With the anniversary of a queen’s visit just around the corner, discussions are once again being had on improving a key historic building.

On May 16, 1568, the famously deposed Mary, Queen of Scots landed on the shores of Workington, seeking refuge at Henry Curwen’s Workington Hall for the night, before heading to Cockermouth Castle, then Carlisle Castle, where she remained under house arrest for two months.

Expressing her gratitude for his help, Mary presented Henry with a cup, known as the Luck of Workington Hall.

And with Workington boasting such a rich and fascinating history, avid historian Kate Wallace is keen to see the hall restored to a visitor-worthy state.

“English Heritage gave money for the last renovation work, but there’s more work to be done,” the Workington woman said.

“The tourism [the hall] would bring in would be amazing – it’s what the town needs at the moment, because it would bring so many people in, and also provide jobs for people in the town.”

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson has campaigned for preserving the hall for more than 10 years, even citing the Grade I listed building as his reason for getting into politics.

Ms Wallace was thrilled to speak with Mr Jenkinson about the hall via Zoom this week, discussing how best to bring the hall “back into the public domain”.

She added: “I’d definitely like to thank Mark for his help with this – it was really great to speak to him about the hall.”

Mr Jenkinson said that the hall has recently received council funding of £250,000 to pay for restorations, and hopes this will see the building reach a level of safety that will allow more visitors back through its doors.

“I remember visiting the hall when I was in school, and paying 50p to get in to have a tour,” he said. “Workington has so much history, especially with the Mary, Queen of Scots links, and the Curwen family, and it’s so important to teach children and everyone else about it.

“[Opening the hall] would be brilliant for tourism, but knowing the town’s history, especially how influential the Curwen family was, is also really vital.”

He added: “Talking to Kate was really interesting – she has so much knowledge of the hall and of Workington’s history, and it was such a fascinating conversation to have.”