West Cumberland and its Utilization


I HAVE no quarrel with most that Dr. Trotter says, but his letter strikes just that note of false optimism which it was my concern to avoid. Apart from the steady deflexion of the hæmatite reserves, the heavy iron and steel industry is naturally well sited, but to say the "need for new industries is self-evident" is a long way from suggesting how they can be attracted. It is in this regard that a manufacturer seeking a location for, say, a textile factory, would look seriously at the time taken to reach an area off the main line by which his goods would be distributed. It is 1½ hours by rail to Whitehaven from Carlisle, 2¼–3 hours from Penrith and 2¾–3¾ hours from Carnforth. I was not, of course, confusing West Cumberland with the Lake District; but it is important to realize that the war-time extension of the industrial area has introduced an alien element in the once purely rural views from the high ground of the western Lakes. To say that the charming West Cumbrian coast from St. Bee's Head to Millom is primarily the resort of local people is to deny its immense potentialities as a natural seaside extension to the Lakes, which increased facilities of access and accommodation should render very popular and a consequent source of wealth to the area—but not if it is spoiled by sporadic industrialization.

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