Whitehaven is a town and port on the coast of Cumbria, England. Historically a part of Cumberland, it lies equidistant between Cumbria's two largest settlements, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, and is served by the Cumbrian Coast Line and the A595 road. It is the administrative centre of the Borough of Copeland and an unparished area. The population of the town was 23,986 at the 2011 Census.[1]

In 1983, a major fault was encountered at Haig – with this, the future of the pit was in doubt. This, combined with the political situation, and the miners' strike in 1984–85, contributed to problems at the colliery. The workforce attempted to open a new face, but a decision had been taken to close, and after two years of recovery work, Haig finally ceased mining on 31 March 1986. Today there is no mining carried out in Whitehaven.

The harbour was once riddled with railway lines, when steam engines would shunt trucks full of coal, iron, gypsum and many other cargoes onto the quays for ships to take elsewhere in the world.

Whitehaven has also played host to a Maritime festival, which started in 1999 and was held every two years, and now annually, the last being in 2013, attracting an estimated 350,000 people to the small town.[26]

Cleator Moor Celtic, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace F. C. and Ipswich Town footballer Charlie Woods was born in Whitehaven 18 March 1941. Woods became a football coach and scout working alongside England Football Manager Bobby Robson throughout most of Robson's career with Ipswich, Newcastle and England.[22][23]

Looking down Wastwater towards Yewbarrow on the left, Great Gable and Scafell on the right. Picture: Mike McKenzie

The term "jam eater" is often used to refer to people from Whitehaven, or more generally to people from West Cumbria. When the Financial Times ran a lighthearted article on famous feuds in September 2008, featuring this, the local Whitehaven News published its own complementary feature,[24] reporting that: "The common view is that the term is insulting because it implies people could not afford to buy meat for their sandwiches, so they had to eat jam instead."

The subject was also discussed by Mark Steel in November 2012 as part of the fourth series of Mark Steel's in Town.

Located on the west coast of the county, outside the Lake District National Park, Whitehaven includes a number of former villages, estates and suburbs, such as Mirehouse, Woodhouse, Kells and Hensingham.

The 2005 festival also marked the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in which Whitehaven had been designated Cumbria's Official commemoration celebration. Up to 1,000 veterans and ex-service personnel took part in the parade from the town's Castle Park to the harbour side, led by members of three military bands. Services were held on the harbour side and aircraft from the Royal Air Force provided a tribute display above the harbour.

The town has links to many notable people: Jonathan Swift, who claimed that an over-fond nurse kidnapped him and brought him to Whitehaven for three years in his infancy; Mildred Gale, grandmother of George Washington; and William Wordsworth, who often came into town to visit his family.

The Lowthers' technological advances continued when their chief steward, Carlisle Spedding sunk Saltom Pit in 1729. Saltom Pit was the second[18] pit to be sunk beneath the sea. At Saltom Pit, Carlisle Spedding pioneered the use of explosives in sinking shafts. He also invented the first form of 'Safety Lamp', it was called the Spedding Wheel or Steel Mill. On occasions the Spedding Wheel caused explosions or fires but it was a major improvement over the naked flame.

Although there was a Roman fort at Parton, around 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the north, there is no evidence of a Roman settlement on the site of the present town of Whitehaven.

An example of the Lowthers' interest in technology could be seen at Stone Pitt when one of the world's earliest steam engines, Engine No. 5 built by Thomas Newcomen and John Calley in 1715[citation needed] was installed, to help in drainage and haulage. William Brownrigg, Whitehaven's most eminent scientist, was the first to investigate the explosive mine gas fire damp.[17]

Emma Fisher with friends and family at the charity fundraiser at Gosforth School in aid of Breast Cancer Care.

Former Whitehaven man Luke Yates has been the events manager for two musicians' retreats in France. He now has his sights firmly on moving stateside

Saltom Pit was constructed around 20 ft above sea level, on land below the cliffs near to Haig Colliery. The pit workings went down to a depth of 456 ft (138m). Saltom Pit ceased working coal in 1848, but today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SM 27801)[19] and is the best known surviving example of an 18th-century colliery layout. Evidence of the shaft, horse gin, stable, winding engine house, boiler house and chimney, cottages, cartroads and retaining walls, all survives in situ.

On 20 July 2006, Broadcasting Minister Shaun Woodward and Industry Minister Margaret Hodge announced that Whitehaven would be the pilot site for the switchover to digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom.[27] The selection of a pilot site followed on from trial switchovers held in Ferryside and Bolton.[27]

The controversy was featured in the television series John Bishop's Britain in September 2011.[25]

Illustrator Millie Marotta joins the Marine Conservation Society for marine life campaign

On 2 June 2010, Whitehaven became a focus in the international media in relation to gun laws in the United Kingdom, following a killing spree targeting people living in the western area of the county. After killing his twin brother in Lamplugh, and his family solicitor in Frizington, taxi driver Derrick Bird began the spree in Whitehaven, shooting several people on the streets and at the taxi rank where he worked, killing one.

Whitehaven grew into a major coal mining town during the 18th and 19th centuries and also became a substantial commercial port on the back of this trade. Daniel Defoe visited Whitehaven in the 1720s and wrote:

Aston Villa and England footballer Jackie Sewell was born in Kells, Whitehaven on 24 January 1927.

Whitehaven has a rich railway history. It used to be a terminus of the Furness Railway, and still has two railway stations, Whitehaven (Bransty) and Corkickle, both on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which runs from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness.

The main towns neighbouring Whitehaven are Workington and Maryport to the north, Cleator Moor to the east and Egremont to the south. Villages close by which are not suburbs include St Bees and Beckermet to the south and Distington to the north.

The railway reached Whitehaven in 1847 – steam powered engines finally reached the town following an agreement between the Earl of Lonsdale and George Stephenson. Stephenson was the engineer placed in charge of the construction of the new railway line. The railway became known as the Whitehaven Junction Railway. Even before this line was built, the nearby Lowca engineering works began to produce locomotives. Over the life of the works, some 260 were produced – mainly for industrial lines.

Sir John specified that the houses were "to be three storeys high, not less than 28 feet from the street level to the square of the side walls, the windows of the first and second storeys to be transomed and the same, together with the doors to be of hewn stone." Ample provision was made for gardens.[11]

TAKE A STROLL! Take a guided walk around the town .....

Whitehaven plays host to a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, with the highlight being the Whitehaven Festival which takes place every June.

Discover all about Whitehaven's fascinating maritime heritage at its numerous attractions that are sure to keep the whole family entertained.


However, after the Acts of Union 1707 with Scotland the port of Glasgow began to take over Whitehaven's tobacco trade. By the second half of the 18th century there was a marked decline in shipping tobacco via Whitehaven and led subsequently to the creation of Glasgow's Tobacco Lords. By 1820 the Customs Collector did not mention tobacco in his report on Whitehaven.[6]

Attractions included tall ships, air displays which include the Red Arrows and various modern and old planes, street entertainment and firework displays. At the 2003, 2005 and 2007 festivals the local Sea Cadets were very much in evidence, conducting the traditional Evening Colours ceremony each evening aboard one of the visiting tall ships, and also taking part in the festival's official closing ceremony during the late Sunday afternoon each year.

The 2011 festival (featuring Razorlight plus several 1980s acts including Madness) continued the successful culinary theme, with the return of Jean-Christophe Novelli and other favourites. In 2012 the date of the festival was changed to the first weekend in June, to make it part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration (with a red, white and blue themed firework display).

West Bromwich Albion and England goalkeeper Scott Carson was also born in Whitehaven. He played for Cleator Moor Celtic.

Take your pick of our hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation and stay a while longer in Whitehaven...

John Paul Jones led a naval raid upon the town in 1778 during the American War of Independence; it was the last invasion of England by some definitions.

Whitehaven was during the 19th century overtaken by Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow. It lacked the transport network that had been created by the canals in the 18th century and also any hinterland industry, once cheaper coal was available from other areas, to justify ships plying their trade to Whitehaven.

The harbour town of Whitehaven was once one of Britain’s biggest ports, second only to London. It now offers a 1.8-mile long walk, perfect for exploring the town’s rich history, which starts at the Whiting Shoal sculpture on the Millennium Promenade and leads around the Old Quay overlooking the magnificent Solway Firth.

by Tetiana Scott, a previous artist of the month at Lowes Court Gallery.

The maritime port of Whitehaven in the Western Lake District was once the third largest in the UK with trade links all over the world. The wealth of Georgian architecture led to Whitehaven being listed as a ‘gem town' and voted one of the top 10 seaside resorts in the UK.