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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 54°07′23″N 2°45′58″W / 54.123°N 2.766°W / 54.123; -2.766

Carnforth is located in Lancashire

 Carnforth shown within Lancashire
Population 5,350  (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SD499704
District Lancaster
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LA5
Dialling code 01524
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Morecambe and Lunesdale
List of places: UK • England • Lancashire

Carnforth is a small town near Lancaster in the north of Lancashire, England, situated at the north-east end of Morecambe Bay, by the River Keer. The parish of Carnforth had a population of 5350 recorded in the 2001 census,[1]

Due to the closeness of the coast and the hills, the West Coast Main Line (WCML), the A6 and the Lancaster Canal pass through the town. The M6 motorway passes just to the east, linked to Carnforth by the A601(M).



Much of the history of Carnforth revolves around the railway and ironworks. Vast deposits of limestone located locally made Carnforth an ideal place for an ironworks, as limestone is a key component of the smelting process. In 1846 the Carnforth Ironworks Company established a works, located near the railway station. In the same year a recession occurred in the Earl of Dudley ironworks in Worcestershire, this meant there was a surplus of workers. A number of workers moved to the ironworks and lived in the nearby company village of Dudley (now called Millhead). In 1864 the Carnforth Haematite Company took over the works and production was vastly increased due to iron ore that was brought in by rail from the Furness Peninsula. By 1872 steel production became the main focus for the works using the new Bessemer process. By 1889 this process had failed. Iron production continued at the works until 1929 when it eventually closed down. The site was taken over by the War Department (UK) as an ordnance depot and remained as such until the 1960s. From then to the present the site is now an industrial estate consisting of several businesses.[2]

Carnforth railway station

In the 19th century, Carnforth grew from a small village into a railway town when it became the junction of three major railways. After the 1960s, the station facilities were closed, and the main line platform removed, and as a result no express services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) call at the town. The town is served by trains from Lancaster to Barrow and to Leeds.

The name "Carnforth" is thought to derive from its old function as a ford of the River Keer on which it is situated. Over time the descriptive name "Keer-ford" may have morphed into the modern "Carnforth".

Carnforth railway station refreshment room - scene for much of the film
Carnforth railway station clock and ramp from subway under platforms.

In 1945, Carnforth railway station was used as a set for the David Lean film Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Fans of this film were one of the major factors in the recent refurbishment of the railway station, which is now run by the Carnforth Station Trust.[3][4]

An important motive power depot was located to the west of the WCML and was one of the last to retain an allocation of steam locomotives until mid 1968. The buildings are now occupied by the West Coast Rail Company[5] who still maintain and overhaul steam locos in their premises. The concrete loco coaling tower is a rare survivor.


The town has a popular rugby club CarnforthRUFC and football team Carnforth Rangers.

Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers run a sizable bible school in Capernwray Hall, 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Carnforth.

Notable persons

The Conservative Party politician Cecil Parkinson was born in Carnforth and became Baron Parkinson, of Carnforth in 1992.


Primary schools:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary School
  • North Road Primary School
  • Christ Church C of E Primary School

High schools:

There is also a small public library within the town.





Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Carnforth is small town in England.


The town is located at the north-east end of Morecambe Bay. In the 19th century, it grew to some prominence as a railway hub, but this ended with the closure of the main line in 1960. Today, Carnforth functions mainly as a small market town and acts as a base for tourists and hikers visting the nearby hills and coast. It has a population of around 5,500

The 1945 David Lean film Brief Encounter was filmed exclusively in Carnforth railway station.

  • The Bower, Yealand Conyers. Tel:+44 1524 734585. E-mail: - a country Georgian house located in woodland setting
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