Whitehaven Harbour and Marina
The 17th century, historical, substantially built Harbour, offers a quality, fully serviced Marina. It was opened in 1997 and awarded Blue Flag status in 2003. With near 24-hour access, Whitehaven Marina is set to become the North West of England's premier cruising harbour of the 21st century.
is uniquely situated at the South Western entrance to the Solway Firth
and is ideally placed geographically to offer boat owners a superb departure
point for the Isle of Man, Ireland, Southern Scotland, Clyde and Hebridean
cruising or even a departure point for transatlantic cruising.
Whitehaven has a wealth of Georgian architecture and was one of the first post-medieval planned towns. It has a number of high quality visitor attractions such as The Rum Story, The Beacon and Haig Colliery Mining Museum. Whitehaven also hosts regular Maritime Festivals, which attracts over 200,000 visitors, having commenced in 1999.
sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay with us be it long term or just
a short stay. We are here to help you in any way we can, so please fell
free to contact any member of staff should you have a problem or query.·
The first quay to be built was the Old Quay in 1633. This was for the
export of salt & coal.
A Pier Master, forerunner to the Harbour Master was first employed in
1709 as the port became busier. The Pier Masters House was built in 1764
to accommodate him close to the port.
· Railway locomotives were a common site on the harbour side by the late 19th century. They were first introduced in 1848, the last locomotive being disposed of in 1986.
· By 1860 over 400 wagons per day were using the Sugar Tongue to load and off load produce.
· By late 19th century almost all of the Harbour had a rail network, even to the tip of the West Pier. The coal chutes or hurries, in the Harbour Walls can still be seen in the North Harbour.
· The steam locomotives were housed on the West Wall near to the Queens Dock gates. The steel shed still stands today. It is not known what will happen to the shed as redevelopment on the Bulwark Quay is to be undertaken in the near future.
· In 1876 the Queens Dock was built. This was a wet dock with one set of dock gates to hold the water in as the tide ebbed. The original wooden gates were replaced with steel gates in 1938. These gates can still be seen today. In 1999 trespassers accessing the electric motors inadvertently activated these old gates and they actually closed after all this time. Thankfully the Harbour staff were able to open them again and this time they were completely de-commissioned.
In 1900, 72,000 tons of silt was dredged from the outer harbour. The cranes
that used to tower over the Queens Dock were a much later addition to
the harbour. They were erected in 1976 for the handling of phosphate rock.
This trade has since terminated and the cranes have now been dismantled.
The notes above only skim the surface of a fascinating history between Town & Harbour. All the subjects can be explored too much greater detail in and around the town and certain aspects are always being discovered. Such a case recently occurred during the recent works to improve the harbour surfaces. Whilst digging near to the north east corner of the Harbour with a JCB, the ground opened up to reveal a perfectly cut sandstone tunnel / culvert big enough to stand in leading from deep in Queens Dock up under the town. It is blocked at the eastern end and had remained undiscovered and forgotten.
Who knows what lies in store for Whitehaven Harbour? With a colourful 400-year-old history. The recent improvements to the fishing industry, harbour infrastructure and continuing developments are sure to become yet another chapter in its long & majestic life.
in an other 400 years some future Harbour Master will be writing about
these times with as much enthusiasm as I am here.
The late Neil Foskett
- former Harbour Master
Whitehaven.org.uk home page -