Terry Fallows
email: terry@terryfallows.co.uk

Wigton Fairtade Town Directory

Local Information

Wigton is a small market town situated between the Caldbeck Fells and the Solway coast.

On the Wiza and Wampool becks (dialect word meaning "brook" or "stream" - from the Old Norse bekkr) Wigton is an ancient settlement and evolved from a pre-medieval street plan, which can still be traced today.

The Romans had a cavalry station, Maglona, known locally as "Old Carlisle", at Red Dial just to the south of the town with a large Vicus (civilian settlement) associated with it. Wigton was in existence by 1100AD when it became a Norman barony gaining its market charter in 1262. Although the town's layout is generally medieval, its architectural style is Georgian which remains largely intact.

In the middle of Wigton's market place is the George Moore Memorial Fountain built in 1872, of particular interest are the four bronzes around the fountain, the work of the pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. St. Mary's Church dates from 1788, but there was a church on this site from the 12th century. The appearance of the church owes much to the vision of Rev. John Ford (father of the broadcaster Anna Ford) in the 1950s when he had gravestones laid flat and the interior painted in the present colours. A novelty not to be missed is Highmoor Bell tower - built during the Industrial revolution and completed in 1887 - it played tunes three times daily.

Wigton today is a thriving market town, with livestock auctions being held regularly at Hopes Auction Company. The town has long been associated with the production of film cellulose: from the British New Wrap Co. Ltd. in the 1930s to Innovia Films today the major employer in Wigton.

Background to Fairtrade

The Wigton community has been supporting the campaign for fairer trading in poor overseas communities for many years. Wigton One World Group was launched on Saturday 12th July 2003 with the mission of “Raising awareness of issues relating to fairer trade” and an event including a demonstration of a Fairtrade chocolate cake recipe and drummers playing along to world music (the press cutting appealed for a bongo player!). The Group was chaired by Elaine Davidson, had the full support of all local churches and promoted a wide range of Fairtrade products in the Co-Op and Chrysalis Wholefoods. In 2005 the Group successfully lobbied Wigton Town Council to pass a resolution to use and promote Fairtrade products and to provide a representative on the Group.

Fairtrade Town status was achieved in November 2008 and the certificate was presented to the mayor, Brian Warren, by Joe Human of Cumbria Fair Trade Network at an event in the Market Hall during Fairtrade Fortnight 2009. Interestingly that event also included recipes using Fairtrade chocolate and the music this time was provided by Elaine Davidson, Hannah Reid and local school children. It was also the occasion when we participated in the world record banana eating event!

Today the group is called Wigton Fairtrade Group but is still chaired by Elaine and has a number of other members from its days as One World Group (Kathryn Rawson, Nigel Illger & Pat Ackred). The mayor, Brian Warren, represents the Town Council and Trish & Terry Fallows are Secretary/Treasurer. New members are also welcome.

In October 2009 the Group produced its first Fairtrade Directory for Wigton. The directory lists shops, cafes

Recent Events

In Fairtrade Fortnight the group held a Wigton’s Got Talent competition in the John Peel Theatre. The event included over 20 acts with advertisements for The Big Swap between the acts. These featured the Fairtrade Teapot, alias Trish Fallows!

Trish also did school assemblies at Wigton Infants School, Thomlinson Junior School and St. Cuthbert’s School in which she promoted Fairtrade tea and persuaded the children to swap from the 5 major brands (Ty-Phoo, Tetleys, Yorkshire Tea, PG Tips and Twynings).