Workington, Cumbria

From Maryport we headed down the coast to Workington. The approach to the town is through an industrial landscape but we did pass Borough Park, the tidy, if old-fashioned, home ground of Workington AFC. Once a proud Football League side, they now ply their trade in the Conference (Blue Square Bet) North. In their league days weren’t they known as Workington Town? There’s no mention of that on Wiki nor their home page.

We passed the building below on our way to finding a parking spot. It’s the County Library. I made sure to photo it on our walkabout. A fine building – even if its eyes have been poked out.

County Library, Workington

Also impressive was the Bus Station. Not Deco but looks like a former cinema from a distance. This seemed to be the exit. The entrance looked very similar but was at an angle to this one.

Workington Bus Station

Just over the road from it (you can see a bus exiting the Bus Station on the left of the photo – and a preceding one on the right) was this.

Art Deco Building, Workington

Not far down the same street was this row of Deco shops. I didn’t bother strolling down to get a closer shot of the white ones. We were a bit pushed for time.

Row of Art Deco shops, Workington

Like Maryport Workington was a bit own at heel especially away from the immediate environs of the main shopping area.

I liked this building though, now converted to a Wetherspoon’s.

Art Deco Building, Workington

Henry Bessemer, if you were wondering, invented a process to produce steel from iron.

This was just over the side street from the Henry Bessemer.

Art Deco Building, Workington 3

Not a bad haul of Art Deco from one of the towns in England most out on a limb. Sadly, without exception, the buildings had all been reglazed unsympathetically. (Eyes poked out.)

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  1. Tom Jenkins

    An Art Deco building – says who? This corner building comprising offices and shops at the corner of Oxford Street and Gray Street was built sometime between 1951 and 1953. I passed the building site every day I went to Junior school in the early to mid 1950s The last occupants were HM Government. Why when a building has been altered so much can it be given the Art deco tag or was the site compiler/webmaster simply guessing its age

    To me the Art Deco style is typified with such buildings as the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, the disused Bus Station in Whitehaven or the Chrysler Building in the USA. Art deco is definitely not shops that were thrown up immediately after WW2 in the post WW2 building boom. According to Wikipedia, Art Deco began in the 1920s and 39s but was on its way out in the 1940s. Opposite this corner building was a shop that stood alone and was built in the 1920s or 30s. Its was known as called Clay’s Bazzar. This shop to me didn’t look like an Art Deco design, but who can really define art deco when it comes to small buildings that look more like boxes with windows?

    The bus station in Workington, for the folk who don’t know was built on vacant land and was the first purpose built covered bus station on this planet. The building that was regarded by many local people as Workington’s finest Art Dec one was the Ritz cinema on Murray Road that was demolished several decades ago. Opposite the cinema was open land and was filled up with shops and offices again in the 1950s.

    Regardless of ones thoughts and ideas of what is or what is not Art deco it is great to see that someone liked our shops enough to photograph them and uploaded the images onto the web and bypassed Flickr.

    Thanks for making the effort.

    Tom Jenkins
    (Built by a steelworker during WW2 at Workington.)

  2. jackdeighton

    Tom Jenkins,
    Thanks for looking in and commenting.
    I bow to your superior knowledge of Workington. (I only passed through.)
    The end of 1930s cut-off date for Art Deco is useful as a general rule but some post-war buildings can be defined as such. Kirkcaldy’s Town House for example wasn’t built till the 1950s but used a pre-war design and can legitimately be called deco. In those times some architects simply dusted off designs that had been lying about unable to be used due to lack of building during the war years.
    There are two corner buildings in my Workington post. The top one has elements that conform to the Art Deco “rule of three” above its windows. The way these have been painted is also a deco trait.
    The lower one has a stepped roofline – another commmon Art Deco feature.
    I agree none of the buildings I photographed in workington are in the “High” deco style you mention but they all have at least one deco element.
    I’m sad I never got to see the Ritz cinema. I’ve looked it up. A fine building indeed.

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