Ancient parish in Allerdale above Derwent ward, Cumberland. Became Cleator Moor UD 1894, reverting to CP 1934, when name changed to Cleator Moor CP.
2,947 acres [1,193 ha], including c.400 acres [162 ha] of common land on Cleator Moor and c.1,200 acres [486 ha] on Dent Fell, enclosed 1825.
estimated at 330 in 1688; doubled from 362 in 1801 to over 763 by 1841; then surged across second half of 19th century as result of industrial development, attracting many immigrants from Ireland. New town of Cleator Moor laid out on former common from 1880s. By 1861 population stood at 3,995; it peaked at 10,420 in 1881. It then declined, to 8,120 by 1901 and to low point of 6,411 in 1951, after which it rose to 7,686 by 1971; in 2001 it stood at 6,939.
manor of Cleator thought to have been possession of St Bees Priory; tenants enfranchised before Dissolution.
iron smelting beside River Ehen from late 17th century: first blast furnace in Cumbria built at Cleator 1694; also steel and bar-iron works (closed 1799) and spade forge. Whitehaven Haematite Iron & Steel Co. established blast furnaces 1842. Major 19th-century iron ore (haematite) mines at Todholes, Crossfield, Crowgarth, Jacktrees and Montreal, most of which closed early 20th century. Coal mining began 1788; expansion in mid-19th century; most had closed by early 20th century. Limestone quarrying and lime-burning in 19th century. Flax mill established 1800; rebuilt 1859; became Kangol hat factory, established by Jacques Spreiregen 1938; closed 2009. Engineering works, Birks Road, founded 1870; in operation 1968. Brewery built 1873; closed 1977. Closure of heavy industries between World Wars led to establishment of industrial estates with some light manufacturing industry.
Places of worship:
medieval parish church of St Leonard; largely rebuilt 1841 and reconstructed 1900-03. Cleator Moor became separate ecclesiastical district 1869, served by new parish church of St John (consecrated 1872). Mission church at Wath Brow built 1881. Quaker meeting house at Crossfield built 1677; closed c.1746. Roman Catholic mission church of St Bega from 1853; present church (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart) consecrated 1872. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1862; destroyed by fire 1932; new church built 1934; still in use. Presbyterian church, built 1865; rebuilt 1893; closed. Primitive Methodist chapel built 1892; closed 1965. Other nonconformist chapels included Congregational chapel, built 1876 and United Methodist Free Church (by 1900).
Schools and other institutions:
British school established at Cleator flax mill c.1850; became council school 1910; since closed. Montreal CE Primary School, Cleator Moor, originated 1866 in grand building, abandoned because of subsidence 1946, when school moved to prefab buildings at Wath Brow; replaced by new building 1986. Seniors moved to Ehenside Secondary School, Cleator Moor, 1958; demolished 2008. Roman Catholic school at Cleator (founded 1853); closed on merging with St Patrick’s RC Primary School, Cleator Moor (founded 1873); still open. Town Hall, built 1877. Library at Cleator, recorded 1860. Public library at Cleator Moor, adjoining Town Hall, established 1894; forerunner of Carnegie Library, built 1906. Community hall (Jubilee Room), Church Street, Cleator, built 1899.