Work has finally begun on a £1million project turning a coastal landmark into a maitime museum.

The iconic Christ Church, which has featured in paintings by LS Lowry, Percy kelly and Sheila Fell, wasclosed in 2013 because of dwindling congregations and lack of funds to mantain it.

Its proximity to the Maryort harbour made it a place where the maritime community of the town came to  pray for seafaers on their way and for those who did not come home.

Maryport people believed the iconic church which appeared to be being left to deteriorate.

Last year it was announced that Allerdale council would convert the building to house the locl Maritime Museum - a fitting end fore the Mariners'Church.

Just last week, former Mayor Peter Kendall expressed concern that work on the building appeared to have stalled.

But the Cuumberland Council has now saidthat contractors are on site and the transformation of the historic building was underwayu.

The Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1872, wasboought by the then Allerdale counci=l in 2020 and was named as one of the major projects in the town's government-funded Future High Street.


Scaffolding has gone up this week so repairs can be made to the building’s exterior while the interior will be converted to house the Maritime Museum collections and other exhibitions.

The new attraction is expected to open to the public in Spring 2024 while the former Maritime Museum in Senhouse Street is being converted into Shipping Brow Gallery, complete with an artist in residence. That is due to open its doors in Summer 2023.

The Gothic-style building was listed in 2020 by Historic England and their report described its links to Thomas Ismay, founder of the White Star Line which went on to launch the Titanic. He funded its clock in 1879 and this will be restored to ensure it remains a welcoming beacon for sailors.Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “The move of the Maritime Museum to Christ Church will really help put Maryport on the map. It will give so much more prominence to this town’s fascinating history, bring a beautiful building back to life, and give locals an asset to be proud of, as well as ensuring visitors have even more reasons to come here.

“Combined with the new Shipping Brow Gallery, and the newly renovated buildings in the town centre that the Council has been involved with, plus all of the existing attractions on the harbourside, I am pleased to see so many things enhancing the future for Maryport.”Peter Stevenson, chair of the Maryport Maritime Heritage group which manages the Maritime Museum, said: “We’re really looking forward to everything that Christ Church has to offer to showcase Maryport’s fascinating sea-faring heritage. It’s a beautiful building and will give us so much more space for displays and exhibitions. We’re excited about this new era for the Museum.”