Peile & Nicholson, 1864

Whitehaven is a large and opulent seaport, market town, and parliamentary borough in the parish of St. Bees, Allerdale Ward, above Derwent. It is about three miles E.N.E. from St. Bees Head, at the mouth of that portion of the Irish Sea known as the Solway Firth, and situated in a small bay or creek which forms the harbour, being bounded on the north and south by high hills, which rise abruptly from the sea, forming a bold and rocky coastline. From the heights on either side good views are to be obtained, in clear weather, of the Scotch mountains and the Isle of Man.

The origin of the name of Whitehaven has never been satisfactorily accounted for. In most of the histories of Cumberland it is stated to have derived from the whiteness of the cliffs, or from an old fisherman named WHITE, who lived here about 1566, when the town was said to consist of only six houses, and had but one small vessel in the harbour. The thatched cottage supposed to have been built by him was situated near the old fish market, and tumbled down in 1815. There is, however, a total absence of anything like white cliffs anywhere near the town. Tradition exerts the existence of ancient ruins where the castle stands, most probably Drudical remains, where the Whitten or Witena-gemote (great council) was held. It is related, too, that inhabitants believed these real or imagined stones to be enchanted warriors, and gave them the name of "Deead Ring or Circle," and sometimes "Corpse Circle," corrupted into the word Corkickle, the name the locality now bears.

Little is known of the history of Whitehaven prior to the 17th century, but from ancient records it would seem to be of greater antiquity than is generally supposed. It is asserted that the site of the present town and neighbourhood was formerly covered with forest trees, of which there can be little doubt, as the numerous "gills," which appear to be remnants of the old forest, indicate.

In an account of the domestic habits and manufactures of the Irish, mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters, it is stated that about the year 930 and expedition, accompanied by one of the Irish chiefs, was made to Barrack (i.e. rocky coast) or Barrow Mouth for the purpose of collecting wood, which they used for making coracles or wicker boats, noggins or water pails, and other articles; that the inhabitants, who were met at Whitten, fell upon them, took their chief and several other prisoners. Whitehaven also appears to have been a resort for shipping as early as the 10th century, for when Henry II made his Expedition to Ireland in 1172, troops were brought to Whittenhaven, and transported thence in ships across to the Irish Coast. In the reign of Elizabeth, when the Maritime ports were ordered to furnish vessels for the fleet to meet the Spanish Armada, there was one vessel found here called the Bee, of about 9 tons burthen, but whether she was the only vessel belonging to the port does not appear.

All lands in the neighbourhood formerly belonged to the Priory of St. Bees, but, after the dissolution of the monasteries, were purchased by Sir Christopher LOWTHER, who died in 1644. His son, Sir John LOWTHER, who succeeded him, erected a mansion, called The Flatt, the site of the present castle. He first conceived the idea of working the coal mines and improving the harbour, and for that purpose, about the year 1666, obtained from Charles II a grant of all the "derelict land at that place" which yet belonged to the Crown; and in 1678 all the lands for two miles northward between high and low water mark.

Sir John having thus laid the foundation of the future prosperity of Whitehaven, commenced his great work, and lived to see a small obscure village, which in 1663 had consisted of only nine thatched cottages, grow up into a thriving and populous town.

The harbour is the best and most convenient on the coast, being protected on the north and west by noble and massive piers of solid masonry stretching a considerable distance into the sea, and the enclosed area being intersected by several quays, greatly facilitate the loading and discharging of vessels. A pier was erected before 1687, by Sir John LOWTHER, which rendered the harbour so commodious as to be capable of accommodating a fleet of 100 sail. In 1738, there were only three piers in the harbour, and, during the reign of Queen Anne, two acts of Parliament were passed to establish a tonnage duty for the purpose of improving the harbour. In 1767 the new Quay was lengthened, and in 1784 the North Wall was finished: the Old Quay was lengthened in 1792, and other improvements were gradually made. The New West Pier was commenced in 1824 and finished in 1839, and cost above £100,000. It is a most substantial building of great strength, and at the round head at the end stands a lighthouse with a revolving light and three reflectors. It is lighted all night, and appears the brightest once every two minutes, gradually waning till eclipsed. The new North Pier is also a fine structure, and was finished in 1841 at great expense. It has a lighthouse or harbour guide which shows a blue light. Indeed it is questionable if any other port in the kingdom can boast of two such magnificent piers as Whitehaven.

During the day a red flag is hoisted on a pole from the top of the Old Lighthouse while there are 9 feet of water in the harbour, and at night a stationary light of a red colour is shown from the Old Quay while there are nine feet of water between the pier heads. The life-boat is also stationed at the West Pier, and Admiral FITZROY's storm-warning signals are hoisted on the Old Quay.

The staple trade of the port is coal, the mines being worked to the great advantage and emolument of the Earl of LONSDALE, who is perhaps the most extensive colliery proprietor in the country. They vary in depth from 50 to 200 fathoms, the seams differing in thickness from between one and two feet and eleven feet, and extend several miles under the sea, where operations are carried on night and day devoid of all fear from the inroad of the immense weight of water above head. The supply of coal is most abundant, of the best quality, and calculated to last for centuries to come yet, without fear of exhaustion. It is principally exported to Ireland and the Isle of Man, the demand sometimes being so great that between one and two thousand tons are occasionally shipped in the course of a day.

Next in importance to the coal trade is iron ore, immense quantities being sent to the Cardiff, Staffordshire, and other iron works in various parts of the country. The materials requisite for making iron are coal and limestone, both of which are found in this locality; hence the formation of the Hematite Iron Works, where a valuable pig iron is manufactured from the rich ore, known as Hematite, which, on account of its superior quality, is in great and increasing demand.

Ship building is also carried on to a considerable extent, for which the town bears a high reputation, Whitehaven built vessels being "said not only to be more durable, but to sail faster than those of the same description from any other port in the kingdom." A patent slip, erected by the Earl of LONSDALE, on the East Strand, will admit four vessels of 150 tons burthen, and by means of which vessels of any burthen may be drawn out of the tide into the yard to be repaired.

The only incident of any importance connected with the annals of Whitehaven is the daring attempt of the notorious Paul JONES to put into execution a well digested plan for buring and destroying the town and shipping. He was actively employed as commander in fitting out and American Privateer, the Ranger (which was equipped at Nantes for this hostile expedition), mounting 18 six-pounders and sixteen swivels, and manned with a desperately daring crew of one hundred and fifty men.

After making the land, early in the morning of the 23rd April, 1778, in order to avoid observation he cautiously kept the offing; but, at the close of the evening, having made the necessary preparations, he stood in towards the shore; And at midnight, approaching sufficiently near, he despatched his boats, with thirty daring fellows, well armed, who pushed off in deep silence from the vessel. The bay and entrance of the harbour was commanded by a small battery, and it was necessary to secure this before they could venture to proceed farther.

Accordingly, having made good their landing, the party rushed upon the small garrison before any alarm could be given, and made them prisoners.

They immediately spiked all the guns of the battery, and so far everything seemed in favour of the assailants, and to promise complete success to their daring enterprise.

It was low water, and the vessels in the harbour were laying close together, and there seemed no chance of escape from total destruction, should they be once fired and the flames get a-head. Having no expectation of such an unwelcome visit, no watches were set on board the ships, and the inhabitants of the town were quietly reposing in their beds, in supposed security. In the fullest confidence, therefore, the armed party dispersed themselves, and deposited matches ready primed, amidst combustibles, on the decks and in the rigging of the several vessels in the harbour.
Nothing more was now required to complete their destruction, than the signal for setting the fire to the trains. At this critical moment the inhabitants of the main street were aroused by a loud knocking at their doors, and an alarm was spread in every direction. The assailants now perceived that they were discovered, and nothing remained for them but to begin in haste their work of destruction; for the alarm having become general, crowds were observed running towards the piers, attracted by the lights which the marauders on their retiring were hastily throwing on board the vessels, but fortunately without effect, only one being seriously scorched, as the crews, aided by the townsmen, succeeded in extinguishing the flames before they reached the rigging.
Foiled in his desperate attempt, the privateer's men therefore made a hasty retreat, and re-embarked in two boats, before any available force could be brought to bear against them. Three of the guns were, however, soon cleared and several shots fired, but the bold adventurers got on board their ship in safety.

On mustering the crew, one of the party was missing, and it was to that man the people of Whitehaven were indebted for the preservation of their lives and property; for, influenced either by conscientious or self interested motives, he had quitted his companions in the harbour, and proceeded hastily up the main street, knocking loudly at every door, by which he roused the inhabitants from their beds, and called upon them to save their lives and property.

He afterwards landed on the coast of Galloway, and plundered the house of the Earl of SELKIRK.

Great exertions were now made to put the harbour in proper state of defence; a subscription was raised for the purpose, and additional aid received from Woolrich to render the then exiting batteries effective.

The situation of the Old Fort is at the entrance to the New Quay, commanding the whole of the harbour and the approach to it from the north. About two hundred yards from it was the Half Moon Battery, situated so as to command the whole bay. On the north side of the harbour, at a place known as Jack-a-Dandy, was an open battery, on which was mounted four of the heaviest pieces and some smaller guns, and on the height above William Pit, was also another battery which commanded the whole bay and coast towards Workington. The only battery now, however, belonging to the town is the one recently constructed, for the use of the Artillery Volunteers, on the hill above Wellington Pit.

The principal approach to the town is from the north, by a wide and well made road of easy descent, passing under a noble arch of freestone (richly ornamented with the arms of the LOWTHER family) built for the purpose of conveying coals over from the pit to the harbour. The town and harbour is well lighted with gas, there being two gas companies, one situated at Bransty, and the other on St. Bees road. Shops and private houses are now supplied at 2s. And 2s. 6d. Per 1,000 cubic feet, when a few years ago, there being only one company, the price charged was 12s. 6d. Per 1,000.

There is also an abundant supply of pure water brought under ground in iron pipes from Ennerdale Lake, a distance of nine miles.

The streets are mostly straight and well paved, crossing each other at right angles, the buildings being chiefly of stone and roofed with slate. Lowther street is the finest and best built street, consisting principally of private residences. King Street is the principal business street, And has been wonderfully improved of late years by the pulling down and altering houses and shops and erecting handsome and more modern buildings in their stead.

The markets are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and are well supplied with all kinds of farm and garden produce; particularly on Thursday, which is the principal day. Thursday is also the day for the corn and cattle market, which is held in Duke Street. The market place extends from the foot of King Street and Roper Street to Irish Street, and is surrounded with well stocked shops of every description. There were formerly two Market Houses, one for butter, eggs, poultry, &c., and the other for fish. This last, however, being nothing better than a nuisance, was pulled down, and the Refuge School ( a more useful building) erected on the site. The Fish Market is now held under a shed, erected for the purpose by the Trustees, along side the Timber Slip, but is not much patronized by the public, who prefer dealing at the various fishmongers' shops in the town.
The Butcher Market is divided into two parts by Chapel Street, viz., the low Market and George's Market. The Low Market extending to King Street is well fitted up with "stands," and is protected from the weather by a glass roof. It has no slaughter house attached, but a very convenient one is provided for the purpose in the New Town. George's Market, leading to Church Street, is a dilapidated looking place, and is vastly inferior to the other; it has, however, the advantage of the slaughter house being attached.
Both markets are the property of the Right Hon. The Earl of LONSDALE. On the whole the market accommodation is very defective, great inconvenience being felt by the want of suitable places for proper transaction of business; a Corn Exchange, for instance, is much needed in a town like Whitehaven, where the grain trade is very extensive.

Whitehaven returns one member to Parliament for the borough, and is the polling place for the election of members to represent the Western Division of the County of Cumberland.

There are four newspapers published in the town, viz. : The Cumberland Pacquet every Tuesday, The Whitehaven Herald, every Saturday, The Whitehaven Times, every Thursday, and The Whitehaven News every Tuesday and Thursday.

Whitehaven Castle, one of the residences of the Right Hon. The Earl of LONSDALE, is situated at the out edge of the town, on the road leading to Hensingham, Egremont, &c. It is a handsome, quadrangular building, fronted by a fine lawn, and surrounded by well wooded pleasure grounds and ornamental gardens. Corkickle, Floraville, Victoria Terrace, Hamilton Terrace, Waterloo Terrace, The Retreat, &c., are pleasantly situated at the outskirts of the town, and consist of well built houses, principally occupied by gentry.

Ginns is a densely populated district, on the opposite side to the above places, the direct road to which, is along the Coach Road, leading from Corkickle. The name is derived from and early attempt to get coal here, when both coals and water were drawn from pits by horses and vertical machines called Ginns. Here are three rows of houses, comprising nearly 300 dwellings, known by the name of the "New Houses," erected by Sir James LOWTHER, and occupied, rent free, by colliers in Lord LONSDALE's employ. Mr. WILKINSON's extensive potteries, and RANDLESON and FORSTER's chemical and colour works, are also in this locality.

- Until the year 1693, the only place of worship in the town was a "little old chapel," with a bell turret and a cross at the east end, situate in Chapel Street.

St. Nicholas (the old Church) is a plain stone structure, situate in Lowther Street, and was erected by Sir John LOWTHER and the inhabitants. It has a tower containing two bells and a clock, and was consecrated on July 16th, 1693, when the House of Commons was petitioned to make it parochial, but without success. The interior is very handsomely fitted up. It contains several mural tablets to the HUDDLESTONE Family, and has also a very fine toned organ, built by SNETZLER, placed here in 1756. The Rev F. W. WICKS, J. P., is the incumbent, and the Rev. W. H. JEMISON, curate. Clerk : Mr. Thos. WHITE. Organist: Mr. James COOPER. Sexton: Mr. Andrew MITCHELL, Church Street.

Holy Trinity Church is situated in Scotch Street, at the junction of Irish Street, and was built in 1715 by James LOWTHER, Esq., and inhabitants. The style of architecture is similar to that of St. Nicholas, and has a square tower, a bell, and a clock. The interior is neat but plain, and contains a marble monument, with an inscription in Latin, to the memory of Sir James LOWTHER, who died in 1755. The Rev. Canon DALTON, B. D., is the incumbent, and the Rev. Alexander EWING, curate. Clerk: Mr. Jeremiah KENDALL. Organist: Mr. Hamilton WHITE. Sexton: Mr. Wm. ROBINSON, Irish Street.

St James Church is situated in High Street, at the top of Queen Street, and is somewhat similar in appearance to the others. It was erected in 1752 (the Rev. Thomas SPEDDING being first minister), and has a square tower about 78 feet high, containing one bell and a clock. The Reverend Charles Agustus PERRING is the incumbent, and the Rev. Jeremiah Sharp TOMLINSON curate. Clerk: Mr. George WALKER. Organist: Mr. Matthew GOLIGHTLY. Sexton: Mr. Thomas BENNETT, Queen Street.

Christ Church, Preston Street, is a plain stone edifice, in the Norman style of architecture, built by subscription, at the cost of about £2,200 , and was opened for divine worship on the 28th of April, 1847. On the 29th of the following September it was consecrated, and constituted a parish church for all ecclesiastical purposes. It contains two bells in an open turret, surmounted by a cross. The sittings are entirely free, and will accommodate nearly 1,000 persons. The Rev. John RIMMER, of Woodhouse is rector, and the Rev. W. BARKER, B.A., is the curate pro. Tem. Clerk and Sexton: Mr. William DIXON. Organist: Mr. George GAY.

Service commences in the aforesaid Churches every Sunday at a quarter to eleven in the morning, and at half past six in the evening.

A Sunday afternoon service is held at St. James'; there is also an evening service at Holy Trinity every Wednesday evening, and at St. James' on all the Saints' Days and Holy Days. At. St. James' there is also two services, with sermons, on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent and Advent, and Daily Services during Holy Week, with Sermons.

The Catholic Chapel (St Gregory), Coach Road, was erected in 18?4 by the late Rev. Father HOLDEN, on ground presented by the late Earl Of LONSDALE, also gave £100 towards the building.

Sunday Services. - 1st, 9.30a.m.; 2nd, 11 a.m.; Evening, 6.30
Rev. Father LYNASS, Parish Priest / Rev. Father CALDWELL, Curate

The Independent Chapel is in Duke Street, and is attended by a large congregation. Minister: The Rev. Wm. PLACE. Organist: Mr. Wm. McGOWAN. Service commences at half past ten in the morning and half past six in the evening.

The Presbyterian Congregationalist (Scotch Church) is in James Street, under the ministry of the Rev. Joseph BURNS. Service in the morning at a quarter to eleven and in the evening at half past six.

The United Presbyterian Chapel is in High Street. Minister: The Rev. Wm. DRUMMOND. Service commences at a quarter to eleven in the morning and at a quarter past six in the evening.

The Wesleyan Methodist Free Church, Catherine Street. Minister: Rev. Wm. DAWSON. Services commence at half past Ten in the morning and six o'clock in the evening.

The Wesleyan Chapel (Michael Street or Back Street). Ministers: The Rev. John EATON and the Rev. Wm. CULLUM. The first Sunday School in the town was organized at this chapel. Service commences at half past ten in the morning and at six in the evening.

The Baptists have two small chapels, one in Charles Street and the other at Gore's Buildings, but there is no stated minister for either. Service commences at half past ten in the morning and six in the evening.

The Primitive Methodists for a long time occupied the 'Chapel at Mount Pleasant,' which was built in 1789, and now used as a candle manufactory. They have recently erected a very neat Stone Chapel in Howgill Street, but have no stated minister. Service commences at half pat ten in the morning and six in the evening.

The Society of Friends have their meeting house in Sandhills Lane. The times for Sunday Services vary monthly, but there is a meeting held every Wednesday morning at half past ten o'clock. Clerk to the meeting: John WALKER.

The Sailor's Bethel is in Strand Street. A prayer meeting is held on Sunday mornings at seven o'clock; at half past ten o'clock a sermon is preached in a large room at the Oddfellows Hall; at two o'clock in the afternoon a Band Meeting is held; and at six o'clock in the evening another Sermon is delivered. Every evening during the week service is held at the Bethel in Strand Street. Minister: Rev. William TOWNSEND.

The Working Men's Mission Room, Howgill Street. Sunday Services commence at half past ten in the morning, half past two in the afternoon, and at six in the evening. At five p.m. and open air service is held in the Market Place (weather permitting). Service is also held every evening during the week at half past seven. Minister: Wm. BURNS, Galemire.

A True Church of Christ meet for worship in the room over the Mason's Yard, adjoining the Guinea Warehouse, every Lord's Day, at half past ten in the morning and at half past six in the evening, and on Wednesdays and Fridays at half past seven in the evenings. On Lord's Day, at half past two p.m., Gospel sermons are preached on the North Wall (weather permitting). James TYSON, Conductor.

The Brethren meet in Mr. LOWDEN's School Room, New Town, every Sunday morning at half past ten, and in the evening at half past six o'clock. There is also a Scripture Reading Meeting on Tuesday evenings at half past seven.

The Disciples meet in the Forester's Room, Fox Lane, every Sunday morning at Half past Ten, and in the evening at six o'clock.

- The Marine School, High Street, was founded in 1817, by Matthew PIPER, Esq., a member of the Society of Friends, who endowed it with £2,000 Navy Five Per Cent. Annuities, vested in the hands if fifteen Trustees, for the education of sixty Poor Boys living in the town or neighbourhood of Whitehaven. Every boy, prior to being admitted, must be able to read the New Testament, and be above eight years of age. None are allowed to remain more than five years. The school was built by the late Earl of LONSDALE, on a piece of ground granted by his Lordship for the purpose, in 1818, and opened in 1822. Master: Mr. John CLARKE.

In 1861 Ragged Schools were established by the Rev. Chas. A. PERRING, in Peter Street, in which Night Schools, superintended by the Incumbent, are held for young men and boys, young women and girls. A Cottage Lecture is also delivered in the same schools weekly, and on Sundays they are thrown open as Sunday Schools.

The National Schools, situated in Hilton Terrace, Parish of St. James' , were built in the year 1824. They are supported by subscriptions made throughout the town, and conducted by a committee, the Rev. Chas. A. PERRING acting in the capacity of Secretary. Mr. DAVIS has been the Master of the Boys School for the last 33 years. Miss. NELSON is Mistress for the Girl's School. This Charitable Institute has been and is of great benefit to the town; a charge of One Penny only being made for each scholar weekly. The St. James' Sunday Schools are held in these National Schools.

The Refuge School, James Street, was built in 1852, and is supported by voluntary contributions. Superintendent: Mr. Thomas NICHOLSON.

St. Nicholas' National and Sunday School is in Scotch Street, and was erected in 1846. It is divided into two departments - one for Girls and the other for Infants. Mistress of the Girls' School: Miss. S. A.A. ALLAN. Mistress for the Infants School: Miss. M. TAYLOR.

Trinity National School is a neat stone building in Howgill Street and was erected in 1852. Master: Mr. John SPARKS. Mistress: Miss. J. HARRIS. St. Nicholas and Trinity National Schools are the only two schools in the town under Government Inspections.

The Infant School. Mount Pleasant, was built by subscription in 1863. Mistress: Miss. Mary GILL.

The Earl Of Lonsdale's Colliery Schools, Ginns, is for educating those children only whose parents are in his Lordship's employ. The instruction given is perfectly unsectarian, consisting of a sound English education, at a nominal charge of One Penny per week. Master: Mr. George GAY. Mistress: Mrs. GAY.

The Catholic School, Duke Street, is a building which was formerly a Catholic Chapel, erected about the year 1780, and dedicated in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Mistress: Miss. CAIN. Assistant Schoolmistress: Miss. REYNOLDS.

Besides the forgoing, there are also the following Classical and Commercial Schools: -

Mr. Isaac WALKER's, Plumbland Lane
Mr. Joseph STOCKDALE's, Senhouse Street
Mr. Wm. CAPE's, Queen Street
Mr. S. LOWDEN's New Town
Mr. W. WARDHAUGH's 6 Irish Street &c.

Also the following Educational Establishments for Young Ladies:
The Misses KITCHIN's Irish Street
Miss. C. LOWDEN's, Scotch Street
Miss. Martha TOMLINSON's Plumbland Lane
Miss. Sarah SIM's, Church Street
Miss. GILBERRY's 73 Duke Street
Miss. Jane FRAZER's Duke Street
Miss. PATMAN's, 46 Queen Street
Miss. KING's, Scotch Street
Miss. CONQUEST, Irish Street, &c., &c.
LITERARY INSTITUTIONS. - The Whitehaven Library is in Catherine Street, and was built by the late Earl of LONSDALE. Entrance fee, One Guinea (unless a ticket can be purchased for less from a retiring member) and an annual subscription of One Guinea.

THE SUBSCRIPTION NEWS ROOM is in the upper part of the Old Public Office, Lowther Street, and is well supplied with all the leading papers of the day. Annual Subscription, One Guinea.

THE MECHANIC'S INSTITUTION, established in 1844, is in Low Queen Street, and has a good library and news room. President: Mr. Jos. C. BROWN. Secretary: Mr. Wm. McGOWAN.

THE WORKING MEN'S READING ROOM AND LIBRARY is in Middle Church Street. President: Mr. Brown HARRISON. Secretary: Mr. John GIBSON. Corresponding Secretary: Mr. Jos. BONE. Treasurer: Mr. Thos. GILL.

THE COLLIERY READING ROOM AND LIBRARY, Ginns, - for the free use of Lord LONSDALE's employees only, open from 9 a.m. to 10 p. m.; on Saturdays, a hour later.

NEWSPAPER OFFICES. - The Cumberland Pacquet, price 3d. Unstamped, is published every Tuesday, by Robert FOSTER, at No. 26, King Street. It advocates Conservative and Tory principles, and is the oldest paper in the county, having been established in 1774.

THE WHITEHAVEN HERALD. , price 2 ½ d. unstamped, is published every (Friday evening for) Saturday, at No. 13 Lowther Street, by William SMITH, and is in favour of the Whig Party.

THE WHITEHAVEN TIMES is published every Thursday, at 40 New Street, by Robert BANKS, of Quality Corner.

THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS is published every Tuesday and Thursday, by Michael and William ALSOP, at 43 Roper Street. These last two are penny papers.

CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS. - The Whitehaven and West Cumberland Infirmary is a large stone building in Howgill Street, and is supported by public subscriptions. An additional wing was added to it some time ago, at the expense of the Baroness de STERNBERG, of Acrewalls. President: The Right Hon. Earl of LONSDALE. Treasurer: Peter CAMERON, Esq. Secretary: Mr. Wm. WILSON. House Surgeon: Mr. J. G. WHITHEAD. Surgeon Dentist: Mr. Richard DUNCAN. Matron: Mrs. HOLLIDAY. Chaplain: Rev. Canon DALTON.

PIPER'S MARINE SCHOOL. - The following particulars of this charity were taken from "An Appeal to the Public" in the Whitehaven Herald of April 30, 1864: -

One of the most active and beneficent charities in Whitehaven is the school in High Street, built by the late Earl of LONSDALE on a piece of ground granted by his Lordship for that purpose, and endowed with £2000, invested originally in the Navy 5 per cent. Bank Annuities, by the late Mr. Matthew PIPER, for education of 60 poor boys.

The ground, school-house, and stock, along with another investment of £1000 in the same stock for the provision and distribution of soup amongst the poor, were conveyed to Trustees, in whom the management of the school, subject to certain rules, was vested. The deeds prescribe that the school £2000 and the soup £1000 shall be invested in the names of four of the Trustees, and that when these should be reduced by death to two, the survivors should transfer the stock to themselves, and such to others of the Trustees, for the time being, as majority should appoint.

In 1858, by the decease of the late Mr. Thomas HARTLEY and Mr. Henry PERRY, the survivors in whose names the funds stood were Mr. George HARRISON and Mr. John THOMPSON. In that year, after the Trustees had got up the new soup kitchen and cottage erected - the subscription for which was so zealously promoted by the Soup Kitchen Ladies Committee - they resolved to fill up the two vacancies, in compliance with the provision of the deeds referred to; and at the same time they addressed themselves to clearing up the whole affairs of the Trust, which, by reason of the lapse of years, the decease of all the original Trustees except Mr. William MILLER, now the only survivor, and Chancery litigation with Mr. MITCHELL, the first school master, had fallen into some uncertainty. Mr. William RANDLESON and Mr. William SMITH were accordingly appointed a committee to make the necessary investigations; and after presenting their report they were re-appointed to get the property and the funds of the charity placed, through Mr. J. POSTLETHWAITE, the solicitor of the Trust, on a regular and secure footing. In effecting this they obtained every assistance from the present Earl of Lonsdale , through his solicitors, Messrs. LUMB and HOWSON. The property was re-conveyed to the Trustees for the time being; and the funds were invested in the names of Mr. HARRISON and Mr. THOMPSON, as before, and of Mr. John FORSTER and Mr. SMITH, nominated for the purpose in room of the late Messrs. HARTLEY and PERRY. A further investment, which a small legacy left to the school by the late Mrs. Elizabeth BENSON, of Sandwith, enabled the Trustees to make, stands in the names of Mr. FORSTER, Mr. SMITH, Mr. W. B. GIBSON, and Mr. T. C. DIXON. The Trustees at the present time, and in the order of their appointment, as far as the recollection of the moment serves us, are the following: - Messrs. W. MILLER, W. RANDLESON, J. THOMPSON, J. DAWSON, Joseph MILLER, G. W. HARTLEY, George PEILE, J. FORSTER, W. SMITH, G. W. BROWN, W. B. GIBSON, T. C. DIXON, and (appointed at last meeting), Dr. John THOMPSON.

Admission to the school is now eagerly sought, and numbers are on the books, approved of, but obliged to wait their turn, it may be for months, as vacancies occur. They must have attained a certain facility in reading before entry, and then they receive, for a limited term of years, if they choose to remain, and without paying a penny of school fees, a sound and useful education in reading, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, and navigation if desired. When it is remembered how many generations of lads have been turned out well educated for their class in society from Piper's School and how many of the number thus equipped have successfully acquitted themselves in the great battle of life, the good with such an institution effects, and sows broadcast over the community, may be conceived.

PIPER'S SOUP KITCHEN, Mill Street, for supplying goof nutritious soup to the needy poor during the Winter months. In the year 1817, Matthew PIPER, Esq., bequeathed the interest of £1000 for that purpose. It is under the management of a committee of Ladies, and supported by voluntary contributions.

THE SERVANTS' TRAINING INSTITUTION is at the Old Workhouse in Preston Quarter, St. Bees Road. Secretaries to the Institution: Mrs. W. MILLER, High Street, and Mrs. P. SHERWEN, Scotch Street. Treasurers: Mrs. W. PEILE, Corkickle, and Miss. BACON, Scotch Street. Matron: Mrs. COLLIER.

There are also several religious and charitable institutions in the town, which are supported by voluntary contributions, and conducted by Lady Committees.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &c. - The Town Hall is a neat stone building, situated in Duke Street, and is used for the meetings of the Trustees of the Town & the Harbour. It contains a large room, used occasionally for public assemblies, lectures &c., is the property of the Trustees.

THE COUNTY POLICE STATION AND LOCK-UP, is in Scotch Street, adjoining the Town Hall. Petty Sessions are held here every Monday and Thursday.

THE COUNTY COURT, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £50, is in Sandhills Lane, the Court Day being on the third Tuesday in every month. Judge: T. H. INGHAM, Esq. Clerk: Christopher HODGKIN, Esq. High Bailiff: Mr. James SMITH. Bailiffs: Mr. John NICHOLSON and Mr. Joseph THOMPSON.

THE COURT BARON (for the Manor of St. Bees), for the recovery of debts under 40s., is held in the Old Public Office, Lowther Street, on the first Friday in every month. Steward: Wm. LUMB, jun., Esq. Deputy Steward: Thomas HOWSON, Esq.

THE ODDFELLOW'S HALL, Lowther Street, erected in 1861, is a handsome stone building. Besides several apartments used as offices, it contains a spacious room, in which Public Meetings, Concerts, &c., are held. The under portion is occupied by the Post Office authorities and the Cleator and Egremont Railway Company.

THE TEMPERANCE HALL, Senhouse Street (the property of Mr. WALKER, of Sylecroft), is rented by the Temperance Society and the Rechabite Tents. It can seat about 700 people, is fitted up with tables, boiler, and every convenience for Tea Meetings, Lectures, &c. Terms for letting are, 10s per night for lectures, and 15s per night for Tea Parties, which includes Gas and attendance.

THE MASONIC HALL is situated in College Street, and is occupied by the Sun, Square, and Compass Lodge (119), and the Lewis Lodge (No. 872). Secretary: W, COWIE.

THE UNION WORKHOUSE, situated on St. Bees Road, is a new building of red stone. It was erected in 1856, at a cost of £8000, and will accommodate 410 people. Master: Mr. George KELLY. Matron: Mrs. Mary KELLY. - The Board of Guardians meet at the Old Public Office, Lowther Street.

THE CEMETERY ( a view of which, taken from below the Reservoir, is given on the opposite page) is pleasantly situated on St. Bees Road, about a quarter of a mile from the town. It stands on the hill side, and the grounds are laid out with great taste. There are two chapels; one for the Church of England and the other for Dissenters. Curator: Mr. Wm. EMMERSON.

THE THEATRE ROYAL is a plain stone structure in Roper Street, built in 1769. The interior is neat and compact, and at the usual prices is calculated to hold about £35. The taste for dramatic performances has been greatly on decline of late years, owing no doubt to the want of proper management, and the lack of talent "on the boards." The present Lessee and Manager, Mr. M. N. PAUMIER, through his spirited and liberal attempts to cater for the public for three successive seasons, by the production of all the "latest" in the Theatrical line, has at length succeeded in again drawing crowded audiences.

THE WHITEHAVEN PLAY GROUND, CRICKET FIELD, AND BOWLING GREEN is at the end of Howgill Street. The ground, which covers an area of about six acres, was given for the purpose by the late Earl of Lonsdale. Annual subscriptions: - 10s for each member, and 5s for each apprentice not resident in his master's house and for any person living above two miles from town. To be paid in advance on the First day of May each year. Keeper of the field: Mr. James JONES, Howgill Street.

There is also a Bowling green, attached to an old Public House, a little beyond Mount Pleasant, on the hill above Wellington Pit. The limits of this ground have been gradually curtailed by the quarrying of stone from the hill side, and recently by the construction of the Battery for the use of the Volunteer Artillery Corps.

The celebrated Dean SWIFT, when a boy, is said to have lived at this house, and received the rudiments of his education in this town, being brought over here, from Ireland, by his nurse, who was a native of Whitehaven.

Peile & Nicholson Directory Of Whitehaven, 1864.


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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