Once again, Community Rail Cumbria and station adopters have hosted the University of Hertfordshire at Workington Railway Station.
Community Rail Cumbria, Northern and Workington Transport Heritage Trust had the pleasure of hosting 60 geography students from the University of Hertfordshire in October 2021. The group had spent time visiting a number of locations in Cumbria as part of a residential field trip, exploring themes including memory, community, place and identity, and a global sense of place.
Following on from the success of last year, Dr Joseph Hall – Lecturer in Social and Cultural Geography – chose to bring his students back and continue to explore the human geography theme of heritage by focusing on industrial heritage and how Workington’s rich industrial past is represented and preserved in the contemporary urban landscape.
Station adopters Dave Wallace and Cameron Bragg and staff from Community Rail Cumbria spent time walking the students through The Rails Which Circled the World project, which highlights the historical importance of rail-making in Workington. Iron and steelmaking in and around Workington used to employ thousands of local people, producing industry-leading rails that still circumnavigate the globe to this day.
The team talked through the evolution of the station building and its surroundings, explaining the background of the Bessemer statue and how this has become an integral part of the exhibition. The students had the opportunity to watch the short film accompanying the heritage exhibition, followed by a Q&A session with their hosts and the chance to look at the 17 history panels on the northbound platform.
The Rails Which Circled the World film portrays personal stories of what life was once like in Workington, including some wonderful West Cumbrian characters who worked with and contributed to Henry Bessemer’s unique process. Full footage of the film can be viewed at here.