Cumbrian Coast
Industrial Past 

Mention Cumbria and images of beautiful landscapes, picturesque villages and cosy tearooms in the Lake District spring to mind. But around 90% of the half a million inhabitants of Cumbria live in the industrial belt between the Lakes and the coast.  

This area is rich in Iron ore and coal, and during the 19th and 20th centuries industrial towns such as Barrow-in-Furness, Whitehaven, Workington, Maryport, and Carlisle prospered. Railways were built and many towns had active ports which also supported local fishing fleets. Other industries such as shipbuilding, mills and chemical works grew up alongside.

Sadly many of these industries have now been lost. The steel works in Barrow closed in 1984, soon followed by the closure of the last deep coal mine in Whitehaven in 1986. 

West Cumbria became an unemployment blackspot, and with little chance of employment, skilled labour left the area in search of jobs elsewhere.

However employment opportunities have improved a little since those bleak times. Sellafield currently employs around ten thousand people in the nuclear industry, and BAE employs a similar number in the Barrow shipyards where the replacement nuclear submarines are being built.




Sellafield​ and Ponsonby


St Bees



Parton and Harrington


Flimby and Siddick





February 2018