In September 1994 St Michaels Church in Workington was burned down for the second time in it’s history. It has since risen – phoenix like – from the ashes, and inside it’s relatively traditional exterior there is a light modern church. Among the many things replaced following the fire was the stained glass (as all bar one of the original windows were lost). Someone, somewhere, had the foresight to incorporate a history of Workington into one of the new windows, which I suspect makes this the only church anywhere to have a Bessemer converter in its stained glass. The detail can be found towards the top of the RH panel.
I am grateful to St Michael’s Church for permission to take these images and reproduce them here.
The window itself has been well designed to give a narrative of Workington’s history, setting the local context within which this particular church finds its place, and is as good a symbol of a cultural legacy in action as any I can find.
At the other end of the obscurity spectrum (and the town), and rather more prosaic is James Duffield Close, which is named after the individual who was responsible for the first ironworks in Workington – if this newspaper article is to be believed – in other words, the man who’s actions shaped Workington for more than a century. As an outsider I remain totally bemused by the apparent willingness of a community to allow its past to all but disappear.
Bibliography1: St Michael's Church, Workington. [Online] Available at: http://www.stmichaelsworkington.org.uk/
[Accessed 11 June 2014].
2: Times and Star, 2012. Workington Home Estate Name Change to Honour James Duffield, Carlisle: CN Group. [Online] Available at http://www.timesandstar.co.uk/news/business/workington-home-estate-name-change-to-honour-james-duffield-1.916629# [Accessed 11 June 2014].