Parson & White, 1829

WHITEHAVEN, A populous seaport and Market Town, in the parish of St. Bees, is seated on the Irish sea, in a remarkable creek, overlooked by the adjacent lands, which rise so abruptly, and to such an altitude, that from either side the traveller looks down upon the slated roofs of the houses, and surveys the various streets, as if looking on an extensive plan of the whole. It is in 54 deg. 33 min.north latitude, and in 3 deg. 30 min. west longitude, being distant 307 miles NW. of London, 41 miles SW. of Carlisle, and 57 miles W NW. of Kendal.

The Earl of Lonsdale is lord of the manor, by the exertions of whose family Whitehaven has risen during the last 190 years, from a few huts to a wealthy and flourishing town, which has long held a distinguished rank amongst the commercial ports of Great Britain, especially in the coal trade, in which it is inferior only to Newcastle and Sunderland. The Town is laid out with much taste and elegance. The streets are broad and straight, intersecting each other at right angles; the houses are mostly constructed of stone, and roofed with blue slate, and the three churches, with gome of the other public buildings, are handsome and appropriate structures. The Market Place was enlarged and rendered commodious in 1764, by throwing an arch over the Pow or Poe beck, which runs under it.

The first house at Gins, now a populous suburb of Whitehaven, was built in 1704; the chapel and the first houses built at Mount Pleasant were erected by Mr. Hogarth, about the year 1787. The harbour is large and convenient, and is well sheltered with seven stone piers, which stretch their massive arms into the ocean in different directions, and separate the harbour into various divisions.

The rivulet called the Pow, or Poe, runs under the town, to the creek, which stretches north-east to Redness point, and westward to Tom Hurd's rock. The rocky headlands on each side of the haven have a whitish appearance when contrasted with the dark red sandstone of the conspicuous promontory of St. Bees Head, which is conjectured by some to have given name to the port; but others, perhaps with more plausibility, assert that it was originally called White's haven, owing to a person whose surname was White being the first fisherman that frequented the bay, and built a thatched cottage in 1502. This, the only thatched house of late date in the town, was situated near Old Town, ana fen down about 15 years ago.

Though the spring tides rise about twenty feet, and the neap tides twelve feet, in the old harbour it is dry at low water, and is more remarkable for safety Chan easy access. It has two lighthouses at its entrance, and another upon St. Bees Head, one of the former is a revolving light, with three reflectors, and the latter a fixed light. A life-boat was stationed at this port in 1803, since which it has preserved many distressed mariners from a watery grave. An open valley, the bottom of which is filled by the town, extends southward from the haven for three miles, then turning a little to the westward, it opens again upon the sea coast at St. Bees, five miles distant; the whole is nearly upon a level, and is generally supposed to have been anciently occupied by the sea; this opinion is supported by the appearance of the soil, and the discovery of a ship's anchor at a considerable depth in the ground, about half way up the vale. The whole valley might be cut through, so as to make it navigable for large vessels, at a moderate expense, which would often prove convenient to ships aiming at the port of Whitehaven, when certain winds render the passage round St. Bees' Head extremely dangerous. St. Bees Head is a lofty promontory, with a light-house upon it, 3 miles SSW, of Whitehaven.

A tonnage duty has been established by two acts of Parliament, passed in the 7th and 11th years Of Queen Anne, for the purpose of improving the harbour, to which many additional works have been added during the last fifty years. The New Quay was lengthened in 1767; the North Wall was begun in 1770, and finished in 1784; the new work, formerly called the bulwark, has been entirely rebuilt on a larger plan; the Old Quay was lengthened in 1792, and various other improvements were effected about the year 1809; so that several hundred large vessels may now lie with safety in the harbour. The New West Pier, of which 225 yards have been finished, was commenced in 1824, and is of great strength, being intended as a further protection to the harbour, to render it accessible at all times, and there being already 9 feet inside at low water, this harbour must become an important refuge for shipping, it being the only port on the eastern side of the Irish sea accessible at low water. The pier extends northward from the west end of the new quay, but to what length it will be carried is not determined. The depth of the haven below its adjoining banks is of peculiar advantage for the delivery of the coals into the vessels, by means of wooden or hurries —which are extended over the quays, where the coals are passed through spouts into the ships. The average quantity of coals reported annually from Whitehaven, from the year 1781 to 1792, was 80,000 chaldrons; but in 1826, upwards of 135,602 chaldrons were exported hence, and in the following year, 114,692 chaldrons 24 bushels was the quantity entered at the Custom-house, exclusive of those sent from Workington, Maryport, and Harrington. Various railways are extended from the staiths to the coal mines, and a new one has lately been cut through a solid mass of rock under Redness Point, on the north-east side of the town, where an extensive field of coal, in the parish of Moresby, is opening out by means of a level from the seashore at Parton.

The roads leading to the town have been greatly improved. Descending by an excellent road from the north, which has been formed between two small eminences, the town is approached by a fine Arch  of free-stone, with a rich entablature, ornamented with the arms of the Lowther family : this edifice is as useful as it is ornamental; the upper part of it served many years as the continuation of a rail-way, on which coal waggons passed to the harbour, and the lower part consists of one lofty arch for the admission of carriages, and two smaller ones for foot passengers. In 1810, a fine new road, a mile in length, was formed on the north side of the town. A brook runs about half way along it, but it is arched over. This road considerably lessens the descent. In 1817, when many of the labourers were destitute of employment, several hundred pounds were subscribed for their relief, and expended in the formation of a new road between Corkickle and Hensingham, which avoids Corkickle-brow. All the streets, lanes, and outlets are well paved and lighted, and a nightly watch has been established, with police officers as a protection to the property and peace of the inhabitants. The rise and progress of Whitehaven from insignificance to its present importance, may be briefly related as follows.

Whitehaven formed part of the possessions of St. Bees, whose holy monks in all ages of their existence were no friends to commerce, so that it is not at all marvellous that there were only six fishermen's huts here in 1506, with one small bark of nine tons bur. then, sufficient to supply the religious society with fish, salt, and other articles.

The lands of the dissolved monastery of St. Bees, which lay in the neighbourhood of Whitehaven, were purchased by Sir Christopher Lowther, second son of Sir John Lowther, who built himself a mansion at the foot of the rock on the western side of the haven, where there were then only a few scattered huts. He died in 1644, and was succeeded by his son, Sir John Lowther, who selected a more eligible situation for his mansion on the site of the present castle, and having conceived the project of working the coal mines and improving the harbour, he obtained from king Charles II in 1666, a grant of all the then ungranted lands in this neighbourhood. He also obtained in 1678, all the lands for two miles northward, between high and low water mark; and from this epoch Whitehaven began to rise rapidly to that rank of commercial which it now holds. In 1685, this growing port possessed 46 ships, containing 1871 tons, the largest of and traded hence to the pro- which was called the Resolution," vince of Virginia.

The inhabitants petitioned the House of Commons in 1693, to make Whitehaven a separate parish, setting forth, that about 60 years since it consisted but of nine or ten thatched cottages; that it then contained 2,222 inhabitants' and that the town had lately been much improved in trade, and the harbour rendered very convenient for shipping to the great increase of his Majesty's revenue, and the benefit of the adjacent country," though the trade and shipping were subject to many dangers, by fire, enemies, and otherwise and that the inhabitants near four miles distant from the parish church but to tants were remedy this inconvenience they had contributed, with Sir John Lowther, to build a church of their own, which was consecrated in 1693, but having no funds for its future support, they (unsuccessfully) prayed that it might be made parochial.

The population increased so rapidly, that another church wag built in 1715, and another in 1752. There were belonging to this port, and its dependent creeks, in 1772, no fewer than 387 ships, of which 197 belonged to Whitehaven; 97 to Workington; 76 to Maryport 12 Harrington and 5 to Parton. The number of vessels here, in 1790, had increased to 445, of which 216 belonged to Whitehaven 116 to Workington; 87 to Maryport; and 26 to Harrington, navigated by about 4,450 seamen, and carrying, collectively, 71,200 tons, each ship being, on an average, 160 tons burthen.

As has been seen, the number of ships belonging to the ports of Cumberland, in January 1828, was 539, the amount of their burthen 76,211 tons, but of these only 197 ships, equal to the burthen of 3,996 tons belonged to Whitehaven, which appears to have arrived at the summit of its prosperity during the last century, though Maryport and Harrington have nearly doubled their consequence gioce the year 1790 ; but still Whitehaven does not appear to be in a state of retrogradation, for; besides the coal trade to Ireland, &c., its commerce is now extended to Africa, America, the West Indies, and the principal ports in Europe; and amongst its manufactures are linen, sail cloth, checks, damask and diaper, cabinet goods, earthenware, colours, copperas, snuff and tobacco, soap, candles, anchors, cables, nails, etc.

Besides coal, large quantities of lime are shipped here for Scotland. Iron ore is also sent here from the neighbouring mines, to be exported to the Welsh furnaces. A few of the inhabitants are fishermen, and large quantities of herrings were formerly cured here, but this branch of trade is now much decreased. The Earl of Lonsdale has lately erected, a Patent Slip, which will admit four vessels of 150 tons; and by which vessels of any burthen may be drawn out of the water into the yard to be repaired. The largest vessel belonging to the port, about 800 tons, was repaired upon it. Here are also six yards for ship building, in which art Whitehaven has long been distinguished, for the excellency of the workmanship, and the durability of its vessels.

Sir James Lowther, son of Sir John, prosecuted the great plan of his father, and brought it to perfection, for he lived to see his coal works, and the rents of his buildings at Whitehaven yield upwards of £16,000 per annum, though' his grandfather had never received more than £1,500 a year from the same source. He died in 1755, and bequeathed the Whitehaven estate to Sir William Lowther, of Holker, Bart., who died in the following year, and was succeeded by Sir James Lowther, who was afterwards created Earl of Lonsdale, having, on the death of his father, (Richard Lowther, Esq.) and Henry Viscount Lowther gained possession of the two great estates of Maulds Meaburn and Lowther, in Westmorland, in addition to that of Whitehaven, as will be seen after the description Of Lowther Castle.

When the late Earl of Lonsdale succeeded to the Whitehaven estate, in 1756, he evinced the most liberal spirit, in extending his coal works, and in improving the town. Under his special patronage the town still continued to increase, many new houses were erected, and the population was augmented by numerous strangers from different parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland; there being at that time employment and encouragement for every one; genteel and rational entertainment and amusement for gentlemen; commerce for the merchant; and plenty of work for the mechanic and labourer."

WHITEHAVEN CASTLE, which belongs, with the surrounding estate, to the present Earl of Lonsdale, is pleasantly situated near the south-east skirts of the town, On a gentle rising ground, behind which rise the lofty banks of the vale of St. Bees. It was formerly called The Flat, or Flat Hall, but being re-built on a more extensive plan by the late Earl; it was garnished with embrasures, and dignified with the name of Castle, The front has a handsome appearance, and is lighted by about fifty windows. The building is surrounded by a fine lawn, with woody pleasure grounds and ornamental gardens, in which are some large fishponds.

The COAL SEAMS, that lie in the bowels of the earth, and below the bed of the sea, have been wrought for many years with such spirit and perseverance that a kind of subterraneous city is formed; and Whitehaven, with the adjacent coast, may said to rest upon continued ranges of columns composed of coal- Several bands or seams of coal show themselves in .various places on the sloping surface, on the west side of the vale, above and on the sea-shore near the town. On the first attempt to work the coal near Whitehaven, a level, or water-course, was driven from the bottom of the valley, near the Pow-beck, till it intersected a seam of coal, known by the name of Bannock Band, and drained a considerable field of coal, which was drawn out of pits from 20 to 60 yards deep. After this another level was driven westward, from near the farm-house called Thicket, across the seam called the Main Band. This level also effectually drained a large bed of coals, which were drawn out of the pits by men with jack-rawls, or windlasses, and then carried to the ships on the backs of galloways, in packs of 14 stones each. A later attempt to get coals here was made at the Ginns, where both the coal and water were drawn from the pits with horses and vertical machines, called ginns, a name that has since been bestowed upon the populous suburb that now occupies the spot.

The raising of water from the mines by the power of horses being very expensive, Sir James Lowther purchased a steam. engine, which had been used in raising water to supply the city of London, and was, it is said, the second machine of that kind built in England. As the number of pits increased, the water became more prevalent, which caused another more powerful engine to be erected, near the Ginns. By means of these engines a considerable extent of coal was drained, and the great utility of that powerful mechanical agent, steam, was fully established. The Parker Pit was soon afterwards opened, and a railway for the more easy passage of coal waggons was extended from it to the harbour staith, a distance of half a mile. Railroads being found a great facility, are now in general use at the collieries, in all parts of the kingdom, and such is the rapidity and ease with which heavy or light carriages are impelled along them, either by horses or steam, that they are likely to supersede canals, several extensive lines having been cut in different parts of the kingdom, besides some which are now forming, and others which are projected.

The next attempt to get coals in this neighbourhood was made about 1714, at Saltom, near the sea, where a pit was sunk 140 yards deep, and a steam-engine, with a forty-inch cylinder, was erected. Another engine, of the same power, was subsequently erected here, to raise the water, which was much increased by sinking several other pits. These two engines were worn out about the year 1780,when another, possessing more power than the previous ones, was erected, being capable of raising 9,240 hogsheads of water in 24 hours. The next mines opened here were the Howgill and Whingill collieries, the latter of which is situated to the south-east of the town, and the former to the south-west, in what was anciently called the Isle of Preston. Hutchinson, who wrote in 1794, says, from the colliery Of Howgill. alone, for a few years last past, above 50,000 waggons, or 100,000 tons of coals, have been raised yearly, and above half of that quantity from Whingill colliery; and yet we have been assured, by many of the workmen, that there is coal enough, not yet raised, to supply exportation, at the present rate, for near 200 years to come. There are five workable coal seams in the Howgill colliery, viz. the Crow coal, which is about '2 feet thick and 60 yards deep ; the Yard Band, 4 feet thick and 160 yards deep ; the Bannock Band, 8 feet thick and 200 yards deep ; the Main Band, 11 feet thick and 240 yards deep ; and the bottom seam, which 5 thick and 320 yards deep.

To the southward of Howgill, these seams are thrown much nearer the surface by Dikes, or perpendicular rents of the solid strata, varying from two feet to several fathoms in breadth, and filled with basalt, clay, stones, The largest of these dikes runs nearly in the direction of east and west. The coal seams always keep at equal distances from each other, and dip or descend sloping nearly due west, about one yard in ten. It has been asserted that the collieries in this neighbourhood have much less water, according to the extent of the workings, than those about Newcastle and other flat countries, where the miners cannot by day take away the surface springs, according to the practise here. Sir James Lowther, who died in 1755, was at considerable expense for the purpose of improving the manner of working his coal mines, and despatched one of his agents, Carlyle Spedding, to inspect some of the principal collieries in Northumberland, where he remained a considerable time in the capacity of a hewer," under the assumed name of Dan.

When Mr. Spedding returned, he introduced many improvements in the coal mines at Whitehaven, and invented the steel-wheel and flints," by which sparks of fire were produced to light the collier in those parts of the mines where burning candle would have ignited the carburetted hydrogen gas, or fire damp, by the explosion of which so many lives have been lost at different periods. On one of these melancholy occasions Mr. Spedding fell a victim to the burning fluid, about the year 1760, since which several effective inventions have been produced, for the purpose of preventing accidents in coal mines."

Dr. Wm. Reid Clanny, of Sunderland, invented the first safety lamp in 1813, but it was afterwards improved upon by Mr. George Stephenson, of Newcastle, and Sir Humphry Davy, the latter of whom, in 1815, produced a lamp covered with wire gauze, which proves impervious to flame, and though surrounded by inflammable air, prevents the communication of any inflammation with the burners.

In 1805 Mr. James Ryan, a Worcestershire colliery viewer, obtained a patent for an improved method of boring for coal by means of a cylindrical cutter; and in 1816, he obtained a gold medal, and 100 guineas from the Society of Arts, for his new method of ventilating coal mines, by which the draught, instead of sweeping through the numerous passages and inner workings of the mines, operates directly on the headway, which is excavated round the exterior of the mine, for the purpose of drawing off the gas from the interior, and expelling it at the upcast shaft, without suffering it to spread through the works. In 1826, Mr. Wm. W md, of Northumberland, obtained a patent for an apparatus so constructed as to explode the fire damp in coal mines during the absence of the miners, but this is but a dangerous remedy, which does not destroy the carbonic acid gas (choke damp), which on Mr. Ryan's system passes off into the water level, and leaves the mine with the fire damp. The late Dr. Brownrigg, of Whitehaven, paid much attention to this subject, and by the skill and humanity of the before mentioned, and various other men of science, the dangers which attend the labours of che poor miner have been greatly lessened.

Here are coal pits 320 yards deep, which are supposed. to be the deepest mines in the world below the level of the sea. As they extend to a great distance under the ocean, ships of large burthen sail over where the miners are at work. On the 31st of January, and 2d Of February, 1791, the inhabitants were greatly alarmed by the falling in of some of the old coal works under the town near Duke-street and George-street, where 18 houses, including the elegant mansion Of H. Littledale, Esq. were injured, but fortunately the inmates had time to escape unhurt, and from 60 to 80 families deserted that part of the town, till they were assured that no further danger was to be apprehended. This accident was caused by a great body of water bursting suddenly from the old workings into the new mines, where two men, a woman, and five horses perished in the overwhelming torrent.

The town and harbour sustained much damage on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of January, 1797, by the most tremendous storms of wind and rain, that were ever witnessed on this coast. The tide rose so high that the water overflowed the market-place, was three feet deep on the Custom house quay washed up part of the pavement in Marlborough-street, and entered the king's cellars.

The mole which extended from the Half-moon Battery, was entirely destroyed, together with most of the new quay, and part of the New Tongue. Every part of the harbour and shipping received much injury; and a fine vessel, belonging to New York, was forced from her moorings and wrecked near Harrington, but all the crew were providentially saved. The quays, on the coast northward as far as Solway Frith, were greatly injured, and several houses were washed down. Parton and Harrington quays were entirely demolished, and at the latter place the channel was blocked up, but the rubbish was afterwards removed and the harbour repaired. The effects of these dreadful storms on both sides of the Solway Firth were of the most distressing description, nine stacks of corn, and several houses, were destroyed by the wind and tide, besides much furniture and other property. The sufferers were treated with the most exemplary humanity by their more fortunate neighbours, who assisted them to gave their goods and furnished them with every necessary accommodation.

Whitehaven being only of modern birth, does not furnish history with any momentous events of a military character, except that the notorious Paul Jones, who served an apprenticeship to a mariner of this port, and was a native of Galloway, landed here early in the morning on the 23d of April, 1778, with about 30 armed men, from on board the American privateer Ranger, which carried 18 six pounders and 6 swivels, and had been equipped at Nantes for this hostile expedition. These desperadoes, after setting fire to three ships, found themselves betrayed by one of their_companions, who had fled into the town and alarmed the inhabitants, they therefore made a precipitate retreat, and left the shore in two boats before any force could be brought against them, having spiked all the guns on the nearest battery, three of which were however soon cleared, and several shots fired, but the daring enemy escaped unhurt, and afterwards landed on the coast of Galloway, and plundered the house of the Earl of Selkirk.

Immediately after this rencounter, the inhabitants used every exertion to put the port in a proper state of defence, and for this purpose upwards of 41857 was subscribed in the space of four days. The BATTERIES were speedily repaired, and an additional supply of guns was received from Woolwich, making the total number 98, of which 18 were 36 pounders, and 12 thirty-two. The Old Fort is situated at the entrance to the New Quay, and commands the whole of the harbour. About 300 yards SW, of this, is the Half-moon Battery, so situated as to command the whole bay. On a lofty eminence above this, is another battery but its guns were removed some years ago, together with most of those from the other batteries. At the place called Jack-a-Dandy, on the opposite side of the harbour was an open battery, on which were mounted four of the heaviest pieces and some smaller guns. These bulwarks have long been rendered useless by the continuation of peace, aud now present a decayed and grass-grown appearance.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND INSTITUTIONS. Churches - St. Nicholas, or the Old Church, was built in 1693, Bt the cost of £1066 16s. 2¼d by Sir John Lowther and the inhabitants. It is a large neat structure, standing in a spacious burial ground, comprising an area of 150 by 160 yards, and bounded by Lowther street, Church street, Queen street, and Duke street, where there formerly stood a little old chapel. A fine-toned organ built by Snetzler was added to the interior in 1756. Trinity Church is situated at the junction of Scotch street, Irish street, and Roper street, where it was erected in 1715. St. James's, built in 1752, occupies an elevated situation at the top of Queen-street, from the lower part of which it forms a beautiful object. The lord of the manor also contributed with the inhabitants towards the erection of the two latter churches, which are not much dissimilar in size and style of architecture to that of St. Nicholas. Their benefices are all perpetual curacies, in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, as lord of the manor, and were each certified at £60 a year, arising from seat rents and contributions. The Rev. Andrew Huddleston, A.M. is the incumbent; the Rev. George Wylie, subcurate ; and Mr. John Steel, clerk of St. Nicholas's. The Rev. Thomas Harrison, A.M. is the incumbent; the Rev. Edward Irvin, sub-curate ; and Mr. James Moore, clerk, of Trinity Church. The Rev. William Jackson, B.D. is incumbent of St. James's, and Mr. Stephen Crooks is the clerk. The Ecclesiastical Courts for Copeland Deanery are held twice a-year, in the handsomely fitted up church of St. Nicholas, where, as well as in the other churches, the Bishop of Chester visits his clergy, and holds confirmations, &c. for this part of his diocese.

CHAPELS - The Roman Catholic chapel, in Catherine-street, was built about 1780, and greatly enlarged in 1824; is now under the pastoral charge of the Rev. Wm. Holden. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, in Michael-street, was built in 1818, on the site of the old one. The chapel at Mount Pleasant, which was built by Mr. Hogarth in 1789, as an episcopal place of worship, is now occupied by the Primitive Methodists, as it was formerly by the Wesleyans. The Scotch Church, in the Market-place, was erected in 1695, by Presbyterian congregationalists, who fled at that time from Ireland; it is now under the ministry of the Rev. Walter Fairlie, and is in connexion with the Presbytery of the North West of England. The Presbyterian chapel, in High-street, where the Rev. Robert Hogg officiates, is in connexion with the United Secession The Independent chapel, in Duke-street was built in 1793, and the Rev. Archibald Jack is now its pastor. It originally belonged to Lady Huntingdon's connexion. In Sandhills-lane is meeting house belonging to the Society of Friends. Herp are also two small congregations of Baptists, one of which has a chapel in Charles street. and the other a meeting-room in Marlboro street. The Bethel Union, and Whitehaven Seamen's Friend Society, established in 1822, has a registered room at No. 43, Lowther-street, where the ministers of various denominations preach in rotation to the mariners, who are invited to their devotions by the exhibition of a flag instead of the ringing of bells, and are provided with the loan of tracts and religious books, to peruse on their voyages; but we regret to say, that the library of this useful institution is only small, owing to the depressed state of its funds.

RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS - A Bible Society was instituted here in 1813, as an auxiliary to the British and Foreign Bible Society in London. Its committee is composed of members of the Established Church and Dissenters, together with all ministers who are subscribers. Since its formation it has distributed 3,760 bibles and testaments, and received, in contributions and payments, no less than £2030. The amount of its subscription for the year ending 1828, was £68 11s. 8d. It periodically searches out and supplies such of the as are destitute of the holy scriptures, either gratuitously, or for small weekly payments, at the cost price. Mr. Joseph Bell is the president, and the Rev. A. Jack, and Messrs. E. Dawson and J. Bell, jun. are the secretaries to this society, which seems to have given a powerful impulse to benevolent feeling in this town; for since its commencement, most of the other religious and charitable institutions date their existence. As has just been seen, a Bethel Union, for the religious instruction of seamen, vas formed here in 1822. The Lending Tract Association, supported by annual subscribers of 2s. 6d. each, was formed in 1825, and now circulates tracts every week amongst 2400 families, by means of 81 gratuitous distributors; thus effecting a great deal of good at a small expense. The Copeland District Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge was established in 1824, and is supported by the clergy and members of the established church in this Deanery, who, during the year ending March, 1828, circulated amongst their poor neighbours, 112 bibles, 113 testaments, 365 and 2354 other religious books and tracts. Its subscriptions, during the same year, amounted to 70l. exclusive of 27l. received for books sold by the committee.

The Earl of Lonsdale is its patron, Dr. Ainger its president, the Rev. A. Scott its treasurer and secretary, and Mr. J. Robinson, of Lowther-street, is the Depositary, and assistant secretary. The Juvenile Missionary Association, contributes about 601. yearly to the London Society, and is connected with the Independent congregation, which also subscribes about 30l. per annum to the Home Missionary S├Žicty, belonging to which, are two missionary itinerants, who preach the gospel in the destitute villages of Cumberland. The Whitehaven District Association of the Methodist Missionary Society remitted, in 1827, to the parent institution, no less than 168l. 5s- 7d. The South West of Cumberland Sunday Schmi Society was formed in 1818, for the purpose of furnishing suitable books, and giving information, encouragement, and assistance to Sunday-schools in this town and neighbourhood, without aiming at the advancement of any individual or sectarian interest." 

Such was the influence of this society that, in 1821, it had connected with it, in the Ward of Allerdale above Derwent, no fewer than 33 Sabbath-schools, at which 4220 children were educated by 442 gratuitous teachers. In the same year (after the parliamentary inquiry) this society collected much important information respecting the state of education in Cumberland, which seemed to prove that of the total population, nearly one in five were receiving instruction; whilst, by the parliamentary returns, adding Mr. Brougham's assumed proportion of Sunday scholars not at day-schools, there would appear to be little more than half the means of instruction actually existing in the district." 

FREE SCHOOLS - At the Day and Sunday Charity Schools in this town, upwards of 1600 children are now receiving instruction, and none are suffered to grow up in ignorance, who can be induced to receive gratuitously the rudiments of learning. The Wesleyan Methodist Sunday-School was established in 1811, and is now attended by 340 scholars. At the Ginn's General Sunday-School, (opened in 1817) about 350 children are educated; and about 300 more are usually in attendance at the three Sunday Schools, supported by the Bethel Union, and the Secession and Scotch Churches.

The NATIONAL SCHOOL was commenced in 1814, but the commodious building, which it now occupies, was not built till 1824. This large seminary is situated in Wellington-row, and affords education to 460 boys and girls, under the tuition of Thomas Palmer and Elizabeth Hudson. The MARINE SCHOOL, was founded in 1817, by Matthew Piper, Esq. of Whitehaven, one of the Society of Friends, who liberally endowed it with 2000l. navy 5 per centum annuities, vested in the hands of 15 trustees, for the education of 60 poor boys resident in the town of Whitehaven or the neighbourhood, in reading, writing, arithmetic, gauging, navigation, and bookkeeping. The present school-room was erected by the Earl of Lonsdale in 1818, and opened in 1822. Previous to being admitted to this seminary, every boy must be able to read the new testament, and be upwards of eight years of age. None are allowed to remain more than five years. Although this school is intended to convey such nautical instruction as shall qualify its pupils to act as mates and masters of vessels, they are not placed under any obligation to go to sea, as the name of the institution may be supposed to imply. Wm. Mitchell is the master, and Geo. Harrison, Esq. is the treasurer, and one of the trustees. 

The Whitehaven Infant School, at Ginns was instituted in 1828, for the reception of children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, to be instructed on the ingenious system of Messrs. Wilderspin & Wilson. Upwards of 100 children now attend this school, and pay weekly 11⁄2d. per head, but only ld. each is charged when more than one are sent from the same family. They are instructed by two female teachers, and, by a judicious and pleasing interchange of exercise and instruction, experience a gradual development of their bodily and mental powers. At the commencement of this school upwards of 80l was subscribed for its support, and it continues to be aided by liberal contributions. 

CHARITABLE DISPENSARY claims the first place in this class, both in importance and seniority, having existed since the year 1783, and administered its healing benefits to upwards of 167,000 patients, of whom from 3 to 6,000. were admitted during each year, as appears in the forty-six annual reports of this medical and surgical charity, which occupies a building at No. 107, Queen street, and has, since the year 1821, been supported out of the same funds as the Fever Hospital, or House of Recovery, which latter is an extensive building, with adjacent land, situated at the Ginns, and is generously lent, without charge, for its present purpose, by the Earl of Lonsdale. These united institutions are conducted similar to those at Carlisle and other places. The annual benefactions and subscriptions, for the year ending June, 1828, amounted to £170, and the disbursements to £220, but owing to previous bequests and donations, the charity possesses a fund of about £1,150, which has been accumulated for the purpose of erecting an Infirmary, but this desirable object cannot be attained without the liberal assistance of the benevolent inhabitants of this populous part of Cumberland, where such an institution would be an inestimable blessing to the lame and sick poor. Mr. Joseph Hodgson, the apothecary, resides at the Dispensary, and has a yearly salary and gratuity amounting to £81. The medical gentlemen of the town give their services to this charity, of which J. Peile, Esq. is treasurer, and P. Hodgson, Esq. secretary. Immediately after the Dispensary was established, (1783,) its promoters, regardful of their maritime situation, formed a connection with the London Humane Society, and procured a complete set of apparatus for the recovery of persons apparently drowned.

The LADIES CHARITY was instituted in 1805, to afford relief and assistance to married women in child-bed, at their own houses, and to widows whose husbands have died during their pregnancy," resident in Whitehaven or its suburbs. The Countess of Lonsdale the patroness of this lying-in charity, which, in 1827, received contributions amounting to £58 3s. 6d., and relieved 113 women. None are considered its objects but those who are unable to pay for attendance, and can obtain a subscriber's recommendation. Each patient has the loan of a bag of linen for one month, and may choose her own midwife, who receives 5s. as her fee, from the funds of the charity.

The LADIES BENEVOLENT SOCIETY, for visiting and relieving the sick poor, was formed in 1818, and received and disbursed, in 1828, about £128.

The SAMARITAN SOCIETY is a similar charity to the last mentioned, and is conducted by the Wesleyan Methodists. In 1827 it distributed amongst 157 distressed objects the sum of £47 5s. 2d.

The BLANKET AND CLOTHING SOCIETY was formed in 1827, not only to supply the poor with cheap clothing but also to enable them to deposit small sums, and to pay for articles of clothing by such trifling instalments as they can conveniently spare. During the first year of its existence, no less than 352 indigent persons availed themselves of the benefits of this charity, and received 280 articles of clothing, and 42 blankets, which cost the subscribers £59 5s. 7d, towards which £41 2se 6d was paid by the small weekly contributions of the poor.

At the SOUP KITCHEN in Queen-street, the indigent have distributed amongst them every winter fifty pounds worth of nourishing soup, pursuant to the bequest of the late charitable Matthew Piper Esq. In addition to this mass of charity a fund of about £80 is raised yearly, by collections in the three churches and the Scotch chape and is distributed by the churchwardens amongst the poor widows who do not receive parochial relief. To this fund the late Dr. Dixon left a legacy of £50, in 1825.

The following Benefactions are distributed at Trinity church every Christmas, by the churchwardens, to the poor, viz. £7 18s., the interest of £200, left about 50 years ago, by the Rev. Thomas Sewell, for 20 poor widows £5, the interest of £100, vested in Maryport Harbour, and bequeathed by Joseph Glaister, Esq., in 1773; and £4 4s being part of tho interest of £400, vested in government stock 4 per cents and bequeathed, in 1819, by Mrs. Barbara Birkhead, who directed the remainder of the interest, (£12 12s.) to be paid to two individuals during their lives.

PROVIDENT INSTITUTIONS - Here were formerly eighteen Male, and Female Friendly Societies, consisting of several thousand members, who by monthly contributions provided funds for their mutual support in case of sickness or infirmity. The first of these beneficial institutions was formed in 1781, and 8 or 9 of them existed till a few years ago, when, owing to mismanagement and cavilling disputes, they wen disorganized and broken up, except FOUR LODGES OF FREE MASONS, viz. The Perseverance, at the John Bull ; The Concord, at the Golden Ball ; Lodge No. 190, at the Crown and Sceptre ; and The Royal Cumberland Militia Lodge, No. 270, at the Old Pack Horse.

The SAVINGS' BANK, at the public office, is also a provident establishment, at which the humbler classes may invest their saving on good security and interest. It was instituted in 1818, and its deposits nov amount to upwards of £60,OOO, belonging to 1,502 individuals. is open every Saturday evening from 6 to 8 0'clock, and is under the control of a patron (the Earl of Lonsdale), a president, 6 trustees, 39 directors. Mr. Wm. Miller, the treasurer, and Mr. Isaac Hayton, the secretary.

POOR HOUSES - The workhouse for the township of Whitehaven is an extensive building in Scotch-street, which was built in 1743, at the cost of a considerable sum of money, borrowed upon tickets not exceeding £25 each, bearing interest for 31 years, after which the payment of the principal commenced, and was all paid off in 1780. The building was considerably enlarged in 1795. The average number of paupers in the house during the year 1828 was 123, who were fed at the weekly cost of 1s. 8d. per head.

The number of outdoor paupers in March, 1828, was 198. The sum paid by the overseers for the relief of the poor in 1803 was £2,614 ; in 1821, £5,210, when a select vestry was appointed; in 1827 they had declined to £2,380, and in 1828, £2,623, exclusive of £400 paid for the county rates, and a salary of £60 to the assistant overseer; and inclusive of the following salaries, viz. Guardian, £80, Governor, £31 10s., Matron, £10, and Doctor £15. A Visitor, four Overseers, and a Select Vestry, consisting of 20 rate-payers, are chosen annually, and they publish yearly an explicit account Of their receipts and disbursements. The acting officers are Mr. John Brown, guardian, Mr. Wm. Sherwen, governor, and Mr. John Braithwaite, assistant overseer.

The WORKHOUSE PRESTON QUARTER is situated at the Ginns, and the poor rates for that township amounted in 1803 to £307 1s. 4d. In 1820 they had increased to £1,402, but since that period have gradually declined to £827 in 1828. Mr. Richard Curwen is the acting overseer. Preston township includes the south-western suburbs of the town, Pleasant and the Ginns, thickly inhabited by colliers and labourers, and Corkickle, Waterloo terrace, Retreat, Hilton terrace.

The township of Whitehaven is very small, being nearly all covered with buildings, ship yards, Its boundaries extend from the last house in Newtown across the Castle Meadows and Castle Garden, nearly to the Messrs. Hartleys' ropery, and thence by the highest house in Wellington row, nearly in a direct line to the Cockermouth road and the sea. In 1795, the township of Whitehaven was incorporated, as to all concerns relative to the poor, under an amended act of Parliament.

GOVERNMENT OF TOWN AND HARBOUR - TwO acts of Parliament, passed in the 7th and 11th of Queen Anne, incorporated "twenty-one trustees of the harbour and town of Whitehaven," with power to levy duties for the purpose of building quays, piers, and otherwise improving the haven and town. Their power has since been extended by aets of Parliament passed in 1739, 1766, 1788, 1792, and 1818. Twenty of the trustees are elected triennially; the inhabitants who pay harbour dues choose 14 of them by ballot, and 6 are appointed by the lord of the manor, who is always to be one. The jurisdiction of the harbour trustees extends northward from the Old Quay to Redness Point.

The HARBOUR OFFICE is at the West Strand, and the following are the officers, viz.—Mr. Richard Whiteside, treasurer; Mr. John Fisher, harbour master; and Mr. Joseph Hodgson, collector. By the act of 58 Geo. III the lord of the manor and eleven or more of the other trustees, have power to reduce and vary the harbour dues, which have consequently been reduced 25 per cent.

The PUBLIC OFFICE in Lowther-street, is a commodious and neat stone edifice, which was erected in 1807. The lower part of it contains the Courtroom, Police office, and the upper story is occupied as a News-room.

The POLICE ESTABLISHMENT consists of Mr. Edwin Holwell Heywood, the superintendent ; Messrs. Thomas Green, Wm. Rewley, and Wm. Roan, the three officers, and ten watchmen. PETTY SESSIONS are held here every Thursday and Saturday, when two or more of the following MAGISTRATES are on the Bench, viz. John Littledale, Esq. (chairman), John Harrison, Thomas Hartley, and James Spedding, Esquires, and the Revs. Thomas Harrison, Alexander Scott, and Henry Lowther, for whom Mr. E. II. Heywood is clerk. The lord of the manor holds a Court Leet annually, and a Court Baron every month, for the recovery of debts under 40s.

THE HOUSE OF OF CORRECTION in Peter-street, is a county prison, in which delinquents are confined for short periods, or till they receive their final judgement at the Quarter Sessions. Mr. John Bell is the governor. The LOCK-UP-HOUSE, a small octagonal building in the Marketplace, was erected in 1816, for the use of the night watchmen, who here incarcerate the nocturnal disturbers of the public peace, till they are examined by a Magistrate.

The PORT OF WHITEHAVEN includes within its jurisdiction the harbours of Workington, Maryport, Harrington, Ravenglass and Millom, with all the intermediate coast, extending from Midstream in the river Duddon, northward to Maryport, a distance of nearly fifty miles. It also extends seaward to 10 fathoms water. The port of Carlisle anciently comprehended all the coast of Cumberland, but it was reduced to its present state about the reign  of Charles II, when a custom house was built at the new and rapidly growing town of Whitehaven. The present CUSTOM HOUSE was erected in 1811, and is a large convenient edifice, situated in the West Strand.

Parson & White, 1829.


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.

Total Views: