In the early nineteenth century
Silloth was a small settlement of four farms.
The population in both the 1841 and 1851 censuses was between 30 and 40.
By 1900 Silloth was Cumberland's leading seaside resort. The transformation of Silloth began with the formation of the Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway and Dock Company in 1853 which led to some rapid changes.
" Silloth is a railway station, port, and sea-bathing place, in the township and parish of Holme Low, in Holme Cultram, or Abbey Holme, from which it is 4 miles north-west, 21 from Carlisle, and 16 from Burgh ; it has a most salubrious climate, and is very pleasantly situated on the coast of Silloth Bay, and consisted, until 1857, of only a very few scattered houses ; but since the formation of the railway by the Carlisle and Silloth Bay railway and dock company, new houses have sprung up in all directions. In 1857 and 1858 above 100 were built. This line brings it into direct communication with Carlisle and all parts of the country. The same company in 1858, constructed a floating dock and harbour, and erected a wooden pier, which extends upwards of 1,000 feet into the sea, and made other alterations and improvements which, combined with the situation of the port are expected to command a large coasting and foreign trade…The Solway Hotel, near the railway station, is a commodious and well-conducted establishment, the proprietor of which has bathing machines on the beach for the accomodation of bathers. A steamer runs to Liverpool"
The Carlisle and Silloth Railway
and Dock Company issued a prospectus in 1856 seeking to raise money
and setting out its aims [Source B below]. The railway was begun in
1855 and opened in August 1856. The dock was begun a year later in 1857.
These developments encouraged other buildings and town planning schemes.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER :
Look at the list of 'Subscribers' keen to build a floating dock and harbour at Silloth. What kinds of people were they ? What did they see as the advantages of investing in a floating dock at Silloth ?
The idea that most people should
be able to spend time away on holiday is fairly new.
"August 28th 1856
There was a cheap trip from Carlisle to Silloth Bay. The line was opened…
the manufacturers and cotton spinners, tobacconists and what not were
…About 3,000 people came by steam…Silloth Bay is a very wild place in dry, windy weather, the sand blows very little short of the deserts of Arabia"
from the Silloth Gazette 4 August 1860
[Insert newspaper cutting]
Look at Sources E and F. What sort of people do you think would have been attracted to going on holiday to Silloth ?
How was the town trying to market itself ?
|By the 1930s Silloth
described itself as an 'all year round resort' attracting about
4,000 visitors each summer.
The frontcover of a guidebook from the 1930s summarised what the town had to offer.
|There was a bandstand, revue show, cinema, billiard halls, a golf course, bowling greens, tennis courts, a hydro and sulphur spa for swimming and a park for football,shows and circuses|
Towns like Silloth were most successful in the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Why do you think that fewer people have chosen to take holidays in coastal towns like Silloth and Morecambe in Lancashire since the 1960s ?
(List as many possible reasons as you can)