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Market Street, Ulverston - geograph.org.uk - 1731488.jpg
Market Street, Ulverston
Ulverston is located in South Lakeland
Location in South Lakeland
Ulverston is located in Morecambe Bay
Location on Morecambe Bay
Ulverston is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population11,678 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSD2878
Civil parish
  • Ulverston
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLA12
Dialling code01229
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
54°11′35″N 3°05′24″W / 54.193°N 3.090°W / 54.193; -3.090Coordinates: 54°11′35″N 3°05′24″W / 54.193°N 3.090°W / 54.193; -3.090

Ulverston is a market town and a civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 11,524,[2] increasing at the 2011 census to 11,678.[1] Historically in Lancashire, it lies a few miles south of the Lake District National Park and just north-west of Morecambe Bay, within the Furness Peninsula. Lancaster is 51 miles (82 km) to the east, Barrow-in-Furness 8 miles (13 km) to the south-west and Kendal 33 miles (53 km) to the north-east.


Hoad Hill and the Hoad Monument, a near replica of the third Eddystone Lighthouse

The name Ulverston, first recorded as Ulurestun in the Domesday Book of 1086, consists of two elements. The first is either an Old Norse personal name, Úlfarr, or the Old English Wulfhere. The second is the Old English tūn, meaning farmstead or village.[3] The personal names Úlfarr and Wulfhere both imply "wolf warrior" or "wolf army",[4] which explains the presence of a wolf on the town's coat of arms. The loss of the initial W in Wulfhere can be linked to the historical Scandinavian influence in the region.[5] Locally, the town has traditionally been known as Oostan.[6] Other variants include Oluestonam (1127), and Uluereston (1189).[5]

The market charter granted in 1280 by Edward I[7] was for a market on Thursdays. The town retains its market-town appearance; market days are now Thursdays and Saturdays.[8] The charter also allowed public houses to open from 10:30 am to 11:00 pm, regardless of other statute on the books. The present Saturday market includes in the summer craft stalls, charity stalls and locally produced ware on "Made in Cumbria" stalls.

Town Bank Grammar School was founded in 1658 from a benefaction by Thomas Fell.[9] The Victoria Road drill hall opened in 1873.[10]

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy statue; Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890, and named Arthur Jefferson.
Laurel and Hardy Museum

Historically, the parish included chapelries and townships that later became separate civil parishes: Blawith, Church Coniston, Egton with Newland, Lowick, Mansriggs, Osmotherley, Subberthwaite and Torver. From 1894 to 1974 the town served as an urban district in the administrative county of Lancashire. Under the Local Government Act 1972 it became a successor parish in the Cumbria district of South Lakeland.[11]

The High Carley Hospital and Ulverston Joint Hospital Board built an infectious disease hospital at High Carley, Pennington, in 1884. It was initially a fever hospital for paupers. In 1916 a second hospital, run by Lancashire County Council, was built to treat tubercular patients. From 1949 a children's annexe was built. In the 1950s, as the number of tubercular patients decreased, the hospital was run as an acute hospital. In 1984, after the building of the new Furness General Hospital, High Carley was closed.[12]

In 2009, the comedian Ken Dodd unveiled a statue of Laurel and Hardy (by Graham Ibbeson) outside Coronation Hall in the town centre.[13]


On 28 April 2009, Ulverston was near the epicentre of an earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter magnitude scale. Tremors were felt across south Cumbria and parts of north Lancashire at 11.22 BST, but virtually no damage was caused. A spokesman for the British Geological Survey stated that earthquakes of such magnitude occur roughly once a year in Britain.[14] Regionally, it was the largest seismic event since a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck Lancaster in 1835.[15][16]


Ulverston is within the area of South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) in the county of Cumbria. As such, some local government responsibilities fall to SLDC while others are handled by Cumbria County Council. Ulverston Town Council is responsible for some parochial matters.[17]

The town is within the wider civil parish of Ulverston. This historic entity is bounded in the east by the Leven estuary, the River Crake, Coniston Water and Yewdale Beck. To the west the boundary follows a chain of hills, and beyond that lie the towns of Kirkby-in-Furness and Askam and Ireleth. To the south is relatively low land, which rises quickly. In the north are hills such as Coniston Old Man. The settlements of the parish are mainly concentrated in the eastern part.[5]

Places of interest[edit]

The Laurel & Hardy Museum is situated in Ulverston.[18]

The limestone Hoad Monument was built in 1850 to honour statesman Sir John Barrow,[19] it offers views that include Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.


Entrance to Croftlands Infant School

Ulverston Victoria High School (UVHS), the town's secondary school, with some 1,200 pupils, includes a sixth form college with about 400.[20] There are four main primary schools; Croftlands Junior (secular), St Mary's (Catholic), Church Walk (Church of England) and Sir John Barrow (secular)[21] and a special education school, near Sandside.[22]


Ulverston railway station, a short walk from the town centre, lies on the Furness Line between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster, which leads on to Manchester Airport, some trains continue on the Cumbrian Coast line to Carlisle.

The town is served by several bus services, including the X6 between Kendal and Barrow-in-Furness, via Grange-over-Sands, the X12 to Coniston and Spark Bridge, and the 6A and 6 to Barrow-in-Furness.

Twin towns[edit]

Ulverston is twinned with Albert in France.[23] They meet alternately at Easter each year to play football for the Cyril Barker Shield.[24]

In July 2016 Ulverston, as the birthplace of the film comedian Stan Laurel, was officially twinned with Harlem, Georgia, United States, birthplace of Laurel's screen partner Oliver Hardy.[25]


The Dickensian Festival, held the final weekend of November, sees a range of Christmas stalls and attractions visit Ulverston.[26] People often dress up for it in Victorian attire.

Ulverston has many festivals, including;



Ulverston Rangers association football team has existed since 1945.[30] It currently plays in the West Lancashire Football League and the Furness Football League.

Rugby League[edit]

Ulverston A.R.L.F.C. plays home games at Dragley Beck, it belongs to the North West Counties Rugby League. It has produced several professional rugby players, including Derek Hadley.

Other sports[edit]

The town's two field hockey clubs, South Lakes and Ulverston, are based at Ulverston Leisure Centre. The town regularly has events run by Lakeland Orienteering Club. A parkrun event has been held every Saturday at Ford Park since 2018.[31]

International links[edit]

The Royal Norwegian Honorary Consulate in Barrow-in-Furness, one of the numerous consulates of Norway, is actually located on the outskirts of Ulverston.[32]

The town of Ulverstone in Tasmania, Australia is named after Ulverston and similarly built at the mouth of a River Leven.

Freedom of the Town[edit]

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Town of Ulverston.


  • Peter Winston: 15 May 2019[33]

Military units[edit]

Notable people[edit]

In alphabetical order:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Ulverston Parish (E04002655)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  2. ^ UK Census (2001). "Local Area Report – Ulverston Parish (16UG072)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  3. ^ A. D. Mills (2003). Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. p. 475.
  4. ^ Viking Answer Lady. "Viking Answer Lady Webpage – Old Norse Men's Names". Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Eilert Ekwall (1922). The Place-Names of Lancashire. Manchester University Press.
  6. ^ W. Rollinson, (1997), The Cumbrian Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition and Folklore, Smith Settle Ltd, p. 115.
  7. ^ "Ulverston, Cumbria". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Ulverston Street Markets". South Lakeland District Council. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Ulverston". Cumbria County History Trust. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Former drill hall including sergeant's house, administration and entrance blocks and boundary walling". Historic England. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  11. ^ Frederic A. Youngs. Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Volume 2. Boydell & Brewer.
  12. ^ Cumbria Archives High Carley Hospital
  13. ^ "Statue honours Laurel and Hardy". BBC News. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Tremor strikes north-west England". BBC News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  15. ^ "Biggest earthquake in 174 years hits South Cumbria". North-West Evening Mail. 30 April 2009. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  16. ^ "Earthquake Shakes Buildings in Cumbria". Sky News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Ulverston Town Council".
  18. ^ "Laurel and Hardy Museum". lakedistrictletsgo.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  19. ^ UK Attraction Hoad Monument
  20. ^ "Ofsted inspection report (2007)". Ofsted. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  21. ^ "Furness LPG – Ulverston primary schools list" (PDF). Cumbria County Council. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  22. ^ Schools Insight. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Ulverston-Albert Twinning Association | Ulverston Town Council". www.ulverstoncouncil.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Bonjour from Blackpool Airport!". News Powered by Cision. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  25. ^ AP, Chris Thelen / (3 October 2008). "Ga. town keeps Laurel and Hardy's legacy alive". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival". Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  27. ^ "Another Fine Fest 2020 | 20th -21st June | Ulverston". www.anotherfinefest.co.uk.
  28. ^ "Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival is proud of their #dickfest". The Poke. 27 November 2015.
  29. ^ "Festival 2020". Furness Tradition.
  30. ^ "Football | GSK Sports". Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  31. ^ "First Ulverston Parkrun gets off to perfect start". The Mail. 12 August 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  32. ^ "The Norway Portal - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs". Norgesportalen.
  33. ^ "Peter Winston makes history as first winner of Freedom of the Town award in Ulverston".
  34. ^ "Freedom of the Town honour for Air Training Squadron". The Westmorland Gazette.
  35. ^ Norman Birkett: The Life of Lord Birkett of Ulverston. ASIN 0140113452.
  36. ^ "Norman Gifford". cricinfo.com. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  37. ^ Ovens, Eleanor (27 April 2019). "Sax prodigy Jess Gillam returns to Ulverston to celebrate album launch". The Mail. Barrow-in-Furness. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Bill Haley and his Comets". Classic Bands. Retrieved 18 January 2006.
  39. ^ "Feature Page of Francis Arthur Jefferson VC". Lancashire Fusiliers. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  40. ^ "Stan Laure l". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 February 2008.

External links[edit]