Coniston, Cumbria

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Coordinates: 54°22′05″N 3°04′23″W / 54.368°N 3.073°W / 54.368; -3.073

Coniston
Coniston.JPG
Coniston
Coniston is located in Cumbria
Coniston
Coniston
 Coniston shown within Cumbria
Population 1,058 (2001)
OS grid reference SD2996
Civil parish Coniston
District South Lakeland
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CONISTON
Postcode district LA21
Dialling code 015394
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Westmorland and Lonsdale
List of places
UK
England
Cumbria

Coniston is a village and civil parish in the Furness region of Cumbria, (formerly Lancashire) England. It is located in the southern part of the Lake District National Park, between Coniston Water, the third longest lake in the Lake District, and Coniston Old Man; about 18 miles (29 km) north east of Barrow-in-Furness.

Geography and administration[edit]

Coniston is situated within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire. Today Coniston forms part of the administrative county of Cumbria. [1]

Etymology[edit]

" 'The king's estate or village'. The second el.[ement] is OE tūn, and the whole name may, like numerous English Kingstons, be from OE 'cyninges-tūn'. ... Scand[inavian] influence is, meanwhile, shown by the '-o-' of early and modern spellings, and Ekwall [2] speculated that this could have been the centre of a 'small Scandinavian mountain kingdom' ". [3]

History[edit]

Coniston grew as both a farming village, and to serve local copper and slate mines. [4] It grew in popularity as a tourist location during the Victorian era, thanks partially to the construction of a branch of the Furness Railway, which opened to passenger traffic in 1859 and terminated at Coniston railway station. [5]

The poet and social critic John Ruskin also popularised the village, buying the mansion Brantwood on the Eastern side of Coniston Water in 1871. Before his death, he rejected the chance to be buried in Westminster Abbey, instead being laid to rest in the churchyard of St Andrews, Coniston. Ruskin Museum, established in 1901, is both a memorial to Ruskin and a local museum covering the history and heritage of Coniston Water and the Lake District. [6]

The painter Henry Robinson Hall lived and worked in the village in the early 1920s. [7]

The whole village was powered by hydroelectricity during the 1920s but this became so heavily taxed that the people there were forced to return to the national grid. Ironically, since 7 March 2007 a hydro-electric scheme has been in use to power up to 300 homes; being sited near the original. [4]

Climate[edit]

As with the rest of the British Isles, Coniston experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Rainfall is high, at not much under 2000mm a year. Temperature extremes have ranged from −15.2 °C (4.6 °F) during February 1986,[8] to 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) during August 1990.[9] The nearest Met Office weather station is Grizedale, around 2.5 miles to the South East.

Climate data for Grizedale 91m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960- (Weather Station 2.5 miles SE of Coniston)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.2
(54)
14.0
(57.2)
19.4
(66.9)
24.9
(76.8)
26.5
(79.7)
29.8
(85.6)
30.1
(86.2)
30.3
(86.5)
26.7
(80.1)
21.7
(71.1)
16.4
(61.5)
13.0
(55.4)
30.3
(86.5)
Average high °C (°F) 6.2
(43.2)
6.6
(43.9)
8.6
(47.5)
11.3
(52.3)
15.0
(59)
17.2
(63)
19.2
(66.6)
18.8
(65.8)
16.0
(60.8)
12.8
(55)
9.1
(48.4)
7.1
(44.8)
12.33
(54.19)
Average low °C (°F) 0.2
(32.4)
0.4
(32.7)
1.5
(34.7)
2.6
(36.7)
4.8
(40.6)
7.7
(45.9)
9.8
(49.6)
9.6
(49.3)
7.8
(46)
5.1
(41.2)
2.4
(36.3)
1.0
(33.8)
4.41
(39.93)
Record low °C (°F) −14.4
(6.1)
−15.2
(4.6)
−12.2
(10)
−6
(21)
−6.9
(19.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
1.1
(34)
−1.1
(30)
−1.7
(28.9)
−5.9
(21.4)
−9.8
(14.4)
−14.2
(6.4)
−15.2
(4.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 199.48
(7.8535)
147.56
(5.8094)
171.31
(6.7445)
97.43
(3.8358)
89.89
(3.539)
102.37
(4.0303)
114.14
(4.4937)
142.84
(5.6236)
156.36
(6.1559)
208.18
(8.1961)
196.1
(7.72)
214.35
(8.439)
1,902.57
(74.9043)
Source #1: YR.NO[10]
Source #2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute[11]

Present day[edit]

Coniston is a popular spot for hill-walking and rock-climbing; there are fine walks to be had on the nearby Furness Fells and Grizedale Forest, and some of the finest rock in the Lake District on the eastern face of Dow Crag, 3 miles (4.8 km) from the village. The Grizedale Stages rally also takes place in Coniston, using the surrounding Grizedale and Broughton Moor (or Postlethwaite Allotment) forests.

The creation of the national park in the 1950s provided a further boost to tourism, with attractions such as the John Ruskin Museum and ferry services across the lake developing. Donald Campbell added to the profile of the village and lake when he broke four World Water Speed Records on the lake in the 1950s. He died attempting to break the world water speed record for the eighth time in 1967, when his jet boat, "Bluebird K7", crashed at 290 mph (470 km/h), having already set the record for the seventh time at Dumbleyung Lake, Western Australia in 1964. His body and boat (Bluebird K7) were discovered and recovered by divers in 2001 and he was buried in the new graveyard in Coniston in September 2001. A new wing has been built at the Ruskin Museum to accommodate the fully restored Bluebird K7 boat. It opened in late 2009 with the K7 due to arrive in late 2011 or early 2012.[12]

The village is also home to a number of hotels and two Youth Hostels, one at the edge of the village, the other in the nearby Coppermines Valley.

Two slate quarries still operate at Coniston, one in Coppermines Valley, the other at Brossen Stone on the east side of the Coniston Old Man. Both work Coniston's volcanic slates, being blue at Low-Brandy Crag in Coppermines Valley, and light green at Brossen Stone (bursting stone).

Coniston is also an important local centre, with a Secondary School (John Ruskin School), Primary School (Coniston Church of England Primary School), bank, petrol station and other such services. It has also repeatedly been highly placed in the Village of the Year award, winning it in 1997.

The scenery around Coniston derives from Coniston Limestone and rocks of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group.

It is also the location of the fictional Lawson Park vivisection research facility in the animated film of the Richard Adams' book The Plague Dogs from which the two dogs escape.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ordinance Survey Map (1946) - Coniston Village, Accessed 18 July 2014.
  2. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1922). The place-names of Lancashire. Manchester: Chetham Society. 
  3. ^ Whaley, Diana (2006). A dictionary of Lake District place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. lx,423 p.80–81. ISBN 0904889726. 
  4. ^ a b The Story of Coniston, 2nd edition, by Alastair Cameron and Elizabeth Brown, privately published, Coniston 2003.
  5. ^ The Coniston Railway by Robert Western, Oakwood Press, Usk 2007. (ISBN 978-0-85361-667-2)
  6. ^ W. G. Collingwood (1893) The Life of John Ruskin (2 vols.) (Methuen) (The Life of John Ruskin, sixth edition (1905))
  7. ^ Census Returns of England and Wales for 1921, The National Archives, Kew (Surrey) 1921.
  8. ^ "1986 temperature". KNMI. 
  9. ^ "1990 temperature". KNMI. 
  10. ^ "Grizedale Climate". YR.NO. Retrieved 7 Nov 2011. 
  11. ^ "Grizedale Extremes". KNMI. Retrieved 7 Nov 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.ruskinmuseum.com/

External links[edit]