Ulverston is a market town in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria in North West England. Historically in Lancashire, the town is in the Furness area eight miles (13 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness and four miles (7 km) south of the Lake District. It is just to the northwest of Morecambe Bay. Neighbouring settlements include Swarthmoor, Pennington and Rosside.

Ulverston's most visible landmark is Hoad Monument, a concrete structure built in 1850 to commemorate statesman and local resident Sir John Barrow.[2] The monument provides views of the surrounding area, including Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.

Ulverston Canal, no longer navigable, was once a vital component of the town's economy and is still celebrated with an art installation.[3]

Market Street, Ulverston - geograph.org.uk - 1731488

Market Street, Ulverston
Ulverston is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population11,678 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSD2878
Civil parish
  • Ulverston
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLA12
Dialling code01229
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament


Ulverston is a comparatively large civil parish. It is bounded in the east by the Leven estuary, Crake, Coniston Water and Yewdale Beck. To the west the boundary follows a chain of hills, and beyond that lie the towns of Kirkby-in-Furness and Askam and Ireleth. To the south is relatively low land, which rises quickly. In the north are hills such as Coniston Old Man. The settlements of the parish are mainly concentrated in the eastern part.[4]


On 28 April 2009, Ulverston was near the epicentre of an earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter magnitude scale. Tremors were felt across south Cumbria and parts of north Lancashire at 11.22 BST, although virtually no damage was caused by them. A spokesman for the British Geological Survey said that earthquakes of around that magnitude occur roughly once a year in Britain.[5] It was the largest seismic event in the region since a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck Lancaster in 1835.[6][7]


Barrow Monument Hoad Hill
Hoad Hill and the replica of the Eddystone Lighthouse

The name Ulverston, first recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as Ulurestun, is derived from two elements: the first is either the Old Norse personal name Úlfarr, or the Old English Wulfhere; the second element is the Old English tūn, meaning "farmstead" or "village".[8] The personal names Úlfarr and Wulfhere both translate roughly as "wolf warrior" or "wolf army",[9] which explains the presence of a wolf on the town's coat of arms. The loss of the 'W' in Wulfhere can be attributed to the historic Scandinavian influence in the region.[4] Locally, the town has traditionally been known as Oostan.[10] Other variations of the name recorded throughout history include Oluestonam (1127), and Uluereston (1189).[4]

The town's market charter was granted in 1280 by Edward I.[11] This was for a market every Thursday; modern Ulverston keeps its old market town appearance, and market days are now held on both Thursdays and Saturdays.[12] The charter also allowed for all public houses to open from 10:30 am until 11:00 pm irrespective of any other statute on the books. During the summer months the Saturday market day is themed with craft stalls, charity stalls and locally produced wares on "Made in Cumbria" stalls.

Town Bank grammar school was established in the town in 1658 following a benefaction by Thomas Fell.[13]

The Victoria Road drill hall was completed in 1873.[14]

Laurel and hardy autocorrect
Laurel & Hardy Museum

Historically, the ancient parish included several other chapelries or townships which later became separate civil parishes: Blawith, Church Coniston, Egton with Newland, Lowick, Mansriggs, Osmotherley, Subberthwaite and Torver. From 1894 to 1974 the town constituted an urban district in the administrative county of Lancashire. It became a successor parish in the Cumbria district of South Lakeland under the Local Government Act 1972.[15]

Over the years the town has been the birthplace of several famous people. Sir John Barrow, born at Dragley Beck, Ulverston, was the Admiralty's Second Secretary: a much more important position than First Secretary. A monument to him—a replica of the third Eddystone Lighthouse—stands on Hoad Hill overlooking the town. Famous Ulverstonians include Norman Birkett,[16] who represented Britain at the Nuremberg Trials; Maude Green, the mother of Rock and Roll music legend, Bill Haley;[17] saxophonist Jess Gillam;[18] Norman Gifford,[19] an England test cricketer; Francis Arthur Jefferson, a soldier awarded with the Victoria Cross;[20] and comedian Stan Laurel,[21] of Laurel and Hardy fame. The Laurel & Hardy Museum is situated in Ulverston,[22] and in 2009 a statue of the duo was unveiled by comedian Ken Dodd, outside Coronation Hall in the town centre.[23] One of Ulverston's lesser known sons is the late Bryan Martin, senior BBC Radio 4 newsreader and presenter of the '70s and '80s, who announced on the Today programme the death of Elvis Presley in 1977 and broke the news of the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. He appeared in The News Quiz, occasionally introduced The Goon Show, and read the spoof "news bulletin" which always featured in the middle of the comedy The Men from the Ministry.


Croftlands Infant School
Entrance to Croftlands Infant School

Ulverston Victoria High School (UVHS) is the town's secondary school with approximately 1,200 pupils. The school has a sixth form college which draws students from Ulverston as well as the surrounding areas; the number of pupils attending is roughly 400.[24] There are also four primary schools.[25] Also, one disabled school in the vicinity (Sandside).


Ulverston railway station, which serves the town, is located on the Furness Line from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster, ultimately leading on to Manchester Airport. All services at the station are operated by Northern. The railway station is a short walk from the town centre. The town is also served by several bus services. These include the X6, running to Kendal from Barrow-in-Furness, via Grange over Sands. The X 12 runs from Coniston and passes through the village of Spark Bridge. Other services include the X 31 to Tarn Hows and the 6A and 6 to Barrow-in-Furness, the largest town in the region.

Twin towns

Ulverston is twinned with the town of Albert in France[26]. The two towns regularly meet to play football at Easter with the Cyril Barker Shield being contested every year. The match's location is alternated between Ulverston and Albert [27]. In July 2016 Ulverston, birthplace of film comedian Stan Laurel, was officially twinned with Harlem, Georgia, USA the birthplace of Laurel's screen partner Oliver Hardy[28]

Festival town

Ulverston calls itself a 'festival town' in reference to the many and varied festivals which take place in Ulverston over the course of the year.[29] The most renowned of these is the Lantern Festival, which involves hundreds of local residents creating lanterns out of willow and tissue paper and parading them throughout the town in winding rivers of light. The annual event culminates in a lively display of theatrical performance and fireworks in Ford Park, and was organised entirely by the community themselves for the first time in 2008.

Other popular festivals include:

UlverstonDickensianFestival2007 01
The Dickensian Festival, held the final weekend of November, sees a range of Christmas stalls and attractions visit Ulverston.[31] People often dress up for the occasion in Victorian attire, as seen in this photo.
  • Beer Festival
  • Charter Festival (including the Lantern Festival)
  • International Music Festival
  • Furness Tradition[32]
  • Comedy Festival
  • Word Market—including 'Pub Scripts'
  • Walking Festival
  • Spring Buddhist Festival
  • Print Fest
  • Summer Buddhist Festival
  • Ulverston Carnival Parade
  • Furness Festival of Tradition
  • Summer Music Festival
  • Festival of Fashion
  • Feast of St. George
  • Another Fine Fest is a new festival only launched in 2014. A festival of music, comedy, street theatre and art, celebrating Ulverston and the birth of Stan Laurel.



Ulverston's football team is Ulverston Rangers[33]. The club has been in existence since 1945 and currently play in the West Lancashire Football League and the Furness Football League. The club boasts two excellent grounds and includes a full size grass training pitch. Ulverston Rangers are the town’s team and the only team within Ulverston itself.

Rugby League

Ulverston A.R.L.F.C. is a rugby league team in Ulverston who play home games at Dragley Beck, also known as Pain Lane. They wear a blue with white trim strip with blue shorts and blue socks and play in the North West Counties Rugby League. Ulverston A.R.L.F.C. has produced many professional rugby players, including Derek Hadley and Andy Whittle.


The town also has two hockey clubs. South Lakes and Ulverston. Both based out of Ulverston Leisure Centre.


The town regularly hosts Urban events and fun events run by Lakeland Orienteering Club.


There is a swimming club at Ulverston Leisure Centre.


Ulverston Tri Club is based at the leisure centre.[34] They train on Saturday mornings.

Notable people

International links

Despite being titled The Royal Norwegian Honorary Consulate in Barrow-in-Furness, one of the numerous consulates of Norway is actually located on the outskirts of Ulverston.[35]

The town of Ulverstone in Tasmania, Australia is named after Ulverston and is similarly built at the mouth of a Leven River.

Freedom of the Town

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Town of Ulverston.


  • Peter Winston: 15 May 2019. [36]

Military Units


Market Street, Ulverston

Market Street, Ulverston


Market Place in 1860

View over to Hoad Hill

View over to Hoad Hill


Hoad Hill with Sir John Barrow monument

Ulverston Church Side Door

Side door of Ulverston Church of England

Town Clock 1845

Town Clock of Ulverston, 1845

Welfare State International Home

The Lanternhouse, formerly the home of the arts companies Welfare State International and Lanternhouse International.


Ulverston Canal

See also


  1. ^ "Town Population 2011". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  2. ^ UK Attraction Hoad Monument
  3. ^ Priestley, Joseph (1831). Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers, Canals and Railways, Throughout Great Britain. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green.
  4. ^ a b c Eilert Ekwall (1922). The Place-Names of Lancashire. Manchester University Press.
  5. ^ "Tremor strikes north-west England". BBC News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Biggest earthquake in 174 years hits South Cumbria". North-West Evening Mail. 30 April 2009. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Earthquake Shakes Buildings in Cumbria". Sky News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  8. ^ A.D. Mills (2003). Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. p. 475.
  9. ^ Viking Answer Lady. "Viking Answer Lady Webpage – Old Norse Men's Names". Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  10. ^ Rollinson, W. (1997), The Cumbrian Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition and Folklore, Smith Settle Ltd, p115
  11. ^ "Ulverston, Cumbria". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Ulverston Street Markets". South Lakeland District Council. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  13. ^ "Ulverston". Cumbria County History Trust. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Former drill hall including sergeant's house, administration and entrance blocks and boundary walling". Historic England. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  15. ^ Frederic A. Youngs. Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Volume 2. Boydell & Brewer.
  16. ^ "Norman Birkett: The Life of Lord Birkett of Ulverston". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  17. ^ "Bill Haley and his Comets". Classic Bands. Retrieved 18 January 2006.
  18. ^ Ovens, Eleanor (27 April 2019). "Sax prodigy Jess Gillam returns to Ulverston to celebrate album launch". The Mail. Barrow-in-Furness. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Norman Gifford". cricinfo.com. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  20. ^ "Feature Page of Francis Arthur Jefferson VC". Lancashire Fusiliers. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  21. ^ "Stan Laurel". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  22. ^ "Laurel and Hardy Museum". lakedistrictletsgo.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  23. ^ "Statue honours Laurel and Hardy". BBC News. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  24. ^ "Ofsted inspection report (2007)". Ofsted. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  25. ^ "FURNESS LPG – ULVERSTON PRIMARY SCHOOLS LIST" (PDF). Cumbria County Council. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  26. ^ "Ulverston-Albert Twinning Association | Ulverston Town Council". www.ulverstoncouncil.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Bonjour from Blackpool Airport!". News Powered by Cision. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  28. ^ AP, Chris Thelen / (3 October 2008). "Ga. town keeps Laurel and Hardy's legacy alive". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  29. ^ "Ulverston home". ulverston.net. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  30. ^ "Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival is proud of their #dickfest". The Poke. 27 November 2015.
  31. ^ "Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival". Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  32. ^ http://www.furnesstradition.org.uk
  33. ^ "FOOTBALL | GSK Sports". Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  34. ^ http://www.ulverstontriclub.com/
  35. ^ http://www.norway.org.uk/Embassy/consulates/
  36. ^ https://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/17642292.peter-winston-makes-history-as-first-winner-of-freedom-of-the-town-award-in-ulverston/
  37. ^ "Freedom of the Town honour for Air Training Squadron". The Westmorland Gazette.

External links

2019 South Lakeland District Council election

The 2019 South Lakeland District Council election took place on 2 May 2019 to elect members of South Lakeland District Council in Cumbria, England. One third of the council was up for election.

A590 road

The A590 is a trunk road in southern Cumbria, in the north-west of England. It runs north-east to south-west from M6 junction 36, through the towns of Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness to terminate at Biggar Bank on Walney Island. The road is a mixture of dual carriageway and single carriageway, with the section east of Low Newton, Cumbria to the M6 being mainly dual. Further dual sections are south of Newby Bridge, south of Greenodd and south of Ulverston. The road is the main route for tourists entering the southern Lake District. It has often humorously been described as "the longest cul-de-sac in the world".

Birkrigg stone circle

The Birkrigg stone circle (also known as the Druid's Temple or Druids' Circle) is a Bronze Age stone circle on Birkrigg Common, two miles south of Ulverston in the English county of Cumbria. It dates to between 1700 and 1400 BC.

Furness Phantoms

The Furness Phantoms (previously the Walney Terriers) are an American Football club based in Ulverston, Cumbria, England. Established in 2011 they were elevated to full BAFA member status in 2013. They are one of two BAFANL teams in Cumbria and Lancashire, playing in a conference of the league's second tier (National North West) alongside the Chester Romans, Crewe Railroaders, Halton Spartans & Leeds Bobcats. The Terriers originally trained and played at Memorial Fields on Walney Island. They then moved to Hawcoat Park and now have moved to GSK Sports & Social Club, Ulverston and still occasionally use Barrow Raiders' Craven Park stadium.

Furness line

The Furness line is a British railway between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster, joining the West Coast Main Line at Carnforth. A predominantly passenger line, it serves various towns along the Furness coast, including Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston and Grange over Sands. It runs through Cumbria and Lancashire.

Regional services on the line start from Manchester Airport and Preston, while local services start from Preston and Lancaster. The majority of services along the line terminate at Barrow-in-Furness, however some services continue along the Cumbrian Coast Line to Millom, Sellafield and Carlisle. The line was constructed by the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway and the Furness Railway between 1846 and 1857, and today has services operated by Northern.

Along with the Cumbrian Coast Line, the route is considered one of the most scenic in England. The line was designated a community rail partnership by the Department for Transport in 2012. The line is electrified between Lancaster and Carnforth where the route leaves the West Coast Main Line, which previously allowing for sleeper services between Barrow and London Euston.

Greenodd railway station

Greenodd railway station was on the route between Ulverston and Lakeside, built by the Furness Railway. It served the village of Greenodd, in Cumbria and trains were withdrawn from 30 September 1946 but was not officially closed until 1955. Train movements through the station continued until 1965, with the closure of the line to Lakeside.

A section of the line has reopened as part of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, but the station itself has since been demolished and the trackbed between itself and to the south towards Ulverston used for road improvements.

Jon St. Ables

Jon St. Ables, born Jon Stables, (December 23, 1912 – 1999) was a British-born cartoonist.

Joshua King

Joshua King (16 January 1798 – 1 September 1857) was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge from 1839 to 1849. He was also the President of Queens' College, Cambridge, from 1832 until his death and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University from 1833–4.

LA postcode area

The LA postcode area, also known as the Lancaster postcode area, is a group of 23 postcode districts in north-west England, which are subdivisions of seventeen post towns. These districts cover north Lancashire (including Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth), south Cumbria (including Milnthorpe, Kendal, Sedbergh, Grange-over-Sands, Ulverston, Barrow-in-Furness, Dalton-in-Furness, Askam-in-Furness, Kirkby-in-Furness, Millom, Broughton-in-Furness, Coniston, Ambleside and Windermere) and a small part of North Yorkshire.

List of Parliamentary constituencies in Cumbria

The county of Cumbria,

is divided into 6 Parliamentary constituencies

- 1 Borough constituency for the City of Carlisle

and 5 County constituencies.

List of electoral wards in Cumbria

This is a list of electoral divisions and wards in the ceremonial county of Cumbria in North West England. All changes since the re-organisation of local government following the passing of the Local Government Act 1972 are shown. The number of councillors elected for each electoral division or ward is shown in brackets.

Martin Wharton

John Martin Wharton, (born 6 August 1944) is a British Anglican bishop, a retired Bishop of Newcastle.

Norman Gifford

Norman Gifford (born 30 March 1940, Ulverston, Lancashire, now part of Cumbria) is a retired English cricketer, who played primarily as a left-arm spinner. Gifford played county cricket for Worcestershire, and Warwickshire, and represented England in fifteen Tests and two ODIs between 1964 and 1985.

Cricket writer Colin Bateman said, "a spinner who pushed Derek Underwood out of the England side had to be something special, and Norman Gifford was just that. A great competitor with a deep knowledge of the game, 'Giff' could find turn from most surfaces despite firing in his left-arm deliveries".

Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson; 16 June 1890 – 23 February 1965) was an English comic actor, writer, and film director who was part of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles.Laurel began his career in music hall where he developed a number of his standard comic devices, including the bowler hat, the deep comic gravity, and the nonsensical understatement. His performances polished his skills at pantomime and music hall sketches. He was a member of "Fred Karno's Army", where he was Charlie Chaplin's understudy. He and Chaplin arrived in the United States on the same ship from the United Kingdom with the Karno troupe. Laurel began his film career in 1917 and made his final appearance in 1951. He appeared with his comic partner Oliver Hardy in the film short The Lucky Dog in 1921, although they did not become an official team until late 1927. He then appeared exclusively with Hardy until retiring following his comedy partner's death in 1957.

In 1960, Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. Laurel and Hardy ranked top among best double acts and seventh overall in a 2005 UK poll to find the Comedians' Comedian. In 2009, a bronze statue of the duo was unveiled in Laurel's home town of Ulverston.

The Mail (Cumbria)

The Mail, known previously as the North-West Evening Mail (1987-2017), is a daily, local newspaper in the United Kingdom, printed every morning. It is based in Barrow-in-Furness.

The Mail was founded as the North-Western Daily Mail in 1898, becoming the North-Western Evening Mail in 1941 and the North-West Evening Mail in 1987. Although its title suggests a larger area, it in fact only covers news in the South Lakes and Furness. Typically, this is Barrow, Dalton-in-Furness, Ulverston, Grange-Over-Sands, Windermere, Millom, and some of the more notable stories from Kendal and Copeland.

It is in a tabloid style, and has three separate editions (Barrow, Ulverston and Millom), though the only difference is the story on the front page. Before changes to printing arrangements it had four - Barrow Early, Barrow Late Final, Ulverston and South Lakes, and Millom: although the only difference was on the front page and page six; the remainder of the paper was the same throughout. Articles typically range between important local news items (such as major council decisions, local business news, etc.), to more personal stories about residents of the area.

The Mail is printed and published by Furness Newspapers Ltd., a subsidiary of Carlisle-based media company CN Group Ltd. The current circulation is around 7,500 copies a day (down from 14,500), within South Cumbria (a region with a total population of almost 250,000). Market penetration is at its highest in its core area of Barrow and Dalton, at almost 10 per cent of households and at its lowest in Ambleside.

James Higgins, formerly assistant editor of The Bolton News, edited the paper from July 2014 to March 2018 and having spent the previous four years as deputy editor. During his tenure, the newspaper won the coveted Newspaper of the Year award (2017) at the Society of Editors' UK press Awards, O2 North West Media Awards Scoop of the Year (2017) for an expose on animal deaths at the South Lakes Safari Zoo, and Front Page of the Year (2015) for what became an iconic edition of the newspaper. He left the role in 2018 following Newsquest's acquisition of the CN Group. He was preceded by Jonathan Lee, who joined in 2008. Lee was previously editor of the Shetland Times, but left after a vote of no confidence from colleagues. Previous editors of The Mail include Steve Brauner, Sara Hadwin, Donald Martin, Keith Sutton, Tom Welsh and Joe Gorman.

Former Lancashire Telegraph news editor Vanessa Sims is currently the editor of the paper.

Ulverston Canal

The Ulverston Canal is a canal in the town of Ulverston, Cumbria, England. It is 1.25 miles (2 km) long and runs from the town centre to the coast of Morecambe Bay. It is entirely straight and on a single level. It is an isolated canal and does not connect to the main canal network.

The canal is described as the straightest in UK, however, it is not the deepest (4.6 m (15 ft)) or the widest (20 m (66 ft)). The shortest waterway is the 47 m (154 ft) Wardle Canal in Middlewich, Cheshire and the Manchester Ship Canal is 8.5 m (28 ft) deep and 35 m (115 ft) wide.

Ulverston Victoria High School

Ulverston Victoria High School (UVHS) is a secondary school and sixth form located in the town of Ulverston, Cumbria, England. It is the successor school to Ulverston Grammar School and Victoria Secondary Modern, which were combined in 1967 to form Ulverston Comprehensive School. This school ultimately became UVHS.

Ulverston railway station

Ulverston railway station is a Grade II listed railway station that serves the town of Ulverston in Cumbria, England.

It is located on the Furness Line from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster. It is operated by Northern, who replaced former manager First TransPennine Express at the beginning of April 2016.

It is served by local services operated by Northern from Lancaster to Barrow-in-Furness (with some continuing to Sellafield or Carlisle via the Cumbrian Coast Line) and by semi-fast services from Preston and Manchester Airport. From December 2018, these will operate on an improved frequency (eight through trains to/from Manchester Airport per day instead of the current four).The current buildings are architecturally noteworthy and date from 1873, when they were rebuilt as befitting one of the main stations of the Furness Railway. The clock tower and glass awnings and supporting decorative ironwork, now extensively restored and repainted, are particularly fine. The passenger waiting room retains many period features.

Boroughs or districts
Major settlements


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