WORKINGTON'S proud steel-making history has been once again immortalised in new statue honouring Henry Bessemer.

May 2021 witnessed the opening of The Rails Which Circled the World’ heritage project at Workington railway station, a project that has transformed this wonderful railway station into an exhibition centre that celebrates a time when the town was a world leader in rail technology.

Times and Star: Sculpture by local sculptor Shaun Williamson Sculpture by local sculptor Shaun Williamson

Young and old have visited the exhibition since its opening, sharing stories about the iron and steelmaking process in and around Workington that used to employ thousands of local people.

The exhibition highlights the hard shifts in the local mines where both children and adults worked together in extremely challenging conditions; the locations of where ships docked to be loaded for transporting Cumbrian steel rails all over the world; how local women stepped in at the steelworks during the war; and how the innovative Bessemer Convertor helped to light up the night sky for all to see and to enable production to continue 24 hours a day.

Whilst passengers wait for their train, they can also watch a short film screened in the waiting rooms on both platforms.

Times and Star: • Cllr. Marjorie Rae – local member for Harrington/ Salterbeck with scupture • Cllr. Marjorie Rae – local member for Harrington/ Salterbeck with scupture

Community Rail Cumbria has been working in collaboration with Cumbria County Council to add to this exhibition, this now comes in the form of a 7ft Henry Bessemer sculpture located on the lead up to the railway station.

Cllr Marjorie Rae, Cumbria County Council elected member for Harrington, sourced a piece of local Tendley carboniferous limestone, and commissioned local sculptor Shaun Williamson to carve a Bessemer converter into the stone.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work closely with Community Rail Cumbria, and Cllr Marjorie Rae was able to source local materials and a local sculptor to tell the story of the British steel works.

READ MORE: Bessemer statue for Rails Around the World display

“This is very much a part of the Workington and West Cumbrian history, and the sculptor Shaun Williamson has done an outstanding job.

“The exhibition is well worth a visit next time you are in the station”.

Warren Birch, Community Rail Partnership Officer said: “This is a wonderful addition to the exhibition at Workington railway station, remembering both the importance Henry Bessemer had to this unique process and the many people of West Cumbria who worked at the Workington Steelworks.”

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