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April 2020 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth in 1770. For this month’s article, I want to show a plan of Cockermouth in 1775, to show how compact the town was then and what William would have known then, and what features are still there, albeit which may have been rebuilt today.
You can see from the plan how the town was centered below the Castle with houses along both sides of Main Street, Market Place and St. Helens Street from Sullart Street to Waste Lane, Castlegate, Sullart Street, Challoner Street, Market Street and Kirkgate.
There were only two bridges crossing the river in those days. The present Derwent or Gote Bridge was rebuilt around 1822. The other bridge was Cocker Bridge, and this was rebuilt in 1828. Two buildings, which have not changed, are the Castle (although the Bowling Green has gone) and Castlegate House - the Castle from around 1215- 1221 and Castlegate House 1739. In Market Place, close to the junction with Castlegate, there stood in William’s time the Moot Hall. This was a two-storey building. On the upper floor were held the various courts and town meetings (hence moot). Below, was the covered market and the stocks. The building was taken down in 1829 and the stone was used to build a new courthouse beside Cocker Bridge.
The Church, which William knew was the All Saints’
Church of 1711. This church was destroyed by fire in 1850 and the present-day church was consecrated in 1854. The free grammar school was erected in 1676 where All Saints’ Rooms now stand. The school did have some old boys who made names for themselves – Wordsworth, Fearon Fallows and Fletcher Christian. The premises were demolished and replaced in 1896-7 by the present church rooms. Another building in William’s time was the Society of Friends meeting house. The present meeting house of 1884 succeeded buildings of 1688 and 1782 on the same site. Another building, which was around in 1775, was the Old Hall owned by the
BUY!.. BUY!.. BUY!
I can hardly believe I am writing this! The Stock Market has had by far its longest period ever of rising prices – without a drop of over 20% in the last 10 years. Just about all of the next longest other such periods ended in big and sustained falls. Meanwhile, our country has embarked on a risky and most likely self- damaging economic experiment, with the poorest quality Cabinet in my view we’ve had since the 1960s. Yet the UK market is a BUY!
The three biggest risks facing the market during 2019, are now pretty much off the table in my view. The biggest one – that Trump the Chump does even more silly trade wars with China is still on the table, but China has cleverly targeted its tariff retaliation against exactly those rust belt states Trump needs to vote for him again in November. So, surely even he is
CONSIDERED WORDS BY
not dumb enough to step on the Dragon’s tail in 2020?
The second and third biggest risks the UK market faced in 2019 were both wiped out with the large Tory win in the election. First, there is now no chance that Jeremy Corbyn will ever be our Prime Minister which is great news for our economy. Second, Brexit is going to happen. Whilst 80% or so of businesspeople view Brexit as bad for the economy, the
uncertainty around this issue was very damaging, so it is positive that we’re now getting on with it.
I made the biggest financial bet of my life in 2016 by moving most of my money out of the UK and overseas and thanks to Brexit this paid off big time. I have now reversed this and am more heavily invested in the UK than ever.
This is by no means a vote of confidence in Brexit or the Government. It is simply based on the fact that the UK market is screamingly cheap compared to the other main markets in the world and some large risks facing it in 2019 are not facing it in 2020. Barring something horrible from left field, it is as near to a one way bet as you are ever offered in the financial markets. BUY!.. BUY!.. BUY!
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ISSUE 438 | 23 JANUARY 2020 | 12
Fletcher family. By this time, the Fletchers had left, the hall was neglected and in 1776 was put up for sale. The hall became very shut in by shops in Market Place to the north and numerous small buildings to the south. There was a slum clearance scheme introduced in 1937 to rehouse tenants around the hall and with much damage because of neglect, the hall was demolished in the 1973 Bitter Beck scheme.
One feature of 1775 still with us today, is Percy House. It was at one time home of the Percy bailiff. Henry Percy, Ninth Earl of Northumberland built it in 1598. In an upstairs room is a carved plaster ceiling with the date 1598. The steps down into the shop were caused by the rebuilding of Cocker Bridge in 1828.
Near to Wordsworth House, birthplace of
William, the Independent Church built a chapel in 1719, followed in 1735 by a building which served as a schoolroom and a church hall.
Please get in touch by telephone, email or website. Eric Cass
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