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Building History

Park End was built around 1740 to provide a residence for the Steward of the Curwen family whose estates were centred on Workington Hall. At that time Charles Udale was the Steward. His daughter Sarah married Benjamin Thompson, a local solicitor, who at a later date also acted as Steward for the Curwen family. Benjamin and his family came to live at Park End in 1806 after the death of Charles Udale.

After Benjamin’s death in 1839, the house was occupied for a time by Edward Stanley Curwen, heir to the Lord of the Manor. The lease changed hands several times until in 1865, it was granted to William Thompson, son of Benjamin, who was able to return to his childhood home with his wife and young family including Helena. After William died in 1873, the lease was granted to his widow, Mary, and after her time it came to Helena, who eventually bought the property in 1934, with the intention that it would eventually become a museum for the town of Workington. On her death it passed to the then local authority for this purpose. Park End is the finest local example of a large Georgian house. The kitchen garden faced south and included an orchard. Trees created a private area behind the house, where expanses of grass provided a setting for archery and croquet.

Alongside the house were the stables and coach house. Accommodation for the horses was spacious. The central bay incorporated a vaulted lower chamber and there was a small room above that which had a window and fireplace.

The service area for the house contained a scullery, a pantry and a service staircase, rising to the attics. There were steps from the ground floor to the cellars where the kitchens were once located. Water for the household was drawn from a well which still exists below the servery window. There were generally three servants and a governess for the children.