WHITEHAVEN HARBOUR.

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IN another article we have given some descriptive particulars of the town of
Whitehaven and its vicinity and have therefore in the present instance to confine our
attention to the harbour, an excellent view of which forms the subject of our engraving.

We have previously stated that Whitehaven is mainly indebted to the Lowther
family for its rise and progress as a trading port. By Sir John Lowther, an ancestor of
this house, the lands of the dissolved monastery of St. Bees were purchased for his
second son. Sir Christopher, early in the reign of Charles the First; and, as the use of
coals first became general at this period, the new proprietor determined on improving
his estate by opening a colliery. In this, however, little progress was made till after the
Restoration, when Sir John Lowther, his successors formed a plan for working the
mines on a very extensive scale, and with this view obtained considerable grants of
inappropriate land in the district, which was secured to him in 1666. Two years later
he obtained a further accession of property, including a parliamentary gift of the whole
sea-coast for two miles northward, between high and low water-mark. He next turned
his attention to the port, which was neither large nor convenient, and by his judicious
schemes laid the foundation of the present haven. Since that important epoch it has
been greatly and gradually improved, particularly since an act of parliament was
obtained to finish the original plan, and to keep it in repair, by a moderate tonnage on
shipping. In its present form it is protected and strengthened by several piers, or moles,
of compact stonework, three of which project in parallel lines from the land; a fourth,
bending in the form of a crescent, has a watch house and battery, with a handsome
lighthouse at its extremity. At low water, the port is nearly dry, so that the shipping within
the moles lies as if in dry docks.

Adjoining the harbour, on the west side of the town, is the coal-staith, or
magazine, where coal for exportation is deposited to the amount of several thousand
wagon-loads. Eight or ten, and occasionally twelve, vessels, each carrying a hundred
tons and upwards, are commonly loaded at one tide, at an expense of only ten shillings
each, so great are the facilities contrived for this purpose. The method is this: the
greatest part of the road from the pit runs along an inclined plain, on which arc railways
communicating with covered galleries, which terminate in large flues, or hurries, placed
sloping over the quay. When loaded, the wagons run by their own weight from the pit
to the magazine, where, their bottoms being struck out, the coals are dropped into the
hurries, and thence with a noise like thunder descend into the holds of the vessels.

Whitehaven forms one of a chain of ports on the north-western coast of England,
which owe their commercial importance to the demand for coals. This branch of trade
has long been famous as a nursery of hardy and intelligent seamen, and the naval
service of the country has, in times of war, been chiefly indebted to the numerous body
of men who have, either voluntarily or by compulsion, exchanged their services from the
humble collier to a more distinguished, though less lucrative, position on the deck of a
line-of-battle ship. Years have now passed since there has been any occasion to disturb
the arrangements of our commercial marine for this purpose; and it is to be fervently
hoped that the advancing civilization of the age will preclude the re-enactment of such
scenes of misery and crime as must ever accompany the system of impressments and
forced service.

Most of the coal exported from this haven is conveyed to Ireland; and the
annual quantity raised, on an average of twenty years, was formerly less than 100,000
chaldrons; but of late years the export trade in this department is understood to have
greatly increased. In the Whitehaven coal-mines there have happened from time to time
lamentable catastrophes by the explosion of foul air, attended by great sacrifice of life.
It is painful to reflect, that, with all the means which, in this scientific and inventive age,
have been recommended and adopted, no effectual plan has hitherto been devised for
the prevention of these sad and appalling accidents.

IN another article we have given some descriptive particulars of the town of
Whitehaven and its vicinity and have therefore in the present instance to confine our
attention to the harbour, an excellent view of which forms the subject of our engraving.

We have previously stated that Whitehaven is mainly indebted to the Lowther
family for its rise and progress as a trading port. By Sir John Lowther, an ancestor of
this house, the lands of the dissolved monastery of St. Bees were purchased for his
second son. Sir Christopher, early in the reign of Charles the First; and, as the use of
coals first became general at this period, the new proprietor determined on improving
his estate by opening a colliery. In this, however, little progress was made till after the
Restoration, when Sir John Lowther, his successors formed a plan for working the
mines on a very extensive scale, and with this view obtained considerable grants of
inappropriate land in the district, which was secured to him in 1666. Two years later
he obtained a further accession of property, including a parliamentary gift of the whole
sea-coast for two miles northward, between high and low water-mark. He next turned
his attention to the port, which was neither large nor convenient, and by his judicious
schemes laid the foundation of the present haven. Since that important epoch it has
been greatly and gradually improved, particularly since an act of parliament was
obtained to finish the original plan, and to keep it in repair, by a moderate tonnage on
shipping. In its present form it is protected and strengthened by several piers, or moles,
of compact stonework, three of which project in parallel lines from the land; a fourth,
bending in the form of a crescent, has a watch house and battery, with a handsome
lighthouse at its extremity. At low water, the port is nearly dry, so that the shipping within
the moles lies as if in dry docks.

Adjoining the harbour, on the west side of the town, is the coal-staith, or
magazine, where coal for exportation is deposited to the amount of several thousand
wagon-loads. Eight or ten, and occasionally twelve, vessels, each carrying a hundred
tons and upwards, are commonly loaded at one tide, at an expense of only ten shillings
each, so great are the facilities contrived for this purpose. The method is this: the
greatest part of the road from the pit runs along an inclined plain, on which arc railways
communicating with covered galleries, which terminate in large flues, or hurries, placed
sloping over the quay. When loaded, the wagons run by their own weight from the pit
to the magazine, where, their bottoms being struck out, the coals are dropped into the
hurries, and thence with a noise like thunder descend into the holds of the vessels.

Whitehaven forms one of a chain of ports on the north-western coast of England,
which owe their commercial importance to the demand for coals. This branch of trade
has long been famous as a nursery of hardy and intelligent seamen, and the naval
service of the country has, in times of war, been chiefly indebted to the numerous body
of men who have, either voluntarily or by compulsion, exchanged their services from the
humble collier to a more distinguished, though less lucrative, position on the deck of a
line-of-battle ship. Years have now passed since there has been any occasion to disturb
the arrangements of our commercial marine for this purpose; and it is to be fervently
hoped that the advancing civilization of the age will preclude the re-enactment of such
scenes of misery and crime as must ever accompany the system of impressments and
forced service.

Most of the coal exported from this haven is conveyed to Ireland; and the
annual quantity raised, on an average of twenty years, was formerly less than 100,000
chaldrons; but of late years the export trade in this department is understood to have
greatly increased. In the Whitehaven coal-mines there have happened from time to time
lamentable catastrophes by the explosion of foul air, attended by great sacrifice of life.
It is painful to reflect, that, with all the means which, in this scientific and inventive age,
have been recommended and adopted, no effectual plan has hitherto been devised for
the prevention of these sad and appalling accidents.

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