Maryport - the West Coast.
Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Maryport. The Maryport you see today is a handsome town planned mainly around the Georgian era. Of particular note is the expansive Fleming Square.
Maryport is a quiet town on the Cumbrian coast, formerly a busy trading port. The harbour is now given over to a small fishing fleet. There is also a good marina for sailing boats.
Like other towns on the west side of the Lake District, Maryport was not included in the tourist boom of the last century, and this has helped it retain its own special character.
A day can be spent wandering around the town and local area taking in the various attractions:
The Lake District Coast Aquarium - Senhouse Roman Museum next to the site of the Roman Fort - the maritime museum - the Docks - An indoor Karting circuit - golf - Allonby Bay sands - Bank Mill nature reserve, butterfly and reptile houses - The Gincase arts, crafts & farm. There is also a popular Blues music festival held every year.
The town is now increasingly attracting more visitors. Much money has recently been spent on the towns greatest asset, the historic docks, in the town itself some general sprucing up has taken place and Maryport now offers a revitalised personality to the visitor to the town.
Maryport: a short history: top
When the Romans came to what is now Maryport they named it Alauna, and used the harbour for supplying the large fort above the town, the outline of which still remains. The fort was the headquarters for the line of forts on the west Cumbrian coastal defences, and had a large garrison.
The Battery, a former Royal Naval Reserve station, now home to the largest Roman archaeological collection in Britain is situated next to the fort where views of Scotland and the Isle of Man can be enjoyed.
Maryport, is off the traditional tourist routes and has a flavour all its own, in part due to its rich history. The town's industrial past contrasts with that of the Lake District. Evidence of that past can be seen all around.
Maryport was named in 1756 in honor of Mary Senhouse. Until then it was known as Netherhall after the family seat. Still further back it was called Ellenfoot.
Sir Humphrey Senhouse, having seen the Lowther and Curwen families prosper as they exploited the coal and iron in their estates and developed the ports of Whitehaven and Workington, began to develop his own industry.
In 1740 the Ellenborough Colliery was opened: it continued in use until the early I900's. Other mines soon followed and also shipbuilding began along with iron and steel works.
Buildings to house the new workers sprang up and the town quickly expanded, unrecognisable from its humble beginnings as a small group of fishermen's cottages.
All good things come to an end and Maryport had a tough time during the Depression of the 1920s, further increased when the town of Workington, not far to the south, opened a new and much larger dock in 1927.
This took away even more of Maryport's trade, and in 1928 the unemployment rate was a terrible 69.5%. The last ship was built in 1927. The town never again saw such prosperity as it had in the days of Sir Humphrey.
Maryport has had a number of distinguished visitors: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and L S Lowry have all stayed here. Lowry enjoyed painting the harbour, and Wilkie Collins used Ewanrigg Hall as the setting for his novel 'The Woman in White'.
Ewanrigg Hall, on the outskirts of the town, was the home of the Christian family; their son Fletcher Christian of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame was born there.
Maryport: OS ref NY 775085 Sheet 91. Get the map.