Whitehaven Constituency

Whitehaven was a constituency centred on the town of Whitehaven in Cumberland, which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1832 and renamed Copeland at the 1983 general election.

Matthias Atwood (24 November 1779 – 11 November 1851) was a British Conservative and Tory politician, and banker. He was the first Member of Parliament for Whitehaven. Attwood was the second son of ironmaster Matthias Attwood of Hawne House, Halesowen, Worcestershire and Ann née Adams, and the brother of Thomas Attwood.

John (Jack) Anderson Cunningham (born 4 August 1939), Baron Cunningham of Felling, was the last MP for the Whitehaven Constituency. His father was Andrew Cunningham, leader of the Labour Party in the Northern Region in the 1970s, who was disgraced in the 1974 Poulson scandal. Dr Cunningham was first elected as member for Whitehaven in 1970; and the renamed Copeland constituency, which was the same constituency as Whitehaven, in 1983.

Members Of Parliament For Whitehaven

Election Member Party
1832 Matthias Attwood Tory
1834 Conservative
1847 Robert Hildyard Conservative
1857 by-election George Lyall Conservative
1865 George Cavendish-Bentinck Conservative
1891 Sir James Bain Conservative
1892 Thomas Shepherd Little Liberal
1895 Augustus Helder Conservative
1906 William Burnyeat Liberal
Jan. 1910 John Arthur Jackson Conservative
Dec. 1910 Thomas Richardson Labour
1918 James Augustus Grant Coalition Conservative
1922 Thomas Gavan Duffy Labour
1924 Robert Hudson Conservative
1929 M. Philips Price Labour
1931 William Nunn Conservative
1935 Frank Anderson Labour
1959 by-election Joseph Symonds Labour
1970 Jack Cunningham Labour

The House Of Commons, 1832
House Of Commons, 1832


Whitehaven had been small harbour and fishing village from 13th century or earlier. Expansion began in mid-17th century with building of piers by Lowthers 1632-4 and 1679-81 and granting of market charter 1660. By the 1680s it had grown rapidly, expanding from village of c.30 households in early 17th century to a town of over 1,000 inhabitants by 1685, which more than doubled to 2,281 by 1696. Sir John Lowther had laid out grid of streets by 1680s, making Whitehaven the earliest planned new town in post-medieval Britain.

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