Percy Kelly Trail (Parton)


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Parton was the last of the Percy Kelly trails that I completed. It was very quiet and much smaller than its neighbour Whitehaven. 

Kelly completed a lot of his paintings of Parton at significant time of his life. It was around about the time when he retired from his job at Whitehaven post office, he began cross dressing and was divorced from his wife and was being supported by Nicholas Sekers, a local silk factory owner who had taken an interest in Kelly's paintings.

Like much of west Cumbria Parton would have been a wealthy place. At one time it had a brewery, glass works, tannery, coal mining and iron foundry and engineering; my understanding of Kelly makes me think that he would have liked to capture these industries.

Seaside access tunnel under railway at Parton 

I followed the trail to the above railway tunnel. The railway would have been an important link to Carlisle and Maryport for moving goods and ore etc around. I suspect that Kelly would have liked the bold construction of the train line and how it snakes around the coast line.

From the tunnel I headed up hill and then looked back and took this image.

In Kelly's time this grass area had houses on it but they were knocked down in the sixties.
From here I pushed on through the village and back don to the sea front. On the way I looked over the village towards Lowca.

Kelly's painting of Parton.
On Kelly's painting above it is clear to see the old pit vent shafts on Lowca, today these are no longer there.

At the beach I looked for signs of the old Dead House. Luckily a passing local gave me some of the history of the Dead House and showed me where it once stood.

From the beach I headed up to St Bridget's Church and Moresby Hall. It is said that Kelly painted St Bridget's Church many times. The church was build in 1822 but it is said that it replaced a Roman fortification which extended down from Hadrian's Wall. 

Kelly's Lowca pit and St Bridget's Church

Moresby Hall and St Bridget's church today

From St Bridget's and Moresby Hall I headed back towards Whitehaven and took this final picture looking down towards Whitehaven to mark the end of my Percy Kelly trails.

Looking back to Whitehaven from Parton and
the end of the Percy Kelly trails.

To celebrate the completion of my trails I decided to visit Rosehill Theatre where Kelly had his first exhibition. I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the theatre where I learnt about Kelly's relationship with Nicholas Sekers and saw where Kelly would have exhibited his work.

Rosehill Theatre (where Kelly first 
exhibited his work)

Inside Rosehill Theatre

Although some aspects of the theatre have changed over the years an effort has been made to retain the performance area as it would have been in Sekers and Kelly's time.

I have enjoyed doing the trails, see the countryside, investigating the life of Percy Kelly and  learning a bit of west Cumbrian history.