Friday, June 03, 2011


Just five miles north of Maryport is the little seaside village of Allonby, one of my favourite places for an evening stroll.  This dream-like view of Criffel across the Solway Firth is the result of sea mist, and, on a bad day, the Scotch Hills can be invisible.  With the tide out, the bay stretches for miles of golden sand, graded gravel and shingle banks.

Like many places along this Cumbrian coastline, its heyday seems to have been in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.  Now there are at least five caravan parks stretching back from the street frontage.  Then, it seems to have been a fishing village and a spa, with some elegant buildings.  Here we have The Baths:

Front and rear views, now a private house.  The upper room was used as a ball-room.  The side with the columns faces into The Square, but this cobbled area was once also the main road through the village.

This lovely house, with its charming inscription over the lintel, also speaks of better days.

Even earlier is this non-conformist chapel.

With its inscription:

It stands right next to a former Quaker meeting house.

More prominent, and for many years a distressing ruin, is the old Reading Room, designed by the architect who designed the Natural History Museum, and built after a fund-raising effort in the 1860s.  The story goes that the most recent owner owned the building but not the access across a stip of land about four feet wide to the road.  This delayed matters while the building fell into decay.  Now, it has been made weather-proof but never seems to move any further.  The unimpeded views from its huge windows must be superb.


Finally, a nest of eggs - possibly an oyster-catcher's?  They were hidden in plain sight right out on the shingle beach.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely walk. I hope the building gets restored - it is such a shame when these wonderful pieces of our history are allowed to rot away!

Joanna said...

Beautiful pictures. We have just returned from Cumbria ourselves - hope you enjoyed the (rather unexpected) glorious weather.

Janet said...

Lovely lighting on those buildings. Were the photos taken lateish in the day?