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Workington was built on the bedrock of coal, its reserves exploited by the Curwen family who reaped huge wealth and prosperity from the underground resources. From their base at Workington Hall, the Curwens developed the old town on the hill clustered around the market place and cobbled Portland Square. Once the docks, shipyards and ironworks were established on the coast, the town rapidly extended towards the sea to become the bustling town and port of today. In recent times the heavy industry has virtually disappeared and the town is being revitalised with new shopping precincts enlivened by sculptural artworks, attractive paving materials and interesting street architecture.

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Derwent Apartment living area

Derwent Apartment

Self-catering with 1 unit, £300-£430 pupw sleeps 4

View from Breakfast Room and Lounge over Decking

Westwood - The B&B with a view

Bed & Breakfast with 2 rooms, £83-£90 prpnb

Armidale Cottages Bed & Breakfast

Armidale Cottages Bed & Breakfast

Bed & Breakfast with 2 rooms, £40 pppnb

Things to do

What's on

 August 2018>
There are a variety of events taking place in Workington and the surrounding areas over the year. Why dont you check out the calendar and see what's on while you're here?

For events happening around the county, click below for our What's On page.

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Surrounding Areas

Cockermouth Town Centre

Culture and Heritage

Workington old town developed on high ground near Workington Hall and expanded to the south and west as a result of industrial exploitation of the local coal and iron ore deposits. When James I ascended to the English throne in 1603, he clamped down hard on the notorious reivers of the border region. Many of the ringleaders and their families were brought to Workington to await transportation by boat to the ‘wastes' of Ireland.
Under the guiding influence of the Curwens, Workington quickly expanded into a major port and town. The first dock operated in the 1760s, exporting coal to Ireland. By 1800 there were no less than 37 pits around Workington. In 1837 disaster struck when the roof of Chapel Bank Pit collapsed and 27 miners and 28 horses drowned as sea water inundated the mine. The Curwens suffered heavy financial losses as a result of this incident and made renewed attempts to find fresh sources of coal by sinking Jane Pit in 1843 followed by Annie Pit in 1864. The expansion of the mines aided exports, prompting the Curwens to build Lonsdale Dock in 1865 to take ships up to 2000 tons. A major shipbuilding industry developed in the wake of the new dock, providing collier brigs for coal exports along with the complementary trades of sail and rope making. In 1927, the dock was enlarged again, this time to take 10,000-ton ships, and re-named the Prince of Wales dock.
The low phosphorus content of the iron ore was highly suitable for use in the Bessemer converter - a means of producing a higher grade of steel by blasting air through molten pig iron to drive off any impurities. The mines, ironworks and docks were linked by a network of railways that transported the coal and steel to other parts of the country and overseas via the West Coast ports. With the decline of the coal and steel industries in the 1950s, Workington diversified into light industries. The old iron ore workings and slag heaps were flattened and sites re-landscaped for modern industrial estates and out-of-town shopping centres. Instead of tall chimneys and iron furnaces, Workington's skyline is now dominated by the white twirling blades of wind turbines, providing an alternative and clean source of electricity for over 20,000 homes.

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