Silloth seems distant and out-of-the-way but was once a popular destination for Victorian holidaymakers travelling by train from Carlisle and Scotland.  The Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway provided a connection from the east while trains from the north arrived by the Solway Junction Railway, a journey which involved crossing the Firth on the remarkable Solway Viaduct.  According to Visit Cumbria: The one mile 176 yard long iron girder viaduct across the water was damaged by an ice build-up in 1875 and again in 1881. It was repaired and continued in use until 1914 for passengers, and until 1921 for freight, and was finally demolished in 1934.  Apparently, part of the reason was that Scots, who then had no access to alcohol on Sundays, used to walk across to the more liberal English side, and returning in a less than sober state occasionally fell into the Solway, and were lost.

The well-tended, wide-open park, the grand hotels, the prom, all speak of a bygone prosperity.  It was all new to me but the Good Wife holidayed here as a child, staying at her aunt and uncle’s house adjacent to the RAF aerodrome which closed in 1960.  We went in search of her memories.

The house is still there and a happy-looking older chap was raking his lawn.  This was John, tending his front garden, as he has done these last fifty years.  Turns out, he not only remembered Pam’s uncle and his family, having both worked at the aerodrome but, his wife, Irene, went to school with Pam’s cousin. In his day, John was an aero-engineer working on the de Havilland Vampires and Hawker Hunters that chased across the skies of Silloth throughout the post-war years.  As he remarked at the end of the conversation, it’s a small world.

John in his front garden

Cote Lighthouse

The beach, towards Skinburness

Cote Lighthouse

The amusement hall

The Green

Harbour entrance

Silloth Station 1951 – By Walter Dendy, deceased


  1. sustainabilitea · July 7, 2020

    Sounds like a delightful day, Robin. Yes, the world is a small place. Back in the mid-seventies when I was working at a youth hostel in Grindelwald, I met two men from a town in Indiana and mentioned that I knew someone from there but I didn’t imagine they did. Yes, they did. So you never know.


    • northumbrianlight · July 7, 2020

      It was thanks, Janet, and the weather was kind for once. The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in operation 🙂

  2. Tish Farrell · July 7, 2020

    Love these sharp but airy vistas, Robin. But most of all I love that lighthouse.

    • northumbrianlight · July 7, 2020

      Many thanks Tish – hope you and yours are keeping ok in these strange times.

      • Tish Farrell · July 7, 2020

        Strange times indeed, Robin. We are fine thanks, and I’m assuming you and Mrs. Robin are fine too. I have a sneaking notion we’ve been ’emperor’s new clothes-ed’ and continuing to be so with bells and whistles. Which is making me very grumpy.

      • northumbrianlight · July 7, 2020

        Every sensible person I know, thinks the same, Tish. I have stopped listening/watching all ‘news’ in order to maintain equilibrium.

      • Tish Farrell · July 8, 2020

        Good to know I’m not going mad. And you are a wise man not to listen to the news. We are lucky in our respective rural retreats with all that we want to hand.

  3. Trevor · July 7, 2020

    Marvellous photos, Robin!
    Our dentist is in Silloth…

    • northumbrianlight · July 7, 2020

      Thanks Trevor – Silloth must be nearer to Cockermouth than I thought

  4. Thom Hickey · July 7, 2020

    Lovely warm story. Plus I love that place name. Sounds biblical.

    Regards Thom

    • northumbrianlight · July 7, 2020

      Thanks Thom – you’re right, it does, Didn’t spot any pillars of salt though 😉

  5. Aviationtrails · July 7, 2020

    It’s nice, if not strange, to find people who have these old memories. Even nicer when they share them with you!

    • northumbrianlight · July 8, 2020

      Some remarkable connections over a very long period of time. Much evidence of the RAF base still in evidence at Silloth.

      • Aviationtrails · July 9, 2020

        I did wonder about what remained. It’s Interesting to hear.

  6. J.D. Riso · July 8, 2020

    Small world, vast memories. Beautiful, nostalgic images, as always.

    • northumbrianlight · July 8, 2020

      Many thanks Julie – hope you are keeping ok – all the best, Robin

  7. Pingback: Two more … | northumbrian : light

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