Ulverston, Heritage First!

Heritage First!
History & Education for Furness and South Lakeland
(formerly Ulverston Heritage Centre)

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Historical Notes
    -   ULVERSTON -  the capital of Furness, is a neat and well-built market town and port. Dr. Whitaker says 'the oldest orthography of the name is Olvaston, or Ulvaston.  In the provincial dialect it is pronounced Ouston.  The houses, being roughcast or whitewashed, are covered with blue slate and have a clean and agreeable appearance. It contains several spacious streets , four of which branch off from the market place, which occupies a central position at their junction, and is ornamented with a pillar of cast iron, erected in 1822, crowned by a lamp, and a water pump, put up in August 1849.

The town is abundantly supplied with excellent water, and amongst the several springs which contribute to the supply, is the celebrated 'Lightburn' remarkable for its purity: and at Plumpton, a short distance from the town, is a small medicinal spring.

Ulverston is the mart for the agricultural and mineral productions of Furness, and has been always considered the key to the lakes.  Its manufactures consist chiefly of cotton checks, canvas, hats, candle wicks, axes, spades and sickles.  Here are also several tanneries, breweries, &c.  besides the various miscellaneous trades of a local character, common to most towns.

The market is held under a charter of Edward l, and is well supplied with grains and provisions, and has almost completely absorbed those of Dalton, Broughton, Hawkshead, and Cartmel.

The estuary of the Levens appears to have receded from Ulverston, which according to the law of the customs, is a creek, within the limits of the port of Lancaster.  A communication is however formed between the town and the bay of Morecambe, by means of a canal, one mile and a quarter in length, which was cut in 1795 under the direction of the late Mr. John Rennie.  This canal, which is said to be the shortest, broadest, and deepest in England, has given a powerful stimulus to the commerce of the place.  The number of vessels which entered inward, and cleared outward with cargoes, during the year ending January 1849, was 641 and their tonnage amounted to about 32,000 tons. But there are only 34 vessels belonging to Ulverston, whose aggregate registry is 2311 tons.

The principal articles of export are iron and copper ores, in large quantities; slates, hoops, basket rods, brooms, malt, butter, wool, &c. and the chief articles imported are timber, coals, raw cotton, &c.  Mr. West says "In 1774, there were 70 ships belonging to this place, chiefly employed in the coasting trade.  Coals were then imported, and sold at £1 5s 6d per chaldron."  The average quantity of iron ore at present shipped from Ulverston is about 40,000 tons.  The custom house is situate in Union Street.

Source:  History of Furness & Cartmel, Mannex & Co. 1851

               Sir John Barrow's Cottage  -  Opening Times  -  Sunday 12 September 2010  -  11.45am - 3.00pm

                        *New*                                  The 2011 Ulverston Calendar, funded by Awards For All,  is now available

Please email
ulverston heritage(@)hotmail.co.uk  for details   - (Don't forget to remove the brackets ( ) from the @ sign)


                            NEW BOOK

This fascinating collection of over 200 archive images explores the historic market town and port of Ulverston.

Situated on the Furness peninsula at the southernmost tip of the Lake District, Ulverston has a long and proud past, and has witnessed many changes. The original settlement had its roots in medieval times - Ulverston existed before the Norman Conquest and the Parish Church is dated 1111 - but the real expansion of the town occurred as Ulverston developed as an iron-ore port and with the opening of the Ulverston Canal in 1796. This book depicts the changing face of Ulverston over the last 150 years, describing the streets, shops, pubs, industries and the people who formed the heart of this strong community.

This new book can be purchased from Heritage First for £12.99 plus postage and packing.  
For details, please contact:  ulverston heritage(@)hotmail.co.uk

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