Lying just outside the boundary of the Lake District National Park, Cockermouth is an attractive market town not overwhelmed by the tourist atmosphere of Keswick and Ambleside. Cockermouth grew up at the junction of the two most important rivers in the area. Here the River Cocker, flowing out of the lakes Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater meets the River Derwent on its journey from Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake to the sea at Workington.
Today's visitors are attracted by the town's calm, its nearness to some of the more peaceful lakes and mountains, and the fact that Dorothy and William Wordsworth were born here. The large Georgian house in the Main Street where they were born is now in the care of the National Trust.
Another famous son of Cockermouth was Fletcher Christian, the man who led the mutiny on the Bounty. He was born about a mile from the town at Eaglesfield in 1764, and attended the same school as Wordsworth.
John Dalton, also born at Eaglesfield, in 1766, was one of the most brilliant scientists of his age and was the originator of atomic theory.
The town received its Market Charter in 1221 and has retained its importance as a market town ever since. Quarrying and mining for lead and iron were later development soutside the town, and a brewery has been built at the foot of the castle mound, where the two rivers meet.
The Cockermouth Fairtrade group was set up in February 2004. It was formed after a Keswick Fairtrade group member gave a talk to the Churches Together organisation. The group welcomes more support and would love to see people at our meetings. The group meets in The Swan, a local pub on Kirkgate, on Tuesday evenings. Contact Sara Brown (see below) for the dates of the next meeting.
Fairtrade Town Status Awarded
Campaigners promoting the sale of ethically-produced goods in Cumbria’s shops and cafés celebrated Cockermouth becoming a Fairtrade Town in October 2007.
Volunteers and activists from Cockermouth Fairtrade Group worked hard to raise the profile of Fairtrade products and their efforts paid off. Cockermouth is now one of 17 to gain the award in Cumbria.
“If any more cafés or firms want to join the campaign we can support them by offering information and details of wholesalers. It would also be great to see more schools coming on board to gain Fairtrade status within Cockermouth", comments campaigner, Sara Brown.
Sparkling Fairtrade wine tasting clebrates Trout re-opening
Sixty people enjoyed a most convivial evening on 11th August at an event marking the re-opening of the Trout Hotel following November's flooding in Cockermouth. Guests enjoyed tasting eight different Fairtrade wines including a sparkling rose, a chardonnay and a luscious Carmenere.
The event was introduced by local resident Lord Frank Judd. He compared the solidarity and community spirit shown by people in West Cumbria in recent months to the similar determination 'to get back on their own two feet' by people in Africa and South America who he witnessed recovering from disasters during his time with aid agencies, including Oxfam. He praised Tony Cunningham MP, who attended with his wife Anne, for consistent commitment to Third World issues.
The event was introduced by wine expert Andrew Truman. He described how Fairtrade producers are paid a premium which they use to fund a range of community projects from clean water to health and education. He delighted the wine tasters by explaining that quality Fairtrade wines from small scale producers were much less likely to leave drinkers with a headache in the morning! This is because of small scale and often organic production methods plus a lack of sulphate additives.
The event was organised by the Cockermouth Fairtrade Group who promote Fairtrade in the town. By buying Fairtrade you ensure that the producers receive a fair price for their product - more information is available at www.fairtrade.org.uk . All the wines tasted can be purchased locally. The Co-op gave very generous sponsorship towards the event, supplying five of the sample wines. Fairtrade wine was also supplied by The Trout Hotel and Sainsbury's.
Profits from the ticket sales will be shared between Fairtrade road signs at entrances to the town and the Cockermouth Flood Relief Fund. A raffle on the evening raised £78 which was donated, fittingly, to the Pakistan Flood Relief Fund. For information on the local Fairtrade Group, contact Sara Brown on 01900 822895.