Like Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston was historically in Lancashire until the boundary changes in 1974, so it’s perfect to add it into the Lancashire day celebrations. We stopped here on the way back from Barrow to explore.
Status: South Lakeland, Cumbria (Historically Lancashire), Town, England
Travel: Transpennine Express (Preston – Barrow-in-Furness), Northern Rail (Barrow-in-Furness – Ulverston), Transpennine Express (Ulverston – Preston)
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Laurel and Hardy Statue, Laurel and Hardy Museum, Replica Lighthouse, Coronation Hall, Tourist Information Centre, War Memorial, Market Streets etc
This is a typical street in Ulverston, as with many places in and around the Lake District, with the distinctive houses that are all different colours.
This is one of the main squares in the town, with the Coronation Hall being the main building on the left, which also contains the Tourist Information Centre. The building stands on the site of the famous County Hotel, which was destroyed in a fire in 1911. To honour the Coronation of King George V, Coronation Hall was built, starting in 1914 and being completed in 1920 when it was officially opened.
This statue of famous comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy stands outside the Coronation Hall.
Stan Laurel (1890 – 1965):
Stan was born in Ulverston in 1890, and had a varied career including actor and director. At one point he worked as the understudy to famous comedian Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 1977), and sailed over to the United States.
Oliver Hardy (1892 – 1957):
Oliver was born in Harlem, Georgia, USA in 1892, and met Stan after he had moved over to the US. He was injured during a production of comedy All Stars, and Stan was asked to return to acting and they met up during the production of Slipping Wives, Duck Soup and became friends. Since then directors would intentionally pair them up as they were such a good double act. They went on to star in 107 of their own short movies, having already appeared in a large number of films each. These are all available on DVD today and achieved a cult following due to their popularity and humour.
In honour of Stan’s birth in Ulverston the statue of him was erected in 2009, as well a statue being unveiled in 2008 in Bishop Auckland, County Durham where he attended school, on the site of the Eden Theatre which his father managed.
There are two Laurel and Hardy museums in Oliver’s home town of Georgia as well as one in Ulverston. Their dog is also featured on the statue, known as Laughing Gravy from their films.
Their time together came to and end when Oliver died of a stroke in 1957. Stan survived until 1965, living long enough to see their films make a comeback through cinema and television and gain a brand new generation of audiences.
After posing with the Laurel and Hardy statue we moved on to the market square which has a war memorial in the centre. As the day was getting on by now the market that was there for the day was winding down. There are lovely old buildings in the town and it really shows how they blend from relatively new buildings in a lot of towns and cities in Lancashire to old generally untouched towns and villages from Ulverston through the Lake District.
After the market square we headed back towards the train station.
This is the replica lighthouse that overlooks the town (built in 1850), and is modelled on the Eddystone Lighthouse (built in 1759 in Devon, now residing in Plymouth), and stands a monument to Sir John Barrow, (An English statesman 1764 – 1848).
21 days after it was completed the replica was hit by lightning, and now has a lightning conductor to protect it.
Ulverston is connected to Lancaster and Barrow-in-Furness by train as well as direct links into Lancashire and to the West Coast Mainline to head up to Scotland or down to London.
A few other places of interest in the town are the Laurel and Hardy museum just down the main street as well as the town clock that is visible from the train.
It is a lovely town typical of its location near the Lake District with weekly markets, old buildings and terrific scenery and is definitely worth a look round if you are in the area.