Ulverston

Street Map

Ulverston is a market town and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria in north-west England. Historically part of Lancashire, the town is located in the Furness area, close to the Lake District, and just north of Morecambe Bay and neighboured by Swarthmoor, Pennington and Rosside. It is also close to the Lake District National Park.

Ulverston’s most visible landmark is Hoad Monument, a concrete structure built in 1850 to commemorate statesman and local resident Sir John Barrow. The monument provides scenic views of the surrounding areas, including Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.

Ulverston Canal, which is no longer navigable, is claimed to be the deepest, widest and shortest canal in the United Kingdom at 1¼ miles. The canal was once a vital component of the town’s economy.

The town is home to many shops and pubs, some of which are located on the stone sett (paving) main street, Market Street. At the head of the street is the war memorial to local soldiers who died in World War I.

Ulverston is a comparatively large civil parish. It is bounded in the east by the Leven estuary, Crake, Coniston Water, and Yewdale Beck. To the west the boundary follows a chain of hills, and beyond that lie the towns of Kirkby-in-Furness and Askam and Ireleth. To the south is relatively low land, but it rises quickly. In the north are hills such as Coniston Old Man. The settlements of the parish are mainly concentrated in the eastern part.

The name Ulverston, first recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as Ulurestun, is derived from two elements: the first is either the Old Norse personal name Úlfarr, or the Old English Wulfhere; the second element is the Old English tūn, meaning “farmstead” or “village”. The personal names Úlfarr and Wulfhere both translate roughly as “wolf warrior” or “wolf army”, which explains the presence of a wolf on the town’s coat of arms. The loss of the ‘W’ in Wulfhere can be attributed to the historic Scandinavian influence in the region. Locally, the town has traditionally been known as Oostan. Other variations of the name recorded throughout history include Oluestonam (1127), and Uluereston (1189).

The town’s market charter was granted in 1280 by Edward I. This was for a market every Thursday; modern Ulverston keeps its old market town appearance, and market days are now held on both Thursdays and Saturdays. The charter also allowed for all public houses to open from 10:30 am until 11:00 pm irrespective of any other statute on the books. During the summer months the Saturday market day is themed with craft stalls, charity stalls and locally produced wares on “Made in Cumbria” stalls.

Historically, the ancient parish included several other chapelries or townships which later became separate civil parishes: Blawith, Church Coniston, Egton with Newland, Lowick, Mansriggs, Osmotherley, Subberthwaite and Torver. From 1894 to 1974 the town constituted an urban district in the administrative county of Lancashire. It became a successor parish in the Cumbria district of South Lakeland under the Local Government Act 1972.

Sir John Barrow, born at Dragley Beck, Ulverston, was the Admiralty’s Second Secretary: a much more important position than First Secretary. A monument to him—a replica of the third Eddystone Lighthouse—stands on Hoad Hill overlooking the town. Comedian Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy fame, is another famous Ulverstonian. The Laurel & Hardy Museum is situated in Ulverston, and in 2009 a statue of the duo was unveiled by comedian Ken Dodd, outside Coronation Hall in the town centre.

Ulverston railway station, which serves the town, is located on the Furness Line from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster, ultimately leading on to Manchester Airport. The railway station is a short walk from the town centre.

Ulverston is twinned with the town of Albert in France. The two towns regularly meet to play football at Easter with the Cyril Barker Shield being contested every year. The match’s location is alternated between Ulverston and Albert.

Ulverston calls itself a ‘Festival Town’ in reference to the many and varied festivals which take place in Ulverston over the course of the year. The most renowned of these is the Lantern Procession, which involves hundreds of local residents creating lanterns out of willow and tissue paper and parading them through the town in winding rivers of light. The annual event culminates in a lively display of theatrical performance and fireworks in Ford Park, and was organised by the community themselves for the first time in 2007.

Other popular festivals include:

  • Flag Festival
  • Dickensian Festival
  • Beer Festival
  • Charter Festival
  • International Music Festival
  • Furness Tradition
  • Comedy Festival
  • Word Market—including ‘Pub Scripts’
  • Walking Festival
  • Spring Buddhist Festival
  • Print Fest
  • Summer Buddhist Festival
  • Ulverston Carnival Parade
  • Furness Festival of Tradition
  • Summer Music Festival
  • Festival of Fashion
  • The Feast of St George
  • Breastfeeding Festival

No reviews yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.