In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Workington like this:
WORKINGTON, a town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Cockermouth district, Cumberland. The town stands on the coast, at the mouth of the river Derwent, and on the Maryport and Whitehaven railway, at the junction of the railway to Cockermouth, 7 miles N by E of Whitehaven; was only a fishing-village in the time of Henry VIII.; underwent change, from the opening of coal-mines, in the time of Elizabeth; grew thence to consequence, by mining, manufacture, and commerce; was fostered, in its prosperity, by the family of Curwen, whose seat, called W. ...
Castle, stands at its E side, and gave shelter to Mary Queen of Scots, on her flight from Scotland; is a seat of petty sessions and a head-port; presents an appearance partly irregular and dingy, partly well built, modern, and pleasant; extends nearly a mile along the Derwent; carries on ship-building, iron-working, tin-plate-working, and straw-plait-making: exports much coal from mines immediately contiguous, and extending beneath the sea; possesses a harbour for vessels of 400 tons and under, with two fixed lights, and with a tidal basin and railway connexions formed in 1862-8; and has a head post-office,‡ a r. station with telegraph, a banking office in the Italian style built in 1866, three chief inns, a three-arched bridge, public offices, a corn-market, a custom-house, assembly-rooms, a theatre, a subscription-library and newsroom, a mechanics' institute, a church rebuilt in 1770, another church built in 1823, four dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, national and British schools, a dispensary, charities £36, markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and fairs on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday and 18 Oct. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1868, were 79 sailing-vessels of aggregately 19,807 tons, and 1 steam-vessel of 17 tons. The vessels which cleared in 1867 were 1 sailing-vessel of 118 tons, to British colonies; 10 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,131 tons, to foreign countries; 1,034 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 102,104 tons, coastwise; and 27 steam vessels, of aggregately 1,621 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs, in 1862, was £2,241. Real property, in 1860, £18,303; of which £60 were in quarries, £100 in iron-works, and £100 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 6,280: in 1861, 6,467. Houses, 1,530.The parish includes Little Clifton, Great Clifton, Stainburn, and Winscales townships; and comprises 7,630 acres of land , and 580 of water. Pop. in 1851, 7,159; in 1861, 7,834. Houses, 1,794. The head living is a rectory, and that of St. John is a vicarage, in the diocese of Carlisle. Value of the former, £966;* of the latter, not reported.* Patron of the former, H. Curwen, Esq.; of the latter, the Rector of W. The p. curacy of Clifton is a separate benefice.The sub-district contains three parishes, parts of two others, and an extra-parochial tract. Acres, 18,993. Pop., 10,765. Houses, 2,373.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Workington has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Allerdale. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Workington and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Workington, in Allerdale and Cumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th December 2013
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