Parish of Crosscanonby.

Dearham railway station

Dearham railway station was on the single track Derwent Branch of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) in the then county of Cumberland, now Cumbria, England.

The station was opened in 1867, situated on the south eastern edge of Dearham village. There appears to have been a passing loop and a siding at the station.

Dovenby Lodge railway station

Dovenby Lodge railway station was on the single track Derwent Branch of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) in the then county of Cumberland, now Cumbria, England.

The station was opened in 1867. It was a private station solely for the use of the Ballentine-Dykes family of Dovenby Lodge, one of whom was Chairman of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway in the 1840s.The station is variously referred to as "Dovenby", "Dovenby Park" and "Dovenby Lodge"; an image of a ticket bearing the name Dovenby Lodge is included in the standard work on non-public stations. Letters exchanged in 1868 between the family and the railway concern a parcel of land and a lodge at the station.The station was available for use until the line closed in 1935, though it never appeared in public timetables. Unusually for those times the tracks were lifted not long after closure, with a tragic consequence; when a bridge was being demolished a girder fell on two men and killed them.

High Blaithwaite railway station

High Blaithwaite railway station was in the former county of Cumberland, now Cumbria, England. It was a stop on the Bolton Loop (sometimes referred to as the "Mealsgate Loop") of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway.The station served the hamlet of the same name.

Leegate railway station

Leegate was a railway station on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway (M&CR) and served this rural district in Cumbria. The station was opened by the M&CR in 1848 and lay in the Parish of Bromfield.

Maryport Lighthouse

Maryport Lighthouse is a small lighthouse located in Maryport, Cumbria, England, formerly run by the UK's General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House. It is a Grade II listed building.

Maryport and Carlisle Railway

The Maryport & Carlisle Railway (M&CR) was an English railway company formed in 1836 which built and operated a small but eventually highly profitable railway to connect Maryport and Carlisle in Cumbria, England. There were many small collieries in the area and efficient access to the harbour at Maryport was important.

The western end, connecting the majority of the collieries to Maryport opened in 1840 and the line was completed throughout to Carlisle in 1845. The considerable resources of coal, and later iron ore, carried by the railway made it especially profitable, and this was redoubled at the height of the iron and steel processing industries around Workington. Branch lines were opened to connect further collieries.

After 1918 the industries on which the line was dependent declined steeply, and the railway declined accordingly; the branch lines closed, but the original main line remains open and forms part of the Cumbrian Coast Line between Carlisle and Barrow in Furness.

Maryport railway station

Maryport railway station serves the town of Maryport in Cumbria, England. The railway station is a stop on the Cumbrian Coast Line 27 miles (44 km) south-west of Carlisle. It is operated by Northern who provide all passenger train services. It is unstaffed and passengers must buy their ticket on the train or at an automatic ticket machine outside the platform. Step-free access to the platform is available; train running information is provided by digital information screens and timetable posters.

A new "eco-friendly" waiting shelter was erected at the station in the autumn 2011 (at a cost of £120,000) to replace the more basic facilities previously offered.The station is somewhat unusual in that it consists of a single bi-directional platform rather than the usual two side platforms used elsewhere on the double-track sections of the Cumbrian Coast line. Southbound trains have to cross over to the northbound line to reach the platform before returning to the correct line south of the station. This can cause delays if two trains are scheduled to call in quick succession or if one or more trains are running late. Network Rail plans to address this issue as part of a future resignalling scheme.

Milefortlet 25

Milefortlet 25 was a Milefortlet of the Roman Cumbrian Coast defences. These milefortlets and intervening stone watchtowers extended from the western end of Hadrian's Wall, along the Cumbrian coast and were linked by a wooden palisade. They were contemporary with defensive structures on Hadrian's Wall. Milefortlet 25 is the southernmost known of the fortlets of the Cumberland coast, but there is nothing to see on the ground, as Milefortlet 25 lies in an industrial area of Maryport.

Boroughs or districts
Major settlements


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