In the year 1855 about the latter part of the year they commenced making the railroad to Silloth Bay and
the building of houses. There is now at present four farm houses, that is all there is at Silloth but now
they are building both lodging houses and Tommy Shop, Smith Shop, Joiner do, and now a Large Hotel.
They commenced making jetties but the sturdy waves of Briney levelled them to the ground. They
drove the spiles with three Battering rams and now they are making a breakwater or sort of Coffer Dam
now in 1856. Brotherton & Rigg are the Contractors for the Rally Road. They built a bridge with two
arches over the line and while filling it up it fell to the ground no person either killed or wounded yet.
June 12th, 1856
They brought a steam engine to Silloth Bay from Kirkbride, the
engine and tender took about twenty-six horses. They landed at Causeway Head in the evening
and she did start to travail the next day. The first engine that came to Silloth. I was there
two or three days after. I saw the sod huts, and families in them, slated with tarpoling. The
hotel is not finished, Auron House not finished. They are building the bridge arches again
I think with concrete and there are two inns, selling one ale and porter, the other grogg
likewise and another part preparing but they have not got licence, none of them yet, The
Cumberland Hotel and the Silloth Bay Inn Tom and Harry.
There is an account in the newspaper about a woman giving birth to five children. Three boys doing
well and two girls gone to glory.
A new steam boat called The Silloth in July 1856 came to Silloth Bay for she is intended to sail to that
port from Liverpool but she went up to Port Carlisle no dock at Silloth yet there is four or five timber
vessels come up to the bay. One man came out of the Robert Burns and got some grog at Silloth and
he got to boxing and levelled navvies as they came to him. Three or four was no object to him. One
man drowned not far from Skinburness. Jones I know his name.
There was a cheap trip from Carlisle to Silloth Bay; the line was opened. I think all
the manufacturers and cotton spinners, tobacconists and what not was there. All the uppercrust
chaps the Mayor Tobacco Jack and many other Barney St nuts and many just come out of pawn shop
for the day. Two bands of musick, polka dancing that is coller and elbow or the height of impudence.
One fellow saw his brother Joe there It was a donkey tied to a cart wheel. There was an excellent
dinner at 3s. each and then for speeches about 3000 people came by steam and I think I may say about
1000 Holmes Dobbies landed upon the Green where the Goose got her breakfast. A slender fight or
two in the evening as usual. Look further.
Silloth Bay is a very wild place. In dry windy weather, the sand blows very little short of
the deserts of Arabia. There is a splendid railway but not dock yet. On 28th August about three
hundred got dinner.
There is a bad road on the bank now. They have not got it made yet
over the bridge but they are hard at work banking. This being Carlisle latter fair, a great
number of passengers went by rail from Silloth. There is a splendid little station here and two
Public Houses and one Tom and Harry. Several other dwelling houses and sod huts for ever. One
steam engine driving piles four or five hard rams at work. This is what we call going ahead
for the British and beat all the world and the Yankie, beat them. There is no station house at
the Abbey yet but the engine takes in passengers and at Kirkbride too. They generally call at
Causeway Head to quench the thirst of the Steam Horse. They pump the water out of the beck.
Success to tripping and rail.
The original line before the building of the Solway Viaduct
I went to Carlisle by the Silloth line. The first time I have got.
It is pretty easy but very slow, there is so many stops. The buildings are going on daily. Two
steam engines driving piles. Last week the sea was very rough. It broke twenty-seven piles.
There was a brig came on shore near Beckfoot. They call her the Derwent of Workington. She
discharged at Draughrinhay in Ireland and put past Workington. They had about nine feet of
water in her ballast. Twelve geese, three bantams. Several were drowned, Captain Hodgson and
his wife, one prentice and five or seven Pats. They threw the ballast out and stopped up the
holes and got off to sea with the aid of the steam tug from Maryport. She laid about one week,
they escaped surprisingly.
February 19th, 1857
There was a sale of horses on Silloth Bank. They sold nearly 20 horses the highest figure
was £53. They did belong to Brotherton & Rigg. Brotherton is dead some weeks since
buildings are going on rapidly.
Tweedy the Jetty contractor fell from the jetty in May 1857 and was nearly killed. He
soon died. The steam boat Silloth runs between Silloth and Liverpool twice a week and lands
passengers discharges her cargo and loads at the jetties. The dock is going on rapidly they
are putting up a steam pump to take the water out of the dock. Then another steam engine to
wind the dirt out of the dock. The train runs four times per day Silloth and a bus from
Allonby to Silloth twice a day. It sometimes has 20 on board the bus.
Success to steam on land and water
Likewise the bus for tis a devarter.
August 18th 1857.
The first stone was laid at the Silloth dock by Sir James Grame
of Netherby. He had a silver trowel and mallet but rather too fine a coat to use the master.
The dock was not half full of people, yet I thought there might be some five or six thousands.
Two bands of musick. Codology dancing and what not. A large number of navvies too on the
green where the Goose got her breakfast.
The old dock at Silloth
The salt works are going on rapidly at Silloth and there is two steam boats run between
Silloth and Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast. The buildings they are going on rapidly both the houses
and dock walls.
Illustrations courtesty of Joan and Lionel Palmer and Leon Naylor Whalley
Map adapted from "A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Vol. 14 The Lake
Counties" by David Joy. Copyright David & Charles