One The Fifty One Gem Towns

By: Douglas Scott

Whitehaven is a town and port on the Cumbrian coast in northern England. It is located on the west coast of the county, out side the Lake District National Park. The town has grew to become the third most important port in England.

It used to trade with Europe, Scandinavia and the Americas brought tobacco, sugar cane and rum to the town, which in turn sent off coal and steel.

The major industry is the nearby Sellafield nuclear power complex. The Whitehaven mines were the first to extend under the sea. The last pit to operate, which was called Haig, was closed in 1986.

Tourism is now a major industry in the town. Recently the harbour has been re-developed and it is now home to one of the best marinas in the country.
Whitehaven has over 250 Georgian, Listed Buildings.

Every two years it the town hosts the international maritime festival. The Festival is organised by the Whitehaven Maritime Festival Company Ltd which was founded in 1998.

The Market in Whitehaven has been a thriving market for many years offering everything from cuts of meat, clothes, tools and fashions.

The town its self has a rather tame nightlife.

Today it retains the charm that led to its inclusion as one of the fifty one gem towns selected in 1965. Whitehaven was recently named Best Town Centre in the UK.

The development of the harbour in Whitehaven started with the beginning of the Irish coal trade. The final phase was the Queens Dock, built between 1872 and 1876. In 1998 Whitehaven was awarded a large lottery grant for regeneration of the harbour area for the millennium. It is now host to many visits from Tall Ships.

Near the harbour is the famous starting point for the annual summer sea cycle route. It is the point of the popular 140 mile long C2C cycle route.

The Beacon Whitehaven Museum is situated on Whitehavens striking harbour side, the recently refurbished Beacon is home to Copelands treasured museum collection. Journey through the areas rich heritage from pre-history to the 1990s with items from the museum collection. The Met Office Weather Gallery on the third floor offers stunning views of the town and coast.

The Market Hall, in Whitehaven was erected in 1880, to a design by Thomas Lewis Banks.The Market Hall is currently use is as a Tourist Information Centre down stairs, and a cafe upstairs

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