Ancient parish in Allerdale above Derwent ward, Cumberland. Northern part of parish was transferred to Workington MB 1934, when remainder was re-named Lowca CP.
2,360 acres [955 ha], of which parts which became Lowca CP contained 1,093 acres [442 ha]. Harrington and Lowca commons, totalling 534 acres [216 ha], were enclosed 1761.
estimated at 485 in 1688. Rose from 1,357 in 1801 to over 2,000 by 1851; almost doubled in late 19th/early 20th century, from 2,294 in 1871 to 4,371 in 1921 but had dropped slightly to 4,128 by 1931 (last census year before boundary changes).
manor of Harrington held of Workington by Harrington (or ‘Haverington’) family in 13th and 14th centuries. It descended by marriage to Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk (executed 1554) and in 1556/7 was granted by Crown to Henry Curwen of Workington; thereafter it descended with Workington.
coal mines in Harrington Park: value put at £100 per year in 1688, when there was also salt pan at Lowca. Coal mining expanded in later 18th century. Ships were using small haven at Harrington Beckfoot by early 18th century and trade increased after Henry Curwen built new quay there c.1760. Port was known as ‘Bella Port’ (probably in honour of Curwen’s daughter and heiress, Isabella). New town on grid of streets beside harbour appears to have been laid out by John Christian Curwen from 1780s (most of it was demolished 1966). Shipbuilding and associated industries (ropeyards and sailmaking) established by 1800. In 19th century Harrington was a port of some importance, exporting coal to Ireland and bringing in iron ore. In 1865 mines were taken over by Messrs Bain, Blair and Paterson of Harrington ironworks, who sank new pits from 1870s. By 1905 only one pit remained open; a further pit, sunk 1910-11, was worked until 1968. Port of Harrington closed 1928. Ironstone and fire-clay were mined at Harrington in later 18th century. Iron foundry established at Lowca by 1804; in 1840s it supplied engines for Maryport & Carlisle Railway; closed 1921. Arrival of railway 1843-5 encouraged further industrial expansion: blast furnaces built close to harbour 1857; demolished 1937. Harrington Brickworks established by mid-19th century; extensive brick works opened later at Micklam; closed 1976. Other industries included copperas works or ‘chemical works’ at Copperas Hill, built 1798; sold on bankruptcy of owner 1835; disused by 1860. Tanyard and brewery in village by mid-19th century. During Second World War ‘Magnesite’ works built on shore by Ministry of Aircraft Production 1940, to extract magnesium from seawater; closed 1953. Wind farm along coast at Lowca became operational 2000.
Places of worship:
medieval parish church (modern dedication to St Mary); rebuilt 1634; large eastern extension added 1807-8, producing profile which led to nickname ‘the snail church’. Present church dates from 1884-5; tower rebuilt 1905-7. Roman Catholic chapel built for Catholic school 1874; rebuilt as St Mary’s R C Church 1893. Presbyterian Church (now United Reformed Church) built 1881. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1828, with additional chapel in Gothic style in Victoria Square, built 1886 (closed; now Wesley House). Primitive Methodist chapel, Ellerbank, built 1891; still in use. Victoria Hall used by Salvation Army 1901 and by Plymouth Brethren 1938. Methodist chapel at Lowca built 1910; closed 2007 (converted to dwelling).
Schools and other institutions:
petty school recorded 1722; school near Hall Green Farm by late 18th century (graffiti from 1791). Board schools, Church Road, built 1875 and 1897; replaced 2005 by Beckstones Primary School on new site. Board school at Lowca; now Lowca Community Primary School. St Mary’s Catholic schools. Victoria Hall built 19th century; housed literary association and library in 1901; demolished 1960s. Victoria Orange Hall, Primrose Terrace, built 1897. Reading room at High Harrington, converted from smithy. High Harrington Community Centre opened after Second World War in former nissen hut.