There was a man drowned at Silloth. He fell off the jetty where employed at the steam
boats, his name William Wilkinson, Causewayhead. He was found a short time after. Only one
steam boat runs now, The Silloth.
The ground is about one foot thick with snow and hare frost. John Ostle, Border, Abbey
March 15 or 16.
Henry Atkinson joiner fell from the roof of a house at Silloth he is now dead.
Another fell from the Jetty and he is wounded and another fell out of the train when it was going on
the Silloth line and killed on the spot. He was a guard on the train.
Another man fell from a crane and was killed. Ben Bell of Mawbray commenced building
Another man killed at Silloth dock . A ballast wagon drove over him and broke his back.
He is a native of Cockermouth.
An old postcard of Silloth Pier
The Carlisle and Silloth Dock Company have purchased the Maryport steam boat for between
£4000 & £5000 , not half her cost price, the Cumbria. The owners at Maryport are fit to chew their
own ears out. They must have a croney in their whiskers or else their ears will be to shift back.
The Cumbria of Silloth commenced to run between Liverpool and Silloth twice a week. She is
a splendid boat. The dock is going on rapidly and houses out of number.
The dock is cleared now of all its muck we call it sand. The walls are not finished. The
steam pump goes daily and lifts a great quanitity of water.
Work going on brisk as ever preparing the gas works.
Salt works going on rapid, nearly ready to make salt.
Another man wounded at Silloth. He being going to fall he did leap about twenty feet.
He put his ankle out of joint he escaped surprisingly.
Nothing marvellous at Silloth. They are making salt. Two steam tugs
and two or three Hoppers to dredge the entrance into the dock. About the 23rd, the tugs and
hoppers got in behind the Grune end for the sea was so high and rough.
I was at Silloth. The steam boat was dredging the mud and putting
it into the hopper and another tug carrying it away into the sea and trying to make .....rigg
They are now preparing to make a fence for and above the Coffer Dam to
drain the sand out of the entrance of the dock with a standing engine. I think Mr Wilson had
the Coulback and they tell me it will soon be completed. They are at work making a powerful
machine they call Shaw Hadarlic pressure to open the dock gates. Several natural deaths none
killed lately. Now John Fell Blitterlees killed when tipping aggregate. The wagon wheels ran
over his breast. Age 17 or 18 years and one man wounded just before. A spile ran into his
chest. Whether fatal or not I cannot tell.
June 9 1859
Nothing particular at Silloth, a cheap trip every Tuesday from
Carlisle. They have got the water into the dock now but no vessels in yet. The Hyderolic
is draining the spiles but the day is not fixed for the opening yet.
A Steamer at Silloth, some years after these entries
The dock is open now Steamer entered about a week .......... ago.
There is one vessel in laden with wheat. Another in the bay wheat laden she is an Australian.
Brotherton and Rigg have had a sale of horses, gear waggons, gear chains and all their trases. The entrance to the
dock is not finished yet . The day of opening is fixed on the third of August for the nobs
The dock is opened today. The Silloth entered in the first Brough Master
James Graham of Netherby , J Irving, P J Dixon and many more nobs sailed into the dock. They
read the ceremony and the landed on the on the Cay and went to dine on a Cold Colation.
About 530 sat down to dine. Musick at Dinner the Milita Band in full uniform.
August 3rd (1859)
It was considered there weabout twenty or fourteen thousand
at the opening of the dock they made a very moderate show, the day was so showerry and wet.
Stiffcoats Drabbett and coattails were either thin as a wafer or like a piece of net. The train
was so heavy loaded they had two engines and had enough to do. Trains running every hour
and passengers numerous. Success to Silloth and its sand.
An engraving of the opening
The Wasp from Liverpool entered the dock three or four more outside. About
ten boats and vessels in the dock. It was so stormy and windy they dare not turn out.
It was estimated the Maishil Dock the first floating dock that was ever made in the Holme.
Made in the reign of Queen Victoria. Success to the dock and all the Royal Family. There
was about 400 people got dinner in a sort of a Marque or Camp but the day was so wet they had
to have an umberella over their head and a fork in their other hand to gobble up the fowls.
A bottle of wine each. Some of our Holmes Dobbies got tipsy. They were Sauls, Barnes and
Wilkinsons. Every house was so full they were jammed to the door and half way along the
street. There were seven respectable looking men from Maryport sat down to in the Albion in a
coal house. Coals their seat and Hen Roost their table. One man went into an inn and could
not get a seat for weavers and cotton spinners so he went to the door and cried Mad Dog and
they all made to the door so he walked in and took a seat. That's wisdom of Soloman.
The dock had to be opened about half past one but it was nearer four so all was hussle and
Aug 31 1859
There was some talk about the Lord of the Manor claiming the fishing
at Silloth but I think he has given it up. The coast is free for all to fish. Neither my
father, grandfather nor Great Grandfather paid anything nor any of their fore fathers before
them neither. Salmon nor Whale even down to the shrimps all was free to rich or poor.
Silloth dock is open and many vessels enter into it, English, French
and Austrians. A lifeboat is about to be brought to Silloth in the course of this winter
(October) a Yorkshire man was letting a wall down and it fell upon his leg and broke it and hurt
his back that he cannot walk he lives at Beckfoot. He is building at Beckfoot (Dec) I think
he is now recovering again.
A 19th Century engarving of Allonby.
A vessel cast on shore near Allonby. One man was lashed to the rigging,
he was dead when found. Another man cast on shore near the same place quite dead and another
cast on shore near Beckfoot or Bitter Leas.
This is held at Christmas Day. Frost first and then rain.
Thomas French of Sea Dyke end is supposed to have fallen from his horse
at Blitter Leas and near killed. Two or three doctors attend him, he lays in a very unhopeful
state. Soon died.
On Captain Joseph Glaister, Maryport
Died May 8 1857
Seek not for riches ye know that is wise
But humble your thoughts and look up to the skies
Bend your knees freely and sit down and pray
For when God commands we all must obey
Remember of friend that's cutdown in his prime
Although he hath flourished and grown like the Thyme
For twenty nine years and three months they say
But he hath departed on the eighth day of May
No more on the ocean he'll be tossed too and fro
When the lord doth command we straightway must go
And leave all our splendour; we nothing can save
For hundreds of people they stood at his grave
Lamenting the loss of one gallant and brave
But the wealth of the ocean no life can it save
In this world we wander the way we think best
But the soles of our feet they shall never have rest
To his cold bed of clay and tribunal of light
And now like the widow he threw down his mite
And took up his cross for the lord it hath given
So Lord bless his soul and preserve it in heaven.
John Ostle and Rachel Harrison married April 18th 1857. Lord bless them both. She died
Their daughter born September 10 1858
The following entries seem to be out of chronological order and may have been
written up sometime after the events described. The Elizabeth Dock at
Maryport was actually opened in 1857.
The new dock at Maryport was opened. The steam boat Cumbria
entered first. The Senhouse, The Rambler they both sailed around her in the dock. The Bee
from Rock Ferry sailed around her and three coal vessels came into the floating dock. One
man killed and two or three wounded with one of the coal drops. Waggons, coals and men all
landed upon the ships deck except one who landed in the water, One man and one woman tried
to incadure the depth of the floating dock after dark but they were thankful to get out with
assistance. The gates did not hold the water as the wise men of Maryport thought of Solomon
said be not wise in thine own eyes .
An engraving of Maryport before the new dock was opened.
The steamboat Cumbria is laid up now she cannot pay her way and Maryport
people is in low spirits. Not much of a town for wealth I suppose. Still there is R Adair
Auctioneer, Appraiser and Newsagent tries to fill a newspaper once a month and hard run too.
Buttermarket: butter is about fifteen and sixteen pence in the pound, best wheat one guinea,
barley 11s or 12s, oats 8s and 9s per Carlisle bushel.
John Ostle, Border, Abbey Holme, Cumberland
On the 20th of October the day was dull but warm
The gentlemen of Maryportt in hundreds they did swarm
Likewise a few old country clornes on Ellen's banks did stand
To view the opening of the dock it was so awful grand
The Cumbria entered in the first the musick then did sound
The Senhouse and The Rambler they saild her all around
The steamboat from Rock Ferry, The Bee it was her name
Was next that entered in the dock she tried to do the same.
Three vessels then there were brought in the coal drops for to try
And to that great misfortune It caused many a sigh
The coals and waggon all was shipt their wisdom it was sin
Some men they flew into the air while others had to swim
The gates were closed in first rate stile as I have heard them say
And what will people all say now about sandy Silloth bay
There was no honey for The Bee no comb to sit and sing
She took a trip to Silloth and she leet upon the king
The floating dock begun to leek I will now let you explain
While the nobs did swallow Sherry Port and bottles of champagne
To the colliers and the railways to the steamtug here's a toast
About the navigation company we can not make a boast
The Cumbria was sold in fifty eight for four or five thousand so now they have no steam to
run to Liverpool. The timber merchant has got the Gout he cannot leave his home yet his
circular saws and uprights they are still going on. The newsmonger makes a paper once a month
it is very ....... but still a little pleases children better than nothing at all. And the
mayor made a blunder when he was at his dinner But Lord have mercy on all their souls the
poor helpless ........
A Crop Rotation Plan for Border Farm
The figures at the top of each field give the area in acres, roods and
(1 acre = 0.405 hectare). The first crop given is for 1858 and the
second is that for 1859. The yields are, presumably, given in bushels or,
for hay, in (cart) loads.
This summer is very droughty it is worse than 1826 although we have some rain nearly every
week the showers are so little it scarcely lays the dust. Dry sandy land is as yellow as an
orange burnt and droughted up no grass at all.
Strong clay land is very bare of grass. Strong Marshy land bare and droughty where it was
never known to drought before. Crops are supposed to be very light.
Commenced cutting Lea grass, today June 25, very light, about half a crop. Potatoes look pretty
fair. Mangel Wosel it cannot come at all, the ground is so dry. Turnips look pretty fair.
Fallow is so hard and dry we cannot use it. Some is beat with ploughing fallow. There is
some thunder today and we expect rain. Bordert Abbey Holme. The rain was very little still
it doeth good.
Very droughty. Some showers but nothing worth notice. Meadow hay is very light we are nearly done loading
hay. Harvest has not commenced with us. Many are busy cutting wheat, I think it is scarcely
Commenced harvest. Wheat pretty fair. Oats very middling. Barley the
small crops or about half of last year's produce. We have had a fair supply of rain, still
the ground is scarcely wet through as far as the plough goes. Pastures are very bare and
little sign of being better.
Very fair weather
I saw a swallow at Border Abbey Holme. Weather wet and stormy.
I have a mare very bad. I think inflation of the bladder. We took eleven quarts
of blood from her, gave one quart of linseed oil two unine balls and some injections. She was
very bad for fifteen or sixteen hours and then got better.
Illustrations courtesy of John, Joe and Sybil Ostle and Joan and Lionel Palmer