Cleator Moor, which is a small town in Cumbria, is situated on the 190 miles Coast to Coast Walk that spans the North of England. The village of Cleator, with which the town is closely associated, lies on the outskirts of Cleator Moor. The influx of Irish workers, who came to the town looking for work during the potato famine in Ireland, gave the town the nickname Little Ireland. However during World War I and World War II fresh influxes of immigrants from mainland Europe joined the Irish community.
Cleator and Cleator Moor were two of the several small communities that were developed at the same time as iron mines and limestone quarries. However, in 1938 Jakob Spreiregen founded the company Kangol. This company was a clothing company which was famous for it’s headwear. They were the major suppliers of berets to the armed forces during World War II. Although the original factory building still stands across the road from St Marys Church Cleator Moor, manufacturing has since been transferred to China. However, the factory shop remains open for business, and apparently, there are talks of redeveloping the site as a tourist attraction.
The town’s economy, with the decline of traditional industries, is now dependent on the nearby Sellafield complex which employs half the town’s people. Cleator Moor originally had two railway stations, but sadly both of these were closed in 1931. However, the number 22 bus links Cleator Moor to Whitehaven and Egremont. At Cleator, beside the Roman Catholic church, is St Mary’s Grotto which is a replica of the Grotto at Lourdes in France. This was refurbished and rededicated by Cardinal Hume in 1980 – this attracts thousands of pilgrims each year.