Cleator Moor

Cleator Moor

Grid Ref : NY 020150

The Miner’ and ‘The Phoenix’ by Conrad Atkinson.

Cleator Moor town developed rapidly in the 19th Century, as the industrial revolution demanded more and more coal, limestone and high grade iron ore. Cleator Moor and all the villages around it – Frizington, Rowrah, Keekle, Bigrigg – were a maze of railways and mines which produced the materials for iron works in Cleator Moor and Workington. Early in the 20th Century supplies began to decline. Some of the materials mined in the area were exported from the port at Whitehaven.


In the Market Square are three sculptures by Conrad Atkinson, an artist of international repute who was born in Cleator Moor in 1940. They are a memorial to the once thriving mining industry. The three sculptures represent the Miner, the Phoenix and the Hand.


A hundred yards or so from the Market Square, in the Whitehaven direction, beside the Phoenix Bridge, is a car park by theold railway line from Whitehaven to Ennerdale, which is now a tarmaced cycleway and footpath.


The Phoenix Bridge over the Cycleway

This is part of the West Cumbria Cycle Network, and also forms part of the Sustrans C2C Cycle Route, from Whitehaven to Sunderland.


The cycleway follows the route of the old Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont and Rowrah and Kelton Fell Railways, which were built in the 1850’s to carry the coal and iron ore from the mines and quarries that were once very active in this area.


By the early 1900’s much of the ore had been worked out, and the coal was becoming too expensive to mine. The Rowrah and Kelton Fell line closed in 1933. The Rowrah to Whitehaven section struggled on for a few more years before finally closing in 1978.


At the entrance points to the track are metal sculptures designed by the children from local primary schools.


Examples of various minerals mined in Cleator Moor and other nearby mines may be seen at the Natural History Museum in London.


Looking towards Ennerdale. Market square left centre.

Outside the library on the Market Square is a blue plaque reminding us that the artist L.S. Lowry often stayed in Cleator Moor. He painted several pictures of buildings, including the Cowles fish and chip shop opposite the library, the former Westminster Bank, and the Wath Brow Church.


Westminster Bank
The Market Square
Cowles Fish and Chip Shop


The War Memorial sculpture by Colin Telfer in Cleator Moor Square shows a nurse tending a wounded soldier, and is dedicated to those whose lives were sacrificed in all conflicts.

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