I undertook a second site visit to Maryport on the weekend of the 15th October. While the rest of the Lake District was covered in a bright blue sky, Maryport was grey and overcast due to its coastal location. The visit uncovered a variety of old maps of the town, including early plans of the Georgian grid; also the extend of the mud in the port when the tide is out; and gave a better understanding of the topography.
It also highlighted a number of challenges that are involved in improving the town from lack of employment to lack of services.
Our urban design project this year focuses on three Cumbrian coastal towns - Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. We had to choose one town to study further and eventually produce a masterplan proposal for that town. I chose Maryport.
All three town were important ports for exporting coal, especially to Ireland. Iron and steel were important industries. Following the depletion of coal mines however, all of the towns saw a significant decline in their fortunes.
The most southernly of the three towns, Whitehaven is an attractive place with a large marina. Its proximity to Sellafield has provided many benefits, particularly a large place of employment.
Further up the coast is Workington. It has the only working port left out of the three towns, and is also the primary retail centre. There is huge scope for redevelopment on the undulating land between the town and the port.
The northern most town is Maryport. It is the small by population. I chose to examine this place for several reasons. One was because I was fascinated by its geography, including a meandering river, and steep hillside. Another was the harbour, which has a pleasant structure remaining from the coal exporting days. The lack of chain shops and bars is also a welcome addition. The town is also a fishing centre. I’m certain that there is much scope for architecture and urban design to assist in this town being regenerated and reinvented.