Upper Holker

Township in Cartmel parish, Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, including villages of Backbarrow and Low Wood and part of Cartmel village. Part of Upper Holker CP was separated to help create Haverthwaite CP 1927 and remainder was absorbed into Lower Allithwaite CP 1949.


7,140 acres [2,890 ha] before boundary changes. Commons enclosed under Cartmel enclosure award 1809.


ising from 835 in 1811 to 1,134 in 1851 but falling back to 850 by 1871 as result of closure of cotton mills. Stood at 825 in 1901. After creation of Haverthwaite CP population of remaining rural areas was 223 in 1931.


part of manor of Cartmel (see Lower Allithwaite).


farming; fishing (recorded in name Fish House); woodland industries (charcoal-burning; bark stripping; basket making). Part of Cartmel village, west of River Eea, including market place and race course, lay in Upper Holker township. Leven valley from Backbarrow to Low Wood saw concentration of industrial sites from 17th century, served from 1868 by Furness Railway (see Colton for sites on west side of valley). Iron forge at Burnbarrow, near Low Wood, 1603-20. Blast furnace built at Low Wood 1747; closed 1785; served by quay called Bigland Dock on River Leven. Paper mill at Backbarrow burned down 1782 and rebuilt as cotton mill by cotton spinners Birch, Robinson and Walmelsey. Rebuilt after fire 1856; closed 1867; rebuilt again as ultramarine (‘Dolly Blue’) works; closed 1982. Site now occupied by Whitewater Hotel and Lakeland Motor Museum. Second cotton mill (north mill) had become woollen mill by later 19th century. Gunpowder works at Low Wood, established by Daye Barker & Co. 1798; closed 1935. Hydro-electricity generation using weir at Backbarrow from c.2000.

Places of worship:


Schools and other institutions:

school at Brow Edge endowed by George Bigland 1685; rebuilt 1873; closed 1929. Cartmel Grammar School (see Lower Allithwaite) moved to new site north of race course 1790; extended 1862; closed 1960s; later used as hotel and care home.