Monday, 16 September 2013

MARYPORT



In AD 122 the Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of the wall which came to be known as Hadrian's Wall, the western terminus of which was at Bowness-On-Solway (see 3 September).  As a complement to the wall, a series of forts were established on the coast of what is now Cumbria.  One of these was located in the vicinity of the present-day Maryport and was commanded by Marcus Maenius Agrippa, a personal friend of the Emperor.  The fort remained in use until 410AD, when it was abandoned as the soldiers were recalled to Rome.  After the Romans had gone it was the turn of the Vikings to settle in the area.  The Maryport of today was founded by the prominent local Senhouse family, the town being named after the wife of one of the Senhouses.  In the 18th century industries such as furnaces, forges and shipbuilding were established, then in the 19th century the railway arrived and the docks were built, largely for the purpose of exporting coal to Ireland.  Charles Dickens visited the town in 1857 with his travelling companion and fellow writer Wilkie Collins, and they stayed at the Golden Lion Hotel.  Another distinguished guest at the hotel was engineer George Stephenson, who stayed there during the planning of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway.  Maryport can claim a link to the Titanic, which it capitalised on with an exhibition last year: the founder of the White Star Line, Thomas Ismay, was born in the town.  There are a couple of museums showcasing the town's distant and more recent pasts: the Senhouse Roman Museum and the Maritime Museum.  Meanwhile, bringing things bang up to date, the new Wave Centre offers arts and entertainment plus conference facilities.  

Map of the area. 

File:View across the harbour, Maryport - geograph.org.uk - 1269593.jpg
Photo by John Lord, via Wikimedia Commons

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