Ulverston

On Saturday I travelled to the Cumbrian town of Ulverston. It wsn’t my final destination, but as I was passing through on my way to nearby Conishead Priory, I decided to spend some time in the town.

First, I decided to find out more about a very famous comedy connection.

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Better known the world over as Stan Laurel, Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born in Ulverston in 1890. Though not really a Laurel & Hardy fan, I decided that as I was there anyway I would take a look at the museum which is dedicated to the comic duo. The museum is on the ground floor of the small vintage cinema. I paid my fiver to the fez-wearing young fellow on the door and walked in the direction he suggested.

I thought the £5 admission fee was steep for such a small place. To be fair, there was a mini cinema with proper seats playing back-to-back films, and a couple of old chaps looked like they might be settled in for the day with their flasks and sandwiches. I decided to watch for a bit and, to my surprise, enjoyed my viewing.

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Displays include artefacts such as letters sent by Laurel to his family in Ulverston through which he recounts various tours, performances and successes. It was touching to read these personal notes which showed his continued closeness to his family.

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And photographs of Stan as a boy and young man in Ulverston

The Museum has acquired many original costumes from Laurel & Hardy films along with other props and promotional materials. Looking at the poster for Sons of the Desert, the curator’s fez suddenly made sense.

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One corner brimmed over with old souvenirs and novelties, including a hideous green pottery lamp. Fascinated, I switched it to ‘on’ position to see if it would look even more gruesome when lit, but sadly the bulb was missing.


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I enjoyed my hour or so in the museum, and reading about the Ulverston connection of which the town is so proud.


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From there I decided to walk along Market Street towards my favourite Ulverston cafe. The town is pretty and colourful with traditional independent shops.




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A street market seemed to be doing well and a brass band played music from Bond movies.

As the musicians performed their rendition of Gold Finger, I continued walking, looking up at the Sir John Barrow monument in its sentry position on top of Hoad Hill. The 100ft tall monument was erected in 1850 to commemorate the founder member of the Royal Geographical Society who was born in Ulverston in 1764.

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Although it looks like a lighthouse it has never functioned as one. Lots of folks enjoy climbing the hill and even going up to the top of the monument to experience the stunning views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District. Not remotely tempted to try such a feat, I decided it was time for refreshments before hailing a taxi to Conishead Priory.

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Gillam’s is one of Ulverston’s oldest establishments, popular and always busy. Specialists in fine teas, they offer a wide selection in the cafe, or to take home. My favourite contains cocoa nibs which infuse a delicate hint of chocolate.

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I headed into the garden to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air as I waited for my cup of tea and freshly-baked fruit scone, still warm from the oven.

13 thoughts on “Ulverston

  1. Eunice September 10, 2019 / 9:49 pm

    I’m afraid Laurel and hardy have never really been my cup of tea but the museum looks and sounds interesting for those who are fans. I don’t think I could enjoy walking round the town and seeing constant references to them, it seems a bit OTT to me, but I do like your photo with the monument on the hill 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North September 10, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      Mine neither, but as I was there I decided to check it out. It definitely caters for a devoted fan base but it I enjoyed reading about Stan’s early life in Ulverston and how he stayed connected to his roots, even bringing Oliver Hardy for a visit in 1947.

      Like

  2. shazza September 10, 2019 / 10:19 pm

    I have only visited the town in Winter so it is lovely to see it in Summer. I’ve actually been up to the John hoad monument that looks like a lighthouse. I remember being very out of breath! Good views though. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North September 10, 2019 / 10:25 pm

      One of the locals told me there’s a Dickensian festival in the winter that draws in thousands of visitors. That must be quite a spectacle. I’m sure the views will be amazing but that hill is way too steep for me. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • shazza September 10, 2019 / 10:30 pm

        Going up a hill is always my other halves idea, not mine. Haha. I would quite like to go in the museum. Though not really a laurel & hardy fan, I do hear that the film starring Steve Coogan is good. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. dugganworld September 11, 2019 / 9:58 am

    Good post. The number of times I’ve past through Ulverston and thought about stopping in. Next time, I just might.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sustainablemum September 11, 2019 / 7:31 pm

    Another place I love! Ulverston is a delightful town. There are so many festivals going on there during the year that I bet you could find one that you love. We have been to a few of them including a lantern parade which was great fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North September 11, 2019 / 8:13 pm

      It’s interesting that you should mention the lantern festival as a woman was telling me all about it. She stopped to chat as I was looking at some street art and I asked her why I had seen so many people buying bundles of willow. She explained that it was for making lanterns for the festival at the end of this month. I found the people of Ulverston to be unusually friendly and welcoming.

      Like

  5. tanjabrittonwriter September 12, 2019 / 1:28 am

    I think it would be easy to while away one’s time in Ulverston! It looks like a charming little town.

    Liked by 1 person

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