Workington at Work
People and Industries Through the Years
Series: At Work
- Derek Woodruff
15th October 2017
Workington has long been a producer of coal and steel. The huge Cumbrian iron ore field lies to the south of the town and with the local coalfield providing energy for steel production, the world’s first large-scale steelworks was opened in the Moss Bay area of the town. The Moss Bay Steelworks closed in 1982, followed by the closure of the last local coal mine in 1986. After the loss of the two industries on which Workington was built – coal and steel – Workington and the whole of West Cumbria became an unemployment blackspot. Today, many of Workington’s residents are employed outside the town in the nuclear industry, located in and around Sellafield, West Cumbria’s dominant employment sector.
Workington at Work explores the life of this West Cumbrian town and its people, from pre-industrial beginnings through to the present day. In a fascinating series of contemporary photographs and illustrations, it looks at the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the population and the consequences of rapid urbanisation, the changes in the industrial landscape during the Victorian era, and the impact of war and the post-war decline of its heavy industries. It takes us through the years of depression and decay to twenty-first-century regeneration and projects such as the £50-million Washington Square shopping centre and mixed use complex, named as the ‘best commercial project’ in north-west England.