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Market Street, Ulverston
Ulverston is located in Cumbria
 Ulverston shown within Cumbria
Population 11,678 (2011)[1]
Demonym Ulverstonian
OS grid reference
Civil parish Ulverston
District South Lakeland
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LA12
Dialling code 01229
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Barrow and Furness
List of places

Ulverston is a market town and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria in North West England. Historically in Lancashire, the town is located in the Furness area around 8 miles north-east of Barrow-in-Furness. It is close to the Lake District, and just north of Morecambe Bay, neighboured by Swarthmoor, Pennington and Rosside.

Ulverston's most visible landmark is Hoad Monument, a concrete structure built in 1850 to commemorate statesman and local resident Sir John Barrow.[2] The monument provides scenic views of the surrounding areas, including Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.

Ulverston Canal, which is no longer navigable, is claimed to be the deepest, widest and shortest canal in the United Kingdom at 1¼ miles.[3] The canal was once a vital component of the town's economy.[4]

The town is home to many shops and pubs, some of which are located on the stone paved main street, Market Street. At the head of the street is a war memorial to local soldiers who died in World War I.


  • Geography 1
    • Earthquake 1.1
  • History 2
  • Education 3
  • Transport 4
  • Twin towns 5
  • Festival town 6
  • Sport 7
    • Football 7.1
    • Rugby League 7.2
  • Notable people 8
  • International links 9
  • Gallery 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Ulverston is a comparatively large civil parish. It is bounded in the east by the Leven estuary, Crake, Coniston Water, and Yewdale Beck. To the west the boundary follows a chain of hills, and beyond that lie the towns of Kirkby-in-Furness and Askam and Ireleth. To the south is relatively low land, but it rises quickly. In the north are hills such as Coniston Old Man. The settlements of the parish are mainly concentrated in the eastern part.[5]


On 28 April 2009, Ulverston was near the epicentre of an earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale. Tremors were felt across south Cumbria and parts of north Lancashire at 11.22 BST, although virtually no damage was caused by them. A spokesman for the British Geological Survey said that earthquakes of around that magnitude occur roughly once a year in Britain.[6] It was the largest seismic event in the region since a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck Lancaster in 1835.[7][8]


Hoad Hill and the replica of the Eddystone Lighthouse

The name Ulverston, first recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as Ulurestun, is derived from two elements: the first is either the Old Norse personal name Úlfarr, or the Old English Wulfhere; the second element is the Old English tūn, meaning "farmstead" or "village".[9] The personal names Úlfarr and Wulfhere both translate roughly as "wolf warrior" or "wolf army",[10] which explains the presence of a wolf on the town's coat of arms. The loss of the 'W' in Wulfhere can be attributed to the historic Scandinavian influence in the region.[5] Locally, the town has traditionally been known as Oostan.[11] Other variations of the name recorded throughout history include Oluestonam (1127), and Uluereston (1189).[5]

The town's market charter was granted in 1280 by Edward I.[12] This was for a market every Thursday; modern Ulverston keeps its old market town appearance, and market days are now held on both Thursdays and Saturdays.[13] The charter also allowed for all public houses to open from 10:30 am until 11:00 pm irrespective of any other statute on the books. During the summer months the Saturday market day is themed with craft stalls, charity stalls and locally produced wares on "Made in Cumbria" stalls.

The Laurel & Hardy Museum

Historically, the ancient parish included several other chapelries or townships which later became separate civil parishes: Blawith, Church Coniston, Egton with Newland, Lowick, Mansriggs, Osmotherley, Subberthwaite and Torver. From 1894 to 1974 the town constituted an urban district in the administrative county of Lancashire. It became a successor parish in the Cumbria district of South Lakeland under the Local Government Act 1972.[14]

Over the years the town has been the birthplace of several famous people. Sir John Barrow, born at Dragley Beck, Ulverston, was the Admiralty's Second Secretary: a much more important position than First Secretary. A monument to him—a replica of the third Eddystone Lighthouse—stands on Hoad Hill overlooking the town. Famous Ulverstonians include Norman Birkett,[15] who represented Britain at the Nuremberg Trials; Maude Green, the mother of Rock and Roll music legend, Bill Haley;[16] Norman Gifford,[17] an England test cricketer; Francis Arthur Jefferson, a soldier awarded with the Victoria Cross;[18] and comedian Stan Laurel,[19] of Laurel and Hardy fame. The Laurel & Hardy Museum is situated in Ulverston,[20] and in 2009 a statue of the duo was unveiled by comedian Ken Dodd, outside Coronation Hall in the town centre.[21] One of Ulverston's lesser known sons is the late Bryan Martin, senior BBC Radio 4 newsreader and presenter of the 70s and 80s, who announced on the "Today" programme the death of Elvis Presley in 1977 and broke the news of the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. He appeared in The News Quiz, occasionally introduced The Goon Show, and read the spoof "news bulletin" which always featured in the middle of the comedy The Men From the Ministry.


Entrance to Croftlands Infant School

Ulverston Victoria High School (UVHS) is the town's secondary school with approximately 1200 pupils. The school has a sixth form college which draws students from Ulverston as well as the surrounding areas; the numbers of students attending is roughly 200.[22] There are also three infant schools, two junior schools, and five primary schools.[23] Also, one disabled school in the vicinity (Sandside).


Ulverston railway station, which serves the town, is located on the Furness Line from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster, ultimately leading on to Manchester Airport. The railway station is a short walk from the town centre. The town is also served by several bus services. These include the X6, running to Kendal from Barrow in Furness, via Grange over Sands. The X 12 runs from Coniston and passes through the village of Spark Bridge. Other services include the X 31 to Tarn Hows and the 6A and 6 to Barrow in Furness, the largest town in the region.

Twin towns

Ulverston is twinned with the town of Albert in France. The two towns regularly meet to play football at Easter with the Cyril Barker Shield being contested every year. The match's location is alternated between Ulverston and Albert.

Festival town

Ulverston calls itself a 'Festival Town' in reference to the many and varied festivals which take place in Ulverston over the course of the year.[24] The most renowned of these is the Lantern Festival, which involves hundreds of local residents creating lanterns out of willow and tissue paper and parading them throughout the town in winding rivers of light. The annual event culminates in a lively display of theatrical performance and fireworks in Ford Park, and was organised entirely by the community themselves for the first time in 2008.

Other popular festivals include:

The Dickensian Festival, held the final weekend of November, sees a range of Christmas stalls and attractions visit Ulverston.[25] People often dress up for the occasion in Victorian attire, as seen in this photo.
  • Beer Festival
  • Charter Festival (including the Lantern Festival)
  • International Music Festival
  • Furness Tradition[26]
  • Comedy Festival
  • Word Market—including 'Pub Scripts'
  • Walking Festival
  • Spring Buddhist Festival
  • Print Fest
  • Summer Buddhist Festival
  • Ulverston Carnival Parade

Quite possibly the best family Carnival in South Lakeland! Floats process around the town centre before arriving at Ford Park for fun and games. Procession starts at 1pm. All proceeds from the street collection go to Charity.[27]

  • Furness Festival of Tradition
  • Summer Music Festival
  • Festival of Fashion
  • The Feast of St George
  • Breastfeeding Festival
  • Another Fine Fest is a new festival only launched in 2014. A festival of music, comedy, street theatre & art, celebrating Ulverston & the birth of Stan Laurel.



Ulverston's football team is GSK Ulverston Rangers FC. They play in the Barrow junior district league. They play their home games at Glaxo or Dragley Beck depending on age. U10's and below only play friendlies while U11's upwards play league football. Their strip is white with a black/orange trim, black shorts and black/white socks

GSK Ulverston Rangers adults wear a blue and white stripped strip, and play at Glaxo pitches, they have players such as Matty Lawler, Jarek Bittner, James Pinneger and Mike Penny. These alongside others have improved the team and are now playing in the west lancs division 1 league for the first time in their history.

Rugby League

Ulverston ARLFC is The RL team in Ulverston. They play their home games at Dragley beck also known as Pain Lane. They wear a blue with white trim strip with blue shorts and blue socks. They play in the north west counties rugby league.

Ulverston ARLFC has produced many Professional Rugby players over the past years, including; Geoff Worrall, Derek Hadley, Jos Kenley, Dave Milby, Alan Moses, Oliver Wilkes, Andy Whittle, Stuart Wilkinson, Phil Atkinson, Neil Atkinson, Martin John, John Stephenson, Stuart Howarth, Nick Caunt, Chris Wilkes, Andy Rigby, Andy Whalley.

Ulverston ARLFC are the current holders of the Barton Townley cup.

Notable people

International links

Despite being titled The Royal Norwegian Honorary Consulate in Barrow-in-Furness, one of the numerous consulates of Norway is actually located on the outskirts of Ulverston.[28]


See also


  1. ^ "Town Population 2011". Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  2. ^ UK Attraction Hoad Monument
  3. ^ "Ulverston". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  4. ^ Priestley, Joseph (1831). Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers, Canals, and Railways, Throughout Great Britain. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green. 
  5. ^ a b c  
  6. ^ "Tremor strikes north-west England". BBC News. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  7. ^ "Biggest earthquake in 174 years hits South Cumbria".  
  8. ^ "Earthquake Shakes Buildings In Cumbria".  
  9. ^ A.D. Mills (2003). Dictionary of British Place Names.  
  10. ^ Viking Answer Lady. "Viking Answer Lady Webpage - Old Norse Men's Names". Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  11. ^ Rollinson, W. (1997), The Cumbrian Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition and Folklore, Smith Settle Ltd, p115
  12. ^ "Ulverston, Cumbria". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  13. ^ "Ulverston Street Markets".  
  14. ^ Frederic A. Youngs. Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Volume 2. Boydell & Brewer. 
  15. ^ "Norman Birkett: The Life of Lord Birkett of Ulverston".  
  16. ^ "Bill Haley and his Comets". Classic Bands. Retrieved 2006-01-18. 
  17. ^ "Norman Gifford". Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  18. ^ "Feature Page of Francis Arthur Jefferson VC". Lancashire Fusiliers. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  19. ^ "Stan Laurel".  
  20. ^ "Laurel and Hardy Museum". Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  21. ^ "Statue honours Laurel and Hardy". BBC News. 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  22. ^ "Ofsted inspection report (2007)".  
  24. ^ "Ulverston home". Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  25. ^ "Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links

  • The official Ulverston website
  • Ulverston history at GENUKI
  • Heritage First (formerly Ulverston Heritage Centre)
  • Ulverston on the web
  • Ulverston Victoria High School (UVHS)
  • Ulverston International Music Festival
  • Visit Ulverston
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