Workington Hall

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Workington Hall

Historic Pile

Workington Hall, sometimes called Curwen Hall, is a ruined building on the North-East outskirts of the town of Workington in Cumbria. It is a Grade I listed building. A peel tower was built on the site in 1362. The present house dates back to around 1404 and was built as a fortified tower house. In 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots wrote a letter from Workington Hall to Queen Elizabeth I of England.

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After the defeat of her forces at the Battle of Langside and disguised as an ordinary woman, Mary crossed the Solway Firth and landed at Workington. She spent her first night in England as an honoured guest at Workington Hall. On 18 May 1568, Mary was escorted to Carlisle Castle after spending a day at Cockermouth. She was 25 years old. Additions to the house were carried out by John Carr in the 1780’s and the gardens were laid out by Thomas White at around the same time.

In the early 19th century the lord of the manor at Workington Hall was John Christian Curwen, born John Christian, who inherited the hall from Eldred Curwen in 1790 and took the Curwen name. He was Member of Parliament for Carlisle from 1786 to 1812 and from 1816 to 1820, following this with a period as member for Cumberland from 1820 to 1828. Workington changed radically both economically and socially, during the period when John Christian was lord of the manor (1783–1828).

The hall was requisitioned by the War Office at the start of World War II and suffered a serious fire while the troops were billetted there. The family passed the hall over to Workington Borough Council after the War so it could be used as a Town Hall but conversion to this use never happened. After vandalisation the council reduced the building to a controlled ruin.

Workington Hall is currently closed to the public, the grounds of the Hall and surrounding Curwen Park are available for the public to visit. Allerdale Borough Council, along with partners from the Workington Heritage Group and Friends of Workington Hall Parklands have developed a steering group to move forward with plans to look at potential investment in Workington Hall. English Heritage are involved and are supporting Allerdale to develop a report following a conditions survey to understand what is required to make the Hall safe for public access to the areas directly surrounding the building.