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.
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.
It was thanks, Janet, and the weather was kind for once. The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in operation 🙂
Love these sharp but airy vistas, Robin. But most of all I love that lighthouse.
Many thanks Tish – hope you and yours are keeping ok in these strange times.
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.
Every sensible person I know, thinks the same, Tish. I have stopped listening/watching all ‘news’ in order to maintain equilibrium.
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.
Marvellous photos, Robin!
Our dentist is in Silloth…
Thanks Trevor – Silloth must be nearer to Cockermouth than I thought
Lovely warm story. Plus I love that place name. Sounds biblical.
Thanks Thom – you’re right, it does, Didn’t spot any pillars of salt though 😉
It’s nice, if not strange, to find people who have these old memories. Even nicer when they share them with you!
Some remarkable connections over a very long period of time. Much evidence of the RAF base still in evidence at Silloth.
I did wonder about what remained. It’s Interesting to hear.
Small world, vast memories. Beautiful, nostalgic images, as always.
Many thanks Julie – hope you are keeping ok – all the best, Robin