Maryport History (click here for home page)

1881 Maryport – The Port Gazette

The 20th Century Approaches

Reprinted from The Port Gazette: Vol 2 no 3 December 1974

The population of Maryport had risen to 8,126 by the year 1881. During that year the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and SI. Patrick was enlarged by the addition of the Lady Chapel and aisle. The contract for the work was given to Mr. Beattie Towers, of Workington, and while the church. was being enlarged other alterations also were effected. The church was re-opened on February 5th, 1882.

That year also saw the suspension of work at the Haematite Iron Company, which had been founded in 1868.

Mrs. E. P. Senhouse. the Lady of the Manor, built the Church Rooms on a site near to St. Mary’s Parish Church and these were let for a nominal rent to be used for church purposes.

During 1882 and 1883 the British School, in North Street was built. The original school of this name was housed in premises in High Street from 1845 to 1883. The British School in North Street was demolished by German bombs in 1940.

Trade at the harbour and docks was booming. The revenue was:
1879 was £8.900; in
1881, £10.641 11s 11d; in
1883, £11,850 18s 4d.
The Elizabeth Dock, it was realised, was not able to cope with this rapidly increasing trade and so it was decided to build a larger dock on the south side of the river mouth. Mrs. Senhouse cut the first sod of the new dock on February 26th, 1880. The engineers were Sir John Hawkshaw, Son and Hayter, and the contractor was Mr. W. J. Doherty, of Dublin.

On May 22nd, 1884, the Senhouse Dock was opened by Mrs Senhouse. The first vessel to enter the dock was the SS “Alne Holme,” owned by Messrs. Hine Bros.

That the promoters were fully justified in the erection of this new dock is clear when we consider the large increase which took place in the revenue of the harbour since 1883. Thus –
1885 £12,269;
1886. £19,088;
1888. £24,000;
1897, £27,000:
1900, £34,600.

In showing the capacity of the dock it is worthy of record that in 1886 the two largest vessels leaving carried 3.793 and 3.802 tons respectively. whilst in 1898 the largest vessel leaving was 5.000 tons.

The first iron ship to be built and launched broadside in 188S by Messrs Ritson was the “Ellenbank.” She was of 1,426 tons nett register and full rigged. The rigging of the vessels built at Maryport was for many years carried out by a family named Monkhouse. Iron, and later steel ships were built by the Ritsons and the largest of these launched registered 2.100 tons.

All Souls’ Church, Netherton. was licensed by Dr. Harvey GoodwIn, Bishop of Carlisle, in 1886. The foundation stone hadbee n laid two years previously on September 10th. 1884.

In 1887 the Congregational Church in Lawson Street was built and 60 years later it was to become the headquarters of the Salvation Army. The Jubilee Infants’ School was opened during the same year.

It is interesting to note that the headmaster of the National School wrote in his log book on November 7th 1888 that eight children between the ages of six and eight were admitted to the school. They had never been to school before. On December 18th of the same year he recorded. “a boy aged eight years was admitted. He could neither read nor write.”

The first United Presbyterian Service in the town was conducted by the Rev M. Patterson on January 28th 1888. For many years previously there had been Presbyterian Churches in John Street and Crosby Street. Because of a depression in trade neither was self supporting so they decided to merge. The premises In John Street now belong to Messrs. Ferguson. joiners, and the Crosby Street Church has remained the home of the Presbyterian religion in the town.

During 1888 and 1889 the local fishermen found herrings in plentiful supply, some of the boats landing 30.000 herrings after a night’s fishing. Both crabs and oysters were also being caught in large numbers.

The “Peter Iredale.” a steel and iron four-masted barque of 2,075 tons gross was built and launched by Messrs Ritson in 1890. She was first commanded by Captain C A Brown. The following year the Ritsons launched the steel four-masted barque. The FuchencaIrn commanded by Captain W Nelson. She was a ship of 2,040 tons gross. It is interesting to compare these ships with William Wood’s first ship built here which was launched in 1765. a brig named the “Sally.” of 106 tons. This, the first shipbuilding yard in the town. was in Strand Street.

The Town Hall in Senhouse Street was built in 1890. In April of that year. the house which is now the Roman Catholic Priory, came into the market and on April 12th £50 was deposited towards the sum of £800 required to purchase it. The property then became part of the parish. The house was acquired against a good deal of competition. One project was to make a meat market of it with a bacon curing factory at the lower end. Another was to use the Crosby Street frontage for shops. It was also said that the Conservatives wanted it for a club and some of the Town’s Trustees would have liked it for ‘a fever hospital.

By 1891 the population of the town had risen to 12,526, so that In the 40 years between the census of 1851 and that of 1891 the population had increased by 6,828.

The Bishop of Barrow opened the Johnston Mission room on January 17th 1891 situated in Nelson Street: it is now the Nursery School.

A Miss Johnston gave £150 towards the cost of the building and on this account It was named after her. The remainder of the cost was raised by voluntary effort. The Mission Room was used in conjunction with Christ Church.

The Trinity Baptist Church, sited at the corner of Station Street and Curzon Street was completed in 1891, the opening service taking place on October 20th of the same year. Previously the Baptist Church had been in High Street. This is now the home of the Maryport Perseverence Lodge of Craft Freemasons.

Also in 1891 St Mary’s Church originally built in 1760, was rebuilt with the exception of the tower which underwent considerable alteration.

Meantime, during the 1890’s, a good deal of shipbuilding was carried out included amongst which was the four-masted barque “The Ladas.” which was launched in 1894. Strangely enough the winner of that year’s Derby was Lord Roseby’s horse Ladas a coincidence which many people thought augured well for the success of Messrs Ritson’s vessel.

She was 1,290 tons nett barque rigged and a very handy shapely vessel. She left Maryport on her maiden voyage for Newcastle, New South Wales, under Captain T Messenger with CaptaIn A Hodgson of North Street sailing in her as Able Seaman.