Lancaster, Lancashire

Lancaster, Lancashire

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 54.047
longitude= -2.801
official_name= Lancaster
population = 45,952 (2001 Census)
shire_district= City of Lancaster
shire_county = Lancashire
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Lancaster and Wyre
post_town= LANCASTER
postcode_district = LA1
postcode_area= LA
dial_code= 01524
os_grid_reference= SD475615

static_image_caption=A view of Lancaster showing the River Lune, the Millennium Bridge and the Ashton Memorial.

Lancaster (pronounced IPA2|ˈlæŋˌkæstə or IPA2|ˈlænˌkæstə) is a city in Lancashire, England. Situated on the River Lune, it has a total resident population of 45,952, and together with a number of other towns, forms part of the wider City of Lancaster local government district, with a population of 133,914.

Long existing as a commercial, cultural and educational centre, Lancaster is the traditional county town of Lancashire, to which it gives its name. Lancaster has several unique ties to the British monarchy; the House of Lancaster was a branch of the English royal family, whilst the Duchy of Lancaster holds large estates on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, who herself is also the Duke of Lancaster.


Lancaster Castle, partly built in the 13th century and enlarged by Elizabeth I, stands on the site of a Roman garrison. Lancaster Castle is well-known as the site of the infamous Pendle witch trials in 1612. It was said that the court based in the castle (the Lancaster Assizes) sentenced more people to be hanged than any other in the country outside of London, earning Lancaster the nickname, "the Hanging Town".

The city's name, first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as "Loncastre" means 'Roman fort on the River Lune', from the Old English "cæster". [Ekwall, Eilert 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames' (1960), 4th edition, p285]

The traditional emblem for the House of Lancaster is a red rose, the red rose of Lancaster, similar to that of the House of York, which is a white rose. These names derive from the emblems of the Royal Duchies of Lancaster and York in the 15th century. This erupted into a civil war over rival claims to the throne during the Wars of the Roses.

In more recent times, the term "Wars of the Roses" has been applied to rivalry in sports between teams representing Lancashire and Yorkshire, not just the cities of Lancaster and York. It is also applied to the Roses Tournament in which Lancaster and York Universities compete every year.

Lancaster gained its first charter in 1193 as a market town and borough, but was not given city status until 1937. Many buildings in the city centre and along St. George's Quay date from the 1800s, built during a period when the port became one of the busiest in the UK; the fourth most important in the UK's slave trade. However, Lancaster's role as a major port was short lived, as the river began to silt up. Morecambe, Glasson Dock and Sunderland Point served as Lancaster's port for brief periods. Heysham now serves as the district's main port.

Lancaster is primarily a service-orientated city. Products of Lancaster include animal feed, textiles, chemicals, livestock, paper, synthetic fibre, farm machinery, hgv trailers and mineral fibres. In recent years, a high-technology sector has emerged, as a result of Information Technology and Communications companies investing in the city.

Lancaster was also home to the European headquarters of Reebok. Following their merger with Adidas, Reebok moved to Bolton and Stockport in 2007.


Lancaster and Morecambe have grown into a single conurbation and are no longer administered separately. The former City and County Borough of Lancaster and the Municpal Borough of Morecambe and Heysham along with other authorities merged in 1974 to form the District of Lancaster within the shire county of Lancashire. This was given city status in the United Kingdom and Lancaster City Council is the local governing body for the district.

Political representation

On March 5, 2004, Lancaster was granted Fairtrade City status. [ [ BBC NEWS | England | Merseyside | Cities win Fairtrade recognition ] ]

The city lies in the Lancaster and Wyre constituency for elections of Members of Parliament to the House of Commons, and the North West which elects nine Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The current MP for Lancaster and Wyre is Ben Wallace of the Conservative Party.

In the late-1990s and early-2000s, the city council was under the control of the Morecambe Bay Independents (MBIs)who campaigned for an independent Morecambe council. In 2003 their influence waned and Labour became the largest party on the council. They formed a 'trafficlight' coalition with the LibDems and Greens.

At the May, 2007 local elections, Labour lost ground to the Greens in Lancaster and the MBIs in Morecambe resulting in a no overall control, with all parties represented in a PR administration, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats supporting a Conservative Party leader.

Lancaster is one of the few places in the country where the Greens have a significant number of councillors (12 in 2007). They were first elected to the council in 1999 and have seen their number increase at each election since. [ [ Lancaster & District Green Party ] ]

A long-standing debate to determine the nature of a proposed high capacity road, that would link the port of Heysham to the M6 motorway with the intention of reducing traffic congestion in the city centre, is arguably the most prominent issue in local politics today.

2006 saw the city selected as one of just six places in the country to be named a 'cycling demonstration' town. [] This accolade was awarded even though Lancaster has a very poor network of cycle paths (especially on busy roads for cyclists, such as the A6).


Lancaster is the most northerly city in Lancashire, located three miles inland from Morecambe Bay. The city is located on the River Lune (from which it derives its name), and the Lancaster Canal.

hub = Lancaster
type = ex
NW = Morecambe Bay, Barrow-in-Furness
NN = Slyne, Hest Bank, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth
NE = Caton, Halton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Wennington
WW = Morecambe, Heysham
EE = Quernmore
SW = Glasson Dock, Pilling, Knott End-on-Sea, Fleetwood, Blackpool
SS = Lancaster University, Galgate, Bay Horse, Garstang, Preston
SE = Abbeystead, Forest of Bowland, Dolphinholme

Wards in Lancaster

*John O'Gaunt (named after John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster)
*Scotforth East
*Scotforth West
*Skerton east
*Skerton West


The M6 motorway passes to the east of Lancaster, with junctions 33 and 34 to the south and north respectively. The A6 road passes through the city leading southwards to Preston, Chorley and Manchester and northwards to Carnforth, Kendal, Penrith and Carlisle.

Lancaster is served by the West Coast railway line which runs through Lancaster railway station. This station was formerly named "Lancaster Castle railway station" in order to differentiate it from "Lancaster Green Ayre railway station" on the Leeds–Morecambe line, which closed in 1966. The Caton–Morecambe section of this railway is now used as a cycle path.

The Lancaster Canal and River Lune also pass through the city. The nearest airport is Blackpool International, some 21 miles away.


At Bailrigg the city is home to Lancaster University, a research university, and one of only two business schools in the country to have achieved a 6 star research rating.Fact|date=August 2008 InfoLab21 at the University is Centre of Excellence for Information and Communication Technologies.Fact|date=August 2008 Lancaster is also home to a campus of the University of Cumbria - on the site of the former St Martin's College - which was inaugurated in 2007. It provides undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, social sciences, business, teacher training, health care and nursing.

econdary schools

* Lancaster Royal Grammar School
* Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
* Ripley St. Thomas C of E High School
* Our Lady's Catholic College
* Central Lancaster High School
* Lancaster Steiner School
* Lancaster and Morecambe College
* Skerton Community High School


Lancaster, as a historic city, offers a moderate level of cultural entertainment. The city is fortunate to have retained many fine examples of Georgian architecture. Lancaster Castle, the Priory Church of St. Mary and the Edwardian Ashton Memorial are among many sites of historical importance.The Lancaster Grand Theatre and Duke's Theatre are two of the city's most notable venues for live performances. Lancaster also hosts 'The Play in the Park', a series of open-air performances in the award-winning Williamson Park. The university has the Nuffield Theatre, with the largest student theatre stage in Europe, which regularly attracts big name comics, dance companies and dramatic productions. Lancaster also offers numerous museums, including the Lancaster City Museum, Maritime Museum and Judges' Lodgings Museum. Throughout the year, various festivals are held in and around the city, such as the Lancaster Jazz Festival and The Maritime Festival.

Cinemas in Lancaster are the independent Dukes Theatre and the mainstream VUE multiplex in the city centre. The 1930s art deco Regal Cinema closed in 2006 [ [] .]

The city also entertains contestants in the Lancaster International Youth Games, a multi-sport 'Olympic' style event, featuring competitors from Lancaster's twin towns: Rendsburg (Germany), Perpignan (France), Viana do Castelo (Portugal), Aalborg (Denmark), Almere (Netherlands), Lublin (Poland) and Växjö (Sweden).

Lancaster has a large arts community which can be accessed at [ Virtual Lancaster's "What's on"] and [ Studio Arts Events and Exhibitions] .



Lancaster Cricket Club is sited near the River Lune in Lancaster. They have two senior teams that participate in the Northern League.


Lancaster's main football team, Lancaster City, play in the Northern Premier League Division One North.


Lancaster is home to many golf clubs, including the Ashton Golf Centre and Lancaster Golf Club.


Lancaster John O'Gaunt Rowing Club is the fourth-oldest rowing club in the UK.Fact|date=January 2008 It competes nationally at regattas and heads races organised by the Amateur Rowing Association. The clubhouse is located next to the weir at Skerton.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union is a very popular sport in the area with the local clubs being Vale of Lune RUFC and Lancaster RGS.


Lancaster's swimming club is 'Lancaster Amateur Swimming and Waterpolo Club' and they compete in a variety of competitions in the North West. The senior men's waterpolo team has won the English championships several times. The club trains at Salt Ayre Sports Centre.


Lancaster is home to two trampoline clubs; SMATAC Trampoline Club at The University of Cumbria Sports Copmlex and Lancaster and Morecambe Trampoline Club at Lancaster and Morecambe College Sports Centre.


Lancaster has produced a number of successful bands and musicians since the 1990s, notably the drummer Keith Baxter of 3 Colours Red and the all-girl punk-rock band Angelica. Both used the Lancaster Musicians Co-operative, the main rehearsal and recording studio in the area.

The city has also produced many other musicians, including singer and songwriter John Waite, who first became known as lead singer of The Babys in the 1970s; Chris Acland, drummer of the early 1990s shoegaze band Lush; Tom English, drummer of North East indie band Maximo Park and Steve Kemp, drummer of the indie band Hard-Fi.

Lancaster still continues to produce many bands and musicians, with acts like The Adventures of Loki, The Lovely Eggs, Death In Public, and How's My Pop? all receiving considerable national radio play and press coverage.

Lancaster is also the founding home of the dance-music sound systems The Rhythm Method and The ACME Bass Company. Pioneers in the field of the free party, these two systems, along with others, forged one of the strongest representations of the genre in the North West of England during the 1990s.

Lancaster's prime music venue is The Yorkshire House, [] which in the early 2000s hosted such acts as John Renbourn, Polly Paulusma and Alasdair Roberts. Other notable music venues are The Gregson and The Bobbin. In 2008, the library hosted a number of music events under the "Get it loud in libraries" initiative. Musicians such as The Thrills, Kate Nash, The Long Blondes and Bat for Lashes have taken part. [cite web | url= | title=Lancashire County Library and Information Service - Get it Loud in Lancaster Music Library | accessdate=2008-02-26 | publisher=Lancashire County Council]


The Bay, the largest radio station in North Lancashire and South Cumbria, is based at St. George's Quay in the city and broadcasts on three separate frequencies: 96.9 FM (Lancaster), 102.3 FM (Windermere) and 103.2 FM (Kendal).

Commercially available newspapers include "The Lancaster Guardian" (a popular broadsheet) and "The Visitor" (a tabloid newspaper mainly targeted at residents of Morecambe). Freely available newspapers in Lancaster include "The Lancaster & Morecambe Citizen" and "The Reporter".

The city also has a community radio station, Diversity FM, on 103.5 FM with a five year licence from 2006. The community led project is based at the local YMCA. The station includes a show broadcast in the Polish language. [ [ News and Views - Issue 91 ] ] [ [ Virtual Lancaster - News Archive: 1 - November 15, 2007 ] ] The city's university, Lancaster University, also has its own student radio station, Bailrigg FM, broadcasting on a signal of 87.7 FM, and an online television station called run by its students

Places of interest

*Lancaster Castle
*Lancaster Priory
*Lancaster City Museum
*Lune Millennium Bridge
*Williamson Park
*Ashton Memorial and Butterfly House
*Lancaster Cathedral
*The Music Room, Sun Street
*The Storey Institute
*The Judges Lodgings
*The Cottage Museum
*Lancaster University's Ruskin Library
*Penny's Hospital, 18th-century almshouses on King Street
*Quayside Maritime Museum
*Lancaster Royal Grammar School
*Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
*The Duke's Playhouse
*The Gregson Centre
*Lancaster Grand Theatre
*Dalton Square: Queen Victoria's statue and the Town Hall
*Lancaster Musicians Co-operative
*Lancaster Golf ClubSee also
*Duke of Lancaster
*Duchy of Lancaster

Notable Lancastrians

*Cherith Baldry - author.
*Keith Baxter - drummer of British rock band 3 Colours Red.
*James Beattie - footballer
*Laurence Binyon - poet
*Jim Bowen - former presenter of TV gameshow "Bullseye". Actually born in Padiham, Lancashire but lived in the area for many years.
*Henry Cort (1740–1800) was an English ironmaster and inventor.
*Thomas Edmondson - inventor of the Edmondson railway ticket.
*Edward Frankland - scientist. Born near Lancaster but was educated at LRGS.
*Eric Morecambe - comedian. Actually born in Morecambe.
*Richard Owen - biologist. Renowned for coining the term "dinosaur". Lived on Brock Street.
*John Waite - musician, now solo but formerly lead singer of the bands Bad English and The Babys.
*Alan Warriner-Little - 2001 World Grand Prix Darts champion, known to darts fans as "The Iceman".
*Andy Wear - actor, star of ITV's "The Royal".
*Keith Wilkinson - ITV1 "Central Tonight" news reporter.
*Jon Richardson - comedian.

Twinned cities

Lancaster's current twinned cities:

* Lublin, Poland
* Viana do Castelo, Portugal
* Almere, Netherlands
* Aalborg, Denmark
* Perpignan, France
* Rendsburg, Germany
* Växjö, Sweden

Various facts

* The famous bomber aircraft of World War 2, the Lancaster Bomber, was named after the city. In turn, Mitchell's of Lancaster [ [ Mitchell's of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd ] ] named one of their bitters "Lancaster Bomber". When the brewery ceased production, the recipe was sold to Thwaites Brewery.

* The Royal Navy Type 23, Duke Class Frigate, HMS Lancaster, is affiliated with the city.

* The words 'scientist' and 'dinosaur' were coined by Lancaster academics, William Whewell and Richard Owen respectively.



External links

* [ Lancaster City Council] - Homepage of Lancaster City Council
* [ Ordnance survey map of Lancaster circa 1890]
* [ Tourist information website]
* [ Alternative guide to Lancaster] A4 pdf to print out - includes map.
* [ Lancaster Guardian] - A weekly newspaper and local resource.
* [ Virtual Lancaster] - Independent Lancaster news and resources.
* [ The Open Guide to Lancaster] - A Wiki town guide based on Lancaster, Morecambe and Lancaster
* [ Lancaster in pictures] - Photos of Lancaster.University.
* [ Directory of Lancaster websites] at the Open Directory Project.
* [ Official Lancashire Tourist information]

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