The place, Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast. The date March 2009.
I have a great liking for this stretch of the UK’s coastline. It’s a journey I’ve made by the coastline hugging rail route quite a few times. From the southern busy-ness of Barrow and it’s shipyards, up past Ravenglass with it’s Roman Fort and miniature railway. Then along the open stretches from Seascale, past Nethertown and its reclaimed houses on the beach before passing St. Bees, ducking past the headland to arrive at Workington. Often I’ve done the whole route. Past Workington and Maryport before the train turns further inland to reach the border city of Carlisle.
On this particular day I broke the train journey at Whitehaven. For a few hours wandering before I carried on to Working to catch a bus across the Lake District through Keswick and finally onto Penrith for a return train home. If I’m going out for a day, I do like to make the most of it.
Whitehaven has the settled geometry of a planned town and a lot of the Georgian architecture dating from the town’s expansion under succeeding members of the Lowther family are still standing. The opening of mines and the enlarging of the towns harbour added to the prosperity of the area.
The town still huddles down around its Harbour and this is where I passed these figures. They celebrate the maritime past of the area and the day the American Rebels came. During the War of Independence the American commander John Paul Jones attacked the town to tweak the nose of the British lion. The defensive guns on the harbour were spiked before the Rebels left on sighting and approaching British fleet. Both Whitehaven and the US Navy have shook hands since and agreed to let bygones be bygones.