My first stop of the day was at the Senhouse Roman Museum on the cliff top in Maryport. The museum, which is adjacent to the remains of an ancient Roman fort, was built in 1885 by the Navy, originally to be used through the years as a Naval Artillery Reserve drill hall, then in 1966 military cuts ended its life as a Naval building but it was saved from demolition by the efforts of the Maryport people.
The collection of artefacts from the Roman fort was started in 1570 by John Senhouse, Lord of the Manor of Ellenborough, and these were originally kept within the walls of Netherhall, the family mansion. In the 18th century much of the Roman fort was plundered to provide stone for the building of Maryport town and during that time any carved stonework discovered was preserved and recorded. Fast forward through the generations and after the Senhouse family left Netherhall in 1962 the building began to deteriorate, then in 1965 concerns for the collection of artefacts led Roger Senhouse and someone named Brian Ashmore to recover some 125 items from the mansion's ruins and relocate them to the safety of the coach house. The determination of Brian Ashmore and Joe Scott Plummer, heir to the Senhouse estate, finally led to the collection being housed in the old Naval drill hall on the cliff top and this was eventually opened to the public as a museum in 1990.
Now I have to confess that although I find local history in my home area quite fascinating I've never really had any interest in history in general - I hated it at school - so I was really only going to this place for any possible photo opportunities, not because I wanted to learn about the Romans in Maryport. The building looked quite attractive on the outside and inside the rooms were bright and well set out; it wasn't a big place so it didn't take me long to look round, then back outside I climbed to the top of the observation tower to see the views over Maryport and its surroundings, though unfortunately the sun was in the wrong direction for photos overlooking the town.
Back at ground level I retrieved the dogs from the van and took them for a short walk along the cliff top where I was able to get a decent shot looking towards the harbour and marina. While I was there I got chatting to a lady who said she lived in one of the new properties by the harbour and it turned out that she had previously lived less than seven miles from my own home on a road I've often travelled along - sometimes it really is a small world.
Before I left Maryport for the next town on my itinerary there was one more place I wanted to see - Fleming Square not far from the museum, in fact I'd passed part of it on my way there earlier on. I'd previously seen a picture of it on the internet and with its coloured houses and four diagonal paths converging on a central war memorial it looked like quite an attractive place.