Once the third largest port in the UK, Whitehaven had trade links all over the world and developed an impressive maritime heritage. Shipping and coal mining were important industries and today attractions such as the Beacon Museum and the Rum Story explore the history of the town and the influence of maritime trade on its development.
The town is known for handsome Georgian architecture and St. James' Church, built in 1753, has one of the finest Georgian interiors in the country. Whitehaven was the first town to be built on a planned grid, a system copied in other towns and cities including New York. St Nicholas's Church also has a connection to the USA; as the final resting place of Mildred Warner Washington, grandmother of George Washington, first president of the United States. Infamous US Navy Captain John Paul Jones also launched an unsuccessful attack on the harbour in 1778.
Today the historic harbour is home to a modern marina and hosts events throughout the year including the Whitehaven Festival each summer. It has been enhanced by sculptures and lighting and is a pleasant place to visit. It is also popular with cyclists as the start point of the Coast 2 Coast cycle route.
Two miles north of Whitehaven is Moresby, the church here is on the site of a Roman Fort 'Gabrosentum'.
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