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By 1851 there were 6,800 people living in the town.Iron works, as opposed to iron ore mines were opened in 1856 and the blast furnace lit up the night sky. Eventually there were six such furnaces in the area. The Earl of Lonsdale built the Lonsdale Dock in 1865, capable of taking ships up to 2,000 tons and making Workington an important harbour on the west coast for trade with Ireland and America. Despite the shipyard's closure in 1866 Workington was described in 1875 as "the richest town of its size in the Kingdom." and it continued to prosper. By 1881 the population of the town stood at 14,000. More were to come when in 1883 the Charles Cammel and Company Steel Works were built. Hundreds of workers were needed, resulting in the expansion of the town southward. The Steel Works used Henry Bessemer's steel making process, the first to do so in the world. The population in 1891 was 25,000.

1920 saw the Lonsdale Dock enlarged and later, in 1927, the Prince of Wales Dock was opened, capable of taking ships of up to 10,000 tons. The building of this dock had a devastating effect on Maryport. Soon Workington too was suffering as the old industries of coal and iron mining declined. Nor did steel production get away unscathed. Workington has had to find other sources of income.

 

 

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