Cumbria’s Atomic Story – a Fusion of People and Place

PSM_V63_D284_John_DaltonWe are researching the changes to West Cumbria as a result of the Nuclear Industry to create an exhibition during the 2019 Science Week at the Beacon Museum, which will include performances, workshops and films.

This project has been made possible by Heritage Lottery Funding.

Studio Theatre members, together with pupils of Distington and Seascale Primary Schools are researching the dramatic changes that took place as a result of the Nuclear Industry.

Cumbria’s Atomic Story starts with John Dalton, the son of a Quaker weaver, born in Eaglesfield near Cockermouth in 1766. Dalton went on to become one of the most eminent scientists of his day and his investigations into atomic theory start Cumbria’s association with the Nuclear Industry.
Nearly 200 years later the Nuclear Industry transformed the Victorian holiday resort of Seascale into a modern 20th century town, to meet the needs of the Royal Ordnance Factories at Sellafield and Drigg in 1939.
Later in the 1950’s Seascale housed the workers of the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, Calder Hall. People came to the area attracted by the new jobs and the local workforce adjusted to the new opportunities presented by the industry.

So far we have learnt about John Dalton with a talk from Cockermouth Heritage, workshops at the Beacon Museum, an exploration of Whitehaven Archives and we have also walked the Dalton Way with guides from Sellafield. We have also enjoyed a visit to the University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

We are now looking forward to Windscale History Day at the Beacon Museum on Jan 31st and Seascale History Day on Feb 8th.


Below are photos from us walking the Dalton Way with tour guides from Sellafield

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We are very grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Beacon Museum, Sellafield Ltd., National Nuclear Laboratory, The University of Manchester, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, Whitehaven Archives, Mayfield SEN School, Distington Community School and Seascale Primary School who will contribute their time and resources to the project.

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