Cockermouth is an English market town of 8,700 people (2011) in the modern county of Cumbria, at the north western end of the Lake District. This location tends to enhance the life and character of the town without the negative impact of receiving too many tourists (as some believe has occurred in the case of Cockermouth's neighbour Keswick). Much of the architectural core of the town remains largely unchanged since the 18th and 19th centuries.
The town has ancient roots and Romans, Vikings and Normans have each left lingering marks on the town and surrounding placenames. Curiously, Cockermouth lays claim to be the first town in Britain to pilot electric lighting, reputably in 1881. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, John Grayston, and Fletcher Christian (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame). John Dalton (a father of atomic theory) was born in Eaglesfield, a village on the outskirts of Cockermouth, and Astronomer Royal Fearon Fallows also hailed from the town. Also world-famous mountaineer and TV personality Chris Bonnington is a native of the town. Wordsworth House was expensively restored in 2010, and visitors may take tea in its 18th-century kitchen. Cockermouth is a few minutes travelling distance from lakes such as Ennerdale Water, Crummock Water, Loweswater and Bassenthwaite Lake but is much less crowded with tourists than many Cumbrian towns. The tree-lined main street boasts a statue of Lord Mayo, a former MP for Cockermouth, who became British Viceroy of India and whose subsequent claim to fame was that he was assassinated.
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