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Workington, Cumberland

Historical Description

Workington, a market and seaport town, a municipal borough, a township, and a parish in Cumberland. The town stands on the coast, at the mouth of the river Derwent, and on the Maryport and Whitehaven section of the L. & N.W.R., at the junction of the railway to Cockermouth, 7 miles N by E of Whitehaven. It was only a fishing village in the time of Henry VIII., underwent change from the opening of coal-mines in the time of Elizabeth, and later grew in importance by mining, manufacture, and commerce; was fostered in its prosperity by the family of Curwen, whose seat, called Workington Hall, stands at its E side. It is a seat of petty sessions, presents an appearance partly irregular and dingy, partly well-built, modern, and pleasant, and contains some good buildings and shops. It is included in the Cocker-mouth parliamentary division of Cumberland, extends nearly a mile along the Derwent, carries on shipbuilding, iron and steel working, tin-plate working, brewing and paper-making; exports much coal from mines immediately contiguous to and extending beneath the sea; possesses a safe harbour for vessels of 1500 tons, with two fixed lights, a dock (called the Lonsdale Dock) and railway connections formed in 1862-68, a breakwater constructed in 1873, and various quays. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port in 1895 was 17 (14,755 tons). It is one of the stations of the National Lifeboat Institution. There is a head post office, three railway stations, several banks, a three-arched bridge, a town-hall, a custom-house, a jubilee hall and opera house, a theatre, a free library and reading-room, two churches, Baptist, Congregational, Wesleyan, Free and Primitive Methodist, and Presbyterian chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a dispensary, two hospitals, an infirmary, a county police station, and publishes four newspapers. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and fairs on Wednesday in Whit week, and on Wednesday after 11 Nov. The municipal borough was constituted in 1888, is divided into five wards, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. Population, 23,490. The township has an area of 3348 acres of land and 270 of water and foreshore; population, 23,749. The parish includes Little Clifton, Great Clifton, Stainburn, and Winscales townships. There are two ecclesiastical parishes-viz. St Michael's and St John's. Population, 15,623 and 8846. The livings are a rectory and a vicarage, with St Mary's Westfield annexed, in the diocese of Carlisle. Gross value of St Michael's, £800, and net value of St John's, £300, both with residence. Patron of the latter, the Rector of Workington. The parish church of St Michael was entirely destroyed by fire in 1887, but has since been rebuilt. It is in the Gothic style, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, and tower. St John's was built in 1823, and is in the Italian style with a Doric portico.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCumberland 
Ecclesiastical parishWorkington St. Michael 
Poor Law unionCockermouth 
WardAllerdale above Derwent 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Workington from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cumberland is available to browse.


Online maps of Workington are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Great Clifton
Little Clifton

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Cumberland, 1615 is available on the Heraldry page.

RegionNorth West
Postal districtCA14
Post TownWorkington