Category Archives: industrial heritage

The African Steam Ship Company, and the story of a piece of china

The shore at Parton, just North of Whitehaven, is a good place to find tiny sherds of pottery and china. Many of the fragments are of ‘blue and white’, of which some are willow-pattern – lucky finds are glimpses of … Continue reading

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Haematite in Eskdale

On the first weekend in October the annual ‘Keswick’ Show and Sale of Herdwick sheep is held in Mitchell’s Livestock Mart in Cockermouth. Our tup ‘Bonzo’ had been accepted for official registration in the breed’s Stock Book: his appearance – … Continue reading

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Limestone: the Tata Shapfell kilns

This blogpost is part of my ‘limestone lockdown’ project. For an Introduction to the project, and a guide to the growing list of related posts, see Limestone in the Lake District: an Introduction – and the ‘categories’ list in the … Continue reading

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Limestone: quicklime, tubs and ghostly kilns

This blogpost is part of my ‘limestone lockdown’ project. For an Introduction to the project, and a guide to the growing list of related posts, see Limestone in the Lake District: an Introduction – and the ‘categories’ list in the … Continue reading

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Port Carlisle: canals and ships and trains

(September 2020: you can now also view two videos about Port Carlisle, made for the launch of my book The Fresh and the Salt. The Story of the Solway: links are on the website.) When the tide is out, Port … Continue reading

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The Solway viaduct

The Solway is as smooth as silk, the water slipping in around the embankment that points a stubby finger towards Scotland. We have reached the embankment’s distal end by stepping and teetering along the sloping wall of dressed red sandstone … Continue reading

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The Walls of Parton

‘Are you looking for the old port?’ The man seemed to have appeared from nowhere, yet he was tall and strongly built, white hair sticking up straight, not easy to overlook. ‘Port?’ I was bemused – I’d been poking at … Continue reading

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Sandstone, ‘smooth as walnut turned on a lathe’

“Fine sandstone is quite silky, you get a crisp image, the maximum sculptural effect. With sandstone there’s no reflection of light to distort what you see.” Sky Higgins, sculptor. “Red St Bees’ is a fine-grained stone, dull red in colour… … Continue reading

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Ship’s-keel scaur: but whose keel?

On a warm, calm evening in May, at a low Spring tide, Ronnie Porter led me along the shore at Allonby. As we walked, he showed me the various rocky scaurs and boulders, and he told me their names. Near … Continue reading

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Snippets 5: Angels, salt and shroud-pins

Pat Bull unlocked a peeling black door and showed me into a small brick-walled room. On the plain wooden table which almost filled the space were small polythene bags and boxes, labelled in black feltpen with numbers and letters. At … Continue reading

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