VIEW POINTS   |   LAKES   |   TARNS   |   RIVERS  |   WILDLIFE  |   .........HOME

Ulverston has been a delightful market town since AD 1280, but it is essentially a Georgian town. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and villages with many historical connections.

The Market Place has been the heart of the town for centuries, where sheep and cattle used to be traded alongside eggs, fish and vegetables and criminals were punished. The pharmacy was a private residence until around 1830, when shop windows were fitted. The arched building dates from 1736; the arches were open, enabling a covered market to be held. Laurel and Hardy look out on County Square and the bank built in 1902, in Jacobean style, for the Bank of Liverpool (hence the Liver bird relief on the wall). Gillam's Teashop is a Georgian building with a Dickensian feel - organic teas and splendid food. The John Barrow Monument stands above the town on Hoad Hill, seen here from the Bronze Age hill fort at Skelmore Heads.
This is one of many typical Georgian buildings on Soutergate, Fountain Street and King Street. It formerly housed the Ulverston Savings Bank, leading to its current name of the Chippy Bank. Upper Brook Street, on the left, was in Georgian times the commercial centre of Ulverston, with several lawyers offices and four pubs. An open brook flowed down the middle of the street.
The Savings Bank moved to Market Street in 1838. This fine building (Pevsner described it as Ulverston's best) was built in Italinate style using limestone from nearby Birkrigg Common. The clock tower was added in 1845. Unfortunately, the streets here were often ankle deep in red mud, as iron-ore carts passed through regularly en route to the Canal and the iron furnace at Newland - ladies complained they could not get to Church without getting their petticoats filthy.
Between 1880 and 1895 New Market Street was created as the latest in Victorian shopping malls, following new prosperity from iron ore mining. Many of the buildings are characteristic of the "Queen Anne" style that was popularised at the time by London archtects like Norman Shaw. Features of this style evident in the street are Dutch gables, red and white brick, and terracotta patterned tiles used as decoration.
The Buddhist's Temple at Conishead Priory was the latest addition to Ulverston's fine architecture in 1997. The Priory is steeped in history and well worth a visit - there's even a mysterious tunnel under the road if you want a scary experience.
Parts of the Parish Church are the oldest of any building in Ulverston. The porch is a splendid example of Norman architecture from AD1111. The tower was rebuilt in the 15th Century after it fell down in a tempest. The refurbished interior is modern in function while retaining its historical associations. The church is open most mornings.
The old mill stands beside the Town beck that now flows under the road. This building dates from around 1700 but a mill has stood here for centuries before that. The water wheel is still in place within the restaurant.
The Stage and Royal Mail coaches once thundered down Market Street, pulled by a team of four horses, intent on crossing the sands to Lancaster before the next tide. Travellers in the early 1800's, mostly seated outside and enduring everything the weather could throw at them, could not possibly have imagined the street being paved with setts, let alone the luxury of today's vehicles.
Since 1850 the iconic feature of Ulverston has been the tower erected above the town on Hoad Hill to commemorate the life of Sir John Barrow. As Britain's first permanent civil servant, he was responsible for getting a neglected Navy into shape to enable Nelson to win the Battle of Trafalgar. He founded the Royal Geographic Society and, over 30 years, organised numerous Government sponsored expeditions around the world. The last of these was the ill-fated and much documented Franklin Expedition to the Arctic, in which all 129 crew perished as a result of lead poisoning from the tin cans used to hold food supplies.
In 2010 Gill Barron painted a 102 foot wall mural in Bolton's Place. Colonel Bolton was a notorious merchant and slave trader; he won the last legal duel in Britain, killing an employee in the process. He was born at the Hare and Hounds pub, which used to occupy the site now taken by the Bodycare shop, on the walls of which this fascinating mural can be seen - it depicts aspects of Sir John Barrow's life.