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Cockermouth Post Article May 2008

Many landmarks have disappeared from Main Street over the years. Cockermouth Library, which opened in 1904, replaced a row of thatched cottages, and the Blue Bell Inn stood on the site of the present Lesley Cleland’s shop. The Waugh Memorial clock, affectionately known as ‘Neddy’, stood on Main Street from 1893 until its removal in 1932 on the grounds that it was a traffic hazard. The clock was apparently the scene of much merry-making by local people each New Year’s Eve. Earl Mayo has stood his ground on Main Street since 1875 despite several attempts to remove him forcefully, most noticeably in 1964 when a tanker scored a direct hit and felled him disastrously but not fatally. Main Street in the past was the location for the Hiring Fairs of Whitsun and Martinmas, which normally took place in the Castlegate/Market Place area, but the accompanying stalls and street entertainment spread right down Main Street. At one time Mr Biddle brought his show to Cockermouth at fair-time, and his Ghost Show was a particular attraction. Given that there were so many ‘watering-holes’ in Cockermouth, these events were often very rowdy occasions. Crowds are still attracted to Main Street and around by the annual Carnival, which originated in Cousin Charley’s Day at the end of the 19th century. This was originally a children’s parade through the town, with sports and entertainments and treats for the children. Main Street has always played a vital role in the life of the town.

Gloria Edwards

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