Cleator Moor

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Cleator Moor
Cleator Moor Main road Junction. - - 89918.jpg
Cleator Moor Main Road
Grid reference: NY021150
Location: 54°31’16"N, 3°30’43"W
Population: 6,939  (2001)
Post town: Cleator Moor
Postcode: CA25
Dialling code: 01946
Local Government
Council: Copeland

Cleator Moor is a small town in Cumberland. The town's skyline is dominated by Dent Fell and the town is located on the 190-mile Coast to Coast Walk that spans the land from St Bees Head, Cumberland, in the west to Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, in the east. On the outskirts of the town of Cleator Moor lies the village of Cleator with which the town is closely associated.


The town was long based around the iron works industry and was served in this capacity by two railways. The Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway (WC&ER) was the first railway on the scene and it opened for goods traffic in 1855, then two years later it opened for passenger traffic. The WC&ER sold out to the London and North Western Railway in 1878 but when the Furness Railway objected to the sale it too became a partner, thus forming the Furness & London and North Western Joint Railway the following year. The second railway to serve Cleator Moor was the Cleator & Workington Junction Railway. This new company had a station on the western edge of the town and its double track main line made a junction with the former company at Cleator Moor West Junction.

The town had several iron ore mines and excessive mining caused subsidence. Some parts of the town have been demolished due to undermining in the area, most notably the original Montreal Primary School and the whole of Montreal Street on which it stood. The Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway suffered from subsidence and it was forced into building a deviation branch line and located on the line was a passenger station and a goods shed. The original line was retained to serve a local iron ore mine.

The influx of Irish workers gave the town the nickname Little Ireland. The coming of the Irish is shafowed though with tales of "Black Mick of Cleator Moor", who is said to have lured men here from his native Ireland and taken them into slave conditions. The First World War and Second World War saw a fresh influx of immigrants from mainland Europe join the settled Irish community. This has since caused occasional conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestant residents of the town.

Sectarian troubles

Following the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s and the rise of the Orange Order, Cleator Moor found itself for a short period at the centre of sectarian troubles. In April 1871 several hundred Cleator Moor miners entered neighbouring Whitehaven and attacked "Anti-Popery" campaigner William Murphy, pushing him down the stairs of the Oddfellows Hall. The following year Murphy died as a result of his injuries. On 12 July 1884 the combined Orange Lodges of Cumberland, marched through the town of Cleator Moor to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, leading to riots and the death of local postal messenger Henry Tumelty, a 17-year-old Roman Catholic, with others listed as having received injuries from bullets, cutlasses and pikes. Local Roman Catholics later took reprisal on members of the Orange Order living in the town.

Twentieth century

In 1938, Jakob Spreiregen founded the company Kangol in Cleator, situated across the road from St Mary's Church. The original factory building still stands but Kangol is now empty, after the company ended its association with the town in 2009.

With the decline of traditional industries and the resulting high rate of unemployment, the town's economy is now dependent on the nearby Sellafield complex, which provides jobs to around half the town's people.


  • Church of England:
    • St John the Evangelist
    • Mission Church, Wath Brow
  • Methodist: Cleator Moor Methodist Church
  • Roman Catholic: St Mary's

St John's dates from the industrial foundation opf the town. It was built in the "Anglo-Norman" style by George Ferguson and was consecrated on 25 June 1872. The tower is 68 feet high and contains the heaviest set of bells in the Diocese of Carlisle.

The Roman Catholic Church, St Mary's, was designed by E W Pugin and opened in 1872. The church does not wear its allegiance lightly; the grounds have a meditative walk on the Stations of the Cross and a replica of the Grotto at Lourdes, France.


Cleator Moor formerly had two railway stations: Cleator Moor East on the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway, and Cleator Moor West on the Cleator and Workington Junction Railway. In 1923 both railway companies and their stations passed over to the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). The LMS had acquired shares in the local bus company so to make public transport more lucrative the LMS closed both stations to passenger use in 1931. The goods facilities at Cleator Moor continued into the 1950s.

Bus service 22 links Cleator Moor to Whitehaven and Egremont. Bus services 31 and 31A also pass through the town.[1]


  • Rugby league: Wath Brow Hornets
  • Football: Cleator Moor Celtic FC

Outside links