Points of Interest around Workington
The Coastline can be found on Washington Street in Workington and was commissioned as part of a town centre regeneration in 2006.
Coastline: the border between land and sea was created by Simon Hitchen.
The tall central sculpture (the world’s largest ever solid pour of polyurethane resin at the time), paving and bespoke sculptural seating, combine the materials of hard granite and crystal-clear resin to represent earth and water.
This use of materials reflects the town centre's redevelopment; on one side of the square there are new and contemporary designed buildings, forward looking and modern, whilst on the other there are the traditional building styles which characterise this area of Cumbria. The paving of the entire square is designed as a map of the Cumbrian coastline, centred on Workington and the River Derwent.
The landmark sculpture marks the point where the centre of Workington exists on the map. The public seats are made from huge Shap granite boulders, rough in their quarried form on the outside and polished and carved on the inside. Nine of the seats are lit at night by fibre optics.
‘Lookout’ is a clock designed by Andy Plant as part of the 2006 redevelopment of Workington town centre.
The design features an interactive mechanical clock, a clock face inlaid into the new paving scheme and seating which incorporates sound and light. The clock is based on a ‘camera obscura’ and it tells the time with its rotating minute hand suspended above head height parallel to the ground. The minutes are shown on the ground and the hour on a central ring above the main sphere.
The Lookout can be found in Ivision Lane, Workington town centre.
The Hub was created by Base Structures as part of the 2006 Workington town centre regeneration. The Hub is a permanent outdoor 3D sound performance space and is the only one in the UK.
The Hub's 3D sound system can be configured to broadcast any live or recorded sound and lends itself to an outdoor performance space in the centre of a busy town. The hub is constructed from a three-chord rolled steel truss which is clad with steel panels and supports a state-of-the-art inflatable ETFE cushion.
The remains of Jane Pit stand on recreational ground off Moss Bay Road, Workington. Jane Pit is the best surviving example of the ornate castellated style of colliery architecture.
Workington’s present-day fortunes are founded on the coal mining and iron industries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although mining of the Workington coalfields extends back to at least the seventeenth century, it was not until the eighteenth century that coal mining really took hold.
The discovery of a rich seam of coal at Jane Pit in 1846 was heralded with much celebration that included all the occupants of the town.
The working of the mine was relatively short lived, closing in 1875, but it was in production longer than many of the others in that part of the coalfield, such as Annie Pit and Buddle Pit.
The pit used both a horse gin and a steam engine, housed in an elaborate engine house, to lift the coal and overburden, but also to pump water from the mine.
Visit janepit.co.uk for more information and details on a proposed restoration project.
The manor of Workington was acquired by Gospatric in the twelfth century when William FitzGilbert exchanged it for Middleton in Westmorland. Gospatric’s son Thomas, was granted the lordship of Culwen, which had morphed into Curwen by the fifteenth century.
In 1362 the Curwens built a stone pele tower within the timber defences and upgrade it in 1379 when Richard II granted Sir Gilbert de Culwen (the current owner), a license to crenellate.
The new defences included a Barbican Tower whilst a substantial curtain wall, replacing the earlier timber palisade, had been built by 1390. Further upgrades were made in 1404 which transformed the site into what was effectively a small castle.
In 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots fled her country following defeat at the Battle of Langside. After crossing the Solway Firth by boat, she landed at Workington on 16 May 1568 where she was received with full honours. The following day she was taken to Carlisle Castle and then further south where she would spend 18 years as a prisoner before finally being executed at Fotheringhay Castle.
Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, Mary's son - James VI of Scotland - became King of England. Whilst he never visited Workington the castle was a key facility in his efforts to suppress the border reivers - the thieves and robbers who blighted the border region. Over 100 such individuals were rounded up and held at Workington Hall before transported to Ireland in indentured servitude.
In the late eighteenth century, the then owners of Workington Hall, John Christian and Isabella Curwen, made significant upgrades. The hall itself was completely rebuilt by John Carr of York. The structure now consisted of the original medieval tower with an adjoining L shaped wing which, coupled with the existing medieval buildings, enclosed a courtyard. The surrounding gardens and park were re-styled circa-1783 by Thomas White of Retford.
Workington Hall was occupied as recently as 1929 but thereafter was vacated. It was requisitioned by the War Office upon the outbreak of World War II to billet troops but suffered a significant fire that gutted parts of the structure. Despite post-war aspirations to convert the site into a town hall, the structure remained derelict and quickly deteriorated into ruin.
Download a Heritage Trail leaflet here for all historic areas of interest within Workington.